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Mixed-status families: how many are there?

The term itself sounds so neutral and technical: mixed status. But in practical terms, it means that immigrant families can get torn apart when some members face deportation and others are U.S. citizens.

The statistics say that many families must face this daunting scenario. About 1 in 4 of deportations in the last two years involved parents with children who are citizens, ABC News reported last week.

Overall, between July 1, 2010 and September 30, 2012, there were nearly 205,000 deportations of this type, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.

Mixed-status families are immigrant families whose members have different legal statuses. Typically, this means that children born in the U.S. are citizens, but the parents are undocumented. But it also includes families where some of the children are U.S. citizens but not only the parents, but also some of the children, are not.

The number of such families has been increasing in recent years. A 2009 study by the Pew Hispanic Center put the number of undocumented immigrants with U.S.-born children at 4 million in 2008. This was up from 2.7 million in 2003.

Statistical studies suggest that deportation often occurs following conviction of a crime. Regardless of the cause, however, the impact on a child when a parent is deported is potentially devastating.

That is one reason why many people in Minnesota and around the country believe there should be comprehensive immigration reform. Such reform could create a path to citizenship for undocumented people and help to keep mixed-status families together.

Source: “A Quarter of Deportations Are of Parents of U.S. Citizens,” ABC News, Ted Hesson, 12-17-12

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Minnesota deportation defense page.

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