There is a lot of news these days about deportation and undocumented immigrants. The current administration has taken a hard stance against anyone in this country without the proper documentation. This has brought to light many stories about children in Massachusetts who are left without their parents due to ICE taking their parents into custody.
There is no doubt that having a parent taken away must have a detrimental effect on a child. Children rely on their parents and need them in their lives on a daily basis. When that is suddenly taken away, the American Psychological Association says that it can cause serious mental issues for a child.
- Change in relationship
Even if ICE removes a parent for only a short time, the disruption in the household can have a huge impact on the child. If the parent returns, it may alter the relationship between the child and parent. The emotions the child has about the incident can linger and lead to lifelong issues with the parent-child relationship.
- Threat of separation
Children are very perceptive. If they have a parent who is not a documented immigrant, then they likely know. If not, then they still will pick up on the tension in the home. A child may worry a lot about ICE coming to take their parent or parents away. This causes stress, which has a negative effect on the child.
- Permanent separation
There is always the chance of deportation for the parents. If this happens, the children often remain in the United States. Obviously, this means the children have to find a new family unit. If they are lucky, they have family that can take them in. If not, then they go into the already overcrowded state foster system. Not having a secure family unit can lead to many mental health issues for a child that will last his or her whole life.
There seems to be no right answer to the immigration issues plaguing the country, but one thing that mental health experts know is children seem to be the most vulnerable. They are the ones who end up suffering in the long term for any type of immigration enforcement.