The federal government deported 204,810 immigrant parents of U.S.-born children over a two-year period, according to an exhaustive analysis published Monday by the Web site Colorlines.com.
The figures, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, do not include undocumented parents who did not admit that they had children or minors who found themselves in an irregular immigration situation, the study performed by researcher Seth Freed Wessler specified.
"I believe that there was a lot of interest in knowing these new figures, and above all after the promulgation of the prosecutorial discretion policy last year," Wessler told Efe on Monday.
On June 17, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton issued a memorandum instructing agents to focus their efforts on expelling undocumented people with criminal records.
Despite the new guidelines, the average number of parents with U.S. children who have been deported since Congress in 2009 ordered ICE to keep figures on the matter has been 90,000 per year.
"What we see is that there was not a significant decrease in deportees," Wessler said.
According to the Charlotte-based organization Familias Unidas, thousands of families in the United States are suffering daily from the fact that they are being separated from their loved ones.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, emphasized in an interview with Colorlines.com that the deportations constitute "a crisis situation."
"We have to make sure that all children are protected," she said. "We're talking about U.S. citizens; their pleas and cries for help are pretty much being ignored at this point."
The most public case of this kind in North Carolina has been that of Mexican Felipe Montes, who - upon being deported in December 2010 for a series of traffic tickets - left his addiction-plagued wife pregnant and with two underage children.
Eventually, the state removed the children from the woman's custody, whereupon Montes began a legal battle from Mexico to recover the kids.
In an unusual decision, ICE granted the deportee a humanitarian authorization to return to the country and fight for the custody of his children, something that last month was provided to him by a North Carolina judge. EFE