A new bill was introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard this week that aims to make it easier for immigrant families to stay in tact so children can avoid the foster care system. The bill was originally brought to the public’s attention last spring when the California Senate voted in support of the bill, according to Multi-American.
According to the source, a lot of times when a parent without legal U.S. citizenship is deported, their children are sent to foster care or detention centers if a proper family member is not able to be contacted, which can significantly affect the child’s future. In addition, if a parent faces deportation, they generally lose their parental rights.
At least 5,100 children are currently in foster care in the United States due to their parents deportation, according to ColorLines, a social justice publication. For example, two sisters who had no previous criminal history, were both placed in handcuffs and taken into custody. Both of the women’s children remain in foster care.
One of the women, Clara, begged Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration, to let her take her children to a friend’s home after officials told her they would be “taking [the children] where we take all the kids,” according to ColorLines.
ICE and DEA officials were waiting for Josefina, the second mother, when she got off of work several hours later.
Supporters behind the bill hope there aren’t many more stories like Clara and her sister’s in the future. While whether it will pass on a federal level or not, one featured undocumented mother named Roberta separated from her children still waits to see if her family will ever be reunited.
“If you send the mom to Mexico,” she told the source, “let her take her kids with her.”