Claiming he does not "want to break up families," Fox host Eric Bolling again voiced support for mass deportation -- even endorsing the idea of going into public schools to round up undocumented immigrants. In fact, experts warn that deportations result in broken families, often those of American children, and ultimately impact children's safety and well-being.
Bolling: "I Don't Want To Break Up Families"
Bolling: "I Don't Want To Break Up Families. Those Parents Can Bring Those Kids Back With Them If They Want To." During an interview with Fox News' Geraldo Rivera in which Rivera criticized Eric Bolling's immigration coverage and rhetoric, Bolling repeated his support for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. Asked by Rivera if he would go into public schools and round up undocumented immigrants, Bolling replied: "Sure." He then added: "I don't want to break up families. Those parents can bring those kids back with them if they want to." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 12/2/11]
But Bolling Supports Mass Deportation ...
Bolling Previously Said He Supports Deporting Millions By Bus. On his Fox Business show, Bolling discussed immigration with Fernando Mateo, president of Hispanics Across America, and Republican strategist Tony Sayegh:
SAYEGH: You do have to create a certain path to citizenship for those who are here and, as a Republican Party, I am very concerned when we get way too rhetorical about our immigration policy. It's a very practical problem. We have millions of illegals in this country. No one, that I know of, has advocated putting them on buses and sending them back but we do have to become the party that gives a certain --
BOLLING: Oh, you know, I gotta tell you, Tony, I have.
SAYEGH: Well --
BOLLING: I'm one of the ones -- I'm sorry, it sounds harsh, it sounds cold but, you know, you're here illegally, you broke the law. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 9/21/11]
Bolling Previously Dismissed Impact Of Breaking Up Families By Deportation: "They're Illegals." After The Five co-host Bob Beckel stated that aggressive deportation has "picked up people who are not supposed to be deported," including the children of undocumented immigrants that were born in this country - and thus are American citizens, Bolling dismissed the concern that deportation breaks up families, responding: "[T]hey're illegals." [Fox News, The Five, 8/19/11]
... Which Breaks Up Families
Applied Research Center: "[A]t least 5,100 Children Whose Parents Are Detained Or Deported Are Currently In Foster Care." Colorlines.com reported:
In a yearlong investigation, the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.com, found that at least 5,100 children whose parents are detained or deported are currently in foster care around the United States. That number represents a conservative estimate of the total, based on extensive surveys of child welfare case workers and attorneys and analysis of national immigration and child welfare trends. Many of the kids may never see their parents again.
These children, many of whom should never have been separated from their parents in the first place, face often insurmountable obstacles to reunifying with their mothers and fathers. Though child welfare departments are required by federal law to reunify children with any parents who are able to provide for the basic safety of their children, detention makes this all but impossible. Then, once parents are deported, families are often separated for long periods. Ultimately, child welfare departments and juvenile courts too often move to terminate the parental rights of deportees and put children up for adoption, rather than attempt to unify the family as they would in other circumstances.
While anecdotal reports have circulated about children lingering in foster care because of a parent's detention or deportation, our investigation provides the first evidence that the problem occurs on a large scale. If these cases continue mounting at the same pace over the next five years, 15,000 children of detained and deported mothers and fathers will likely be separated from their parents and languish in U.S. foster homes. [Colorlines.com, 11/2/11]
Following Deportation, Undocumented Mother Left Behind Her Three American Children. In an article about how deportations tear families apart, USA Today chronicled an undocumented woman's deportation from Oregon to Mexico, in the process leaving behind her American family. The woman also explained why she didn't want her school-aged children to join her in Mexico:
After living for 21 years in the U.S., [Liliana] Ramos, 39, was deported to Mexico in September, separated from the two daughters and son she has raised as a single mother since her ex-husband left them seven years ago.
She had lacked legal immigration status since crossing the border into the U.S. as a teenager with her parents, so the threat of arrest and deportation was always there. Even so, Lily, as she is known to friends, had hoped her clean record and two decades of work, paying taxes, going to church and providing for her U.S.-born children would allow her a path to legal status or at least avoid deportation.
Ramos was released after her arrest in January and won a few more months to line up care for her daughters, Karleen, 11, a sixth-grader, and Ashley, 16, a high school junior. A son, Brian, 19, is looking for work and hopes to enter community college. Two relatives care for the younger children .
In September, Ramos bid a teary farewell and drove across the U.S.-Mexican border at San Ysidro, Calif., to a country where she had little connection or family. She has been sleeping in a room lent by the friend of a friend and lives off her small savings. She has been unable to find a job or get the necessary Mexican documents, including a birth certificate, that she needs to work.
Ramos says her children have discussed joining her in Mexico but she is against it. Her kids are U.S. citizens and don't know enough Spanish to transfer to Mexican schools without repeating several grades, she says. Without a job, she has no way to support them.
"The whole way we live now is different," says Brian Tapia, her son. "My sisters are going through depression. ... My little sister is crying a lot. We're all really sad. ... It's really hard, being without her." [USA Today, 12/5/11]
FACT: Deported And Detained Parents Face Steep Odds In Reuniting With Children
Report: It Is Not Uncommon For Deported Or Detained Parents To Lose Parental Rights. An April 2010 report by First Focus, an "organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions," estimated that "one child is affected for every two adults arrested in a workplace raid." The report highlighted the following story:
Encarnacion is a Guatemalan national and the mother of a young son. She was apprehended during a worksite raid in 2007. Through a series of events out of Encarnacion's control, her 6-month-old son was placed in the care of an American couple. The couple later filed a motion to terminate Encarnacion's parental rights and adopt the boy. Encarnacion was never aware that family court proceedings were underway and was therefore not able to fully participate in decisions regarding her son's care.
The notice to terminate her parental rights and the right to appeal were only provided in English, although her native language is Spanish. Furthermore, Encarnacion did not receive counsel until after the custody hearing and judgment was entered. Custody was terminated, and she is still fighting to get her son back. [First Focus, "Immigration Enforcement And Family Separation," 3/18/10]
Report: Parents Face Strict Challenges In Reuniting With Their Child In The Welfare System Following Detention. According to First Focus:
Once an immigrant family is involved in the child welfare system, there are several challenges immigrant parents face in reunifying with their child. In some cases, biased family court judges may inappropriately base their decision on a parent's immigration status rather than their demonstrated parenting capacity. Language and cultural barriers, limited access to services, and the difficulty of navigating both the immigration and child welfare systems also threaten an immigrant parent's ability to meet case plan requirements and timelines.
Immigrant parents who are detained for immigration purposes encounter additional challenges that threaten their ability to meet [Adoption and Safe Families Act's] requirements. In some cases, child welfare staff is unable to locate a parent's whereabouts, either because the information is not made readily available by the local ICE agency office, or because the parent has been transferred out of the state or deported. If a parent is detained, it is virtually impossible for that parent to meet case plan requirements, such as participating in parenting classes or regular visits with their child.
Detained parents are also unlikely to be able to participate meaningfully in child welfare agency case meetings or in state court proceedings related to a child's care and custody. Deportation cases often can and do last longer than the ASFA 15 month timeline. Furthermore, child welfare agency's attempts to place children with family members may be complicated by the fact that undocumented adults are often considered ineligible to become foster parents by most child welfare agencies. All these obstacles increase the time in which separated children are involved in the child welfare system and create the risk for inappropriate termination of parental rights under ASFA's strict timetable and requirements. [First Focus, "The Impact Of Immigration Enforcement On Child Welfare," March 2010]
Applied Research Center: Undocumented Parents Risk Re-Entry To Appear At Juvenile Court Hearings. Colorlines.com reported that deported parents often risk apprehension by illegally re-entering the United States to reclaim their children:
Many deported parents make the tormented decision to make the bloody desert journey over the U.S.-Mexico border without papers so that they can be present at juvenile court hearings. Caseworkers around the country said that in many cases, when a parent of a foster child is deported, they are back weeks later to appear in a juvenile courtroom to try and reclaim their children.
The risks of crossing are enormous. In addition to growing violence in Mexico against migrants crossing into the U.S., immigrants caught in the country after a previous deportation now face prison time. Until recently, immigrants who were deported before were simply deported again. Now, "illegal reentry" is treated as a federal criminal offense that carries sentences of years. The charge now accounts for nearly half of all federal criminal prosecutions. [Colorlines.com, 11/2/11]
FACT: Deportations Negatively Impact Children's Well-Being, Development
Report: "The Impacts On Child Well-Being And Family Unity Resulting From Such Enforcement Activities Are Immeasurable." In its March 2010 report, First Focus found that "over 5 million children in the United States with at least one undocumented parent are at risk of unnecessarily entering the child welfare system when a parent is detained or deported." The organization noted:
In many cases, schools, early learning and child care centers, social service agencies, and communities are unprepared to respond adequately to protect the best interests of children left behind. Often, detained parents are not able to make child care arrangements, resulting in the unnecessary placement of their children in the child welfare system. Once a child is placed into foster care, it is extremely difficult for a detained parent to reunify with his or her child, especially if that parent is transferred to an out-of-state detention facility or deported before regaining custody of his or her child. [First Focus, "Immigration Enforcement And Family Separation, 3/18/10]
Study: "Separations Pose Serious Risks To Children's Immediate Safety, Economic Security, Well-Being, And Longer-Term Development." In a February 2010 study examining "the consequences of parental arrest, detention, and deportation on 190 children in 85 families," the Urban Institute found that parent-child separations pose "serious risks to children's immediate safety, economic security, well-being, and longer-term development." The study went on to document other negative effects, including housing instability, food hardship, and adverse behavioral changes in children. Discussing the sometimes painful choices families faced as a result of deportations, the study reported:
In the long term, at least 20 families in our study experienced the deportation of a parent and were forced to confront painful decisions about whether children would leave the country with the deported parent or remain in the United States with either the other parent or another relative. In eight of these families, some or all of the children went with one or both parents to the parents' countries of origin, and in 12 cases, children remained in the United States, separated from one of their parents. The whole family left to join the deported parent in some of these cases, while in others the parents and siblings were split between countries.
Our time frame was not long enough to assess the impacts on children who faced separations following deportation or, in most cases, to know the ultimate outcome regarding deportations and longer-term separations. Finally, in a few cases, parents returned illegally to the United States to be reunited with their children and families. The return journeys were rough, and one parent died the day after he was reunited with his family. [Urban Institute, "Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement," 2/2/10]
And Most Children Of Undocumented Immigrants Are American Citizens
Nearly 80 Percent Of Undocumented Immigrants' Children Were Born In America. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, "nearly four-in-five (79%) of the 5.1 million children (younger than age 18) of unauthorized immigrants were born in this country and therefore are U.S. citizens. In total, 4 million U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrant parents resided in this country in 2009, alongside 1.1 million foreign-born children of unauthorized immigrant parents." [Pew Hispanic Center, 8/11/10]