Falling Through the Cracks: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Children Caught Up in the Child Welfare System


What Are The Short And Long-Term Risks For Children Who Have Been Impacted By State And Federal Immigration Enforcement Policies?
Several studies have documented the negative impacts of immigration enforcement on children and families. These studies confirm that even a short-term separation from a parent, or the fear of separation, can have significant consequences for children, including the following:

Short and long-term disruption to the family unit. When a parent is detained or deported, the entire family unit undergoes a traumatic shift. In the short and long-term, difficult decisions must be made regarding a child’s care. When a parent is deported, he or she may choose to bring their children with them, which studies have shown can present a very difficult transition for children who must suddenly adjust to a different culture and school system. In other cases, a parent may choose to have a child stay with another family member or friend, which still has a significant emotional and social impact on the child. Children may also end up entering the child welfare system, a trend that has grown in recent years.

Social and emotional stress. A study by the Urban Institute documented that within the first six months following separation from a parent, about two-thirds of children demonstrated adverse behavior changes, such as frequent crying, increased fear and anxiety, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Following the initial six months of separation, behavioral changes were still notable among more than 40 percent of children. Additional studies have found that the fear of possibly losing a parent can negatively impact a child’s emotional well-being. For example, one study conducted by the University of Arizona following the passage of the state’s immigration law (S.B.1070) revealed that students demonstrated increased anger and stress-related ailments, including stomach aches, migraines, and panic attacks.

Poor educational outcomes. Increased stress and anxiety associated with immigration enforcement can have a detrimental impact on a child’s school performance. In addition to disruption in learning as a result of absences, studies have shown that children who have been separated from a parent experience difficulty in concentrating and other negative behavioral changes in the classroom.

Weakened economic security. When one or both parents are detained for immigration reasons, a family’s income often drops significantly, particularly in cases when the detained parent is the primary breadwinner. The Urban Institute study documented increased housing insecurity, including crowded living quarters, and food shortages as a result of the loss of a detained or deported parent’s income. Another study released by the Center for American Progress (CAP) revealed that the high number of fathers being deported has led to many single-mother households, many of whom may not have access to a well-paid job, child care assistance, or public benefits due to the mother’s immigration status.

Reduced mobility. Fear of immigration enforcement actions can lead to changes in family routines, including reduced activity outside the home. After S.B. 1070 was passed in Arizona, the University of Arizona study found that children were afraid to leave their houses to go to the store or out to eat. The fear of enforcement may also motivate immigrant parents to keep their children home from school, as was evidenced when more than 2,285 Latino students were reported absent from school on the day following enactment of Alabama’s immigration law, H.B. 56.

Mistrust of law enforcement. Several studies reveal that children of immigrants often do not differentiate between local law enforcement and immigration enforcement officers, even in communities where local law enforcement is not engaged in enforcing immigration law. As a result, children of immigrants view all law enforcement officials as a potential threat and avoid police officers, reducing the likelihood of crime reporting.

Conflating “immigrant” with “illegal.” Children of all ages and all immigration statuses have begun to equate “immigrant” with “illegal,” according to the CAP report. Children fear that their immigrant parents and family members will be taken away, regardless of their status, while young children view “immigration” as something negative and shameful.

That last point hurts a lot.


says it all.


says it all.

Undocuqueers in Chicagoland area…


Homofrecuencia, QPhonic, Radio Arte


Queer Prom 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
National Museum of Mexican Art

1852 West 19th Street

Chicago, IL

Students/Youth $10 
Adults $20


The immigrant Youth Justice League will have a table, come hang out with some undocuqueers and friends. We’ll be providing scholarship information for undocumented students. 
For more information visit:

Signal Boost!


dealing with the haters after coming out undocumented and unafraid.

what are your experiences?

Calling Young South Asians: Apply Now for DC Desi Summer


Friday, July 13th to Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Washington, DC

For more information and to apply: 

First priority deadline:  May 15th


**For young South Asian Americans age 15-20**

(with origins in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the diaspora)

Free (We cover meals, but participants arrange for transportation and housing)


DC Desi Summer (DCDS) is a weekend-long youth leadership and empowerment program. Spearheaded by the volunteer DCDS Collective, DC Desi Summer provides a radical and inclusive space for youth of South Asian heritage to examine key social justice issues and take action! Community activists, advocates, and academics will facilitate workshops and activities that focus on topics, such as sexism, racism, capitalism, and the nuts and bolts of organizing for justice. 

Please spread the word by reblogging.


Top 6 things you can’t do while undocumented.


This is a list of the top things you are unable to do while you are undocumented, granted immigrant youth has found ways around these hurdles. In no way shape or form do I encourage anyone to break the law, nor do I expect anyone to be held back because of the lack of a piece of paper.

6. Drink 

As an undocumented person you are unable to hold a drivers license or state ID (loopholes do apply however, I had a valid driver license once) which could be an issue when it comes down to buying your own booze for that BYOB party you are attending.

Some places (this one from experience) may have a rude waitress/er that expects your updated documents as you proceed to place your order.

Ways Around It:

  • Do you have an international driver’s license, a valid passport, or even a matricula? A lot of places will just take a peek at your birth date and move along, others may just give your a hard time. 
  • Should your run into any issues may be make sure to tell your waitress the following “My license is expired? Oh, that fine. I didnt know my birthday expired!”
  • Have someone else buy your booze (ONLY IF YOU’RE OF AGE) and have a raging party at your place.

5. Pay In-State Tuition

Face it, not every state is as progressive as Illinois or California (the former is battling SComm and recently passed the IL Dream Act) so you might just be stuck in an unfortunate state where immigrant youth has zero to now leeway when it comes paying for tuition.

Ways Around It:

  • Live in Illinois, California (Coming Soon; hopefully), Maryland, Texas, Rhode Island or even Georgia if you want to get some discount on your education. **Read the requirement of each state before uprooting your life**
  • Work the system in states that don’t offer in-state tuition. 

4. Get a Driver’s License

Need to get around town but are unable to drive? Yeah, I know how you feel. Many states with the exception of Washington and New Mexico do not allow undocumented folk to get a shiny piece of plastic that allows you to drive legally. Now, this post is not encouraging to drive without a license, but when things get tight don’t be scared to give it a try.

Ways Around It:

  • Unless you are Jose Antonio Vargas, or are planning to move to Washington or Utah for a while (or permanently) dont bother. 
  • Get working and organize your community to get the state legislature to do something about it.
  • Ride your bike.
  • Ride public transportation.

3. Travel

Want to go to Europe, Africa, or Japan? Yeah me too… unfortunately because of our lack of status we are unable to board airplanes with international destinations, well, unless you dont ever intend to return. Travelling internationally or nationally is out of the question without proper identification, then again you could always give TSA a headache.

Ways Around It:

  • Use a valid passport to travel domestically. This is by no means a full-proof method, so be sure that you know that there are some risks involved in doing this.
  • Explore your state. Even if you can’t travel to Hawaii or Fiji who says that there are no attractions or popular sites to visit around your state? Go out and explore!

2. Enlist in the Armed Forces

Now there are plenty of people who are wishy-washy to undocumented youth enlisting in the armed forces. Then again, there are also undocumented youth who are willing to enlist by their own means! There is no clear cut way to be able to get that job or go out on the field within the Armed Forces (although it is clearly possible), however, here are some cases of undocumented youth serving their country:

1. Get a Job

Let me not get in trouble for endorsing illegal activity (which I dont support to begin with). However, it must be noted that there are certain “degrees” of being undocumented that determine how undocumented you really are. Does that make sense? In any case if you want a job, take a look at this great piece written by our friends ar NCDREAMTEAM:

**DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to promote any illegal activities**

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we always get blamed

we always get blamed