A new policy by the Obama administration is aimed at fixing the problem of minor children going into the system when their primary caregivers are detained and deported, reports Fox News Latino. The new directive called "The Parental Interests Directive" calls for authorities to exercise discretion when dealing with undocumented parents who have minor children "as early in the case or proceeding as possible."
It encourages authorities to look at alternatives to detention for undocumented immigrants, looking to keep detained parents closer to their children, and bringing back deported parents who are in danger of losing their children so they can participate in hearings and regain custody. The directive still requires ICE agents to detain and deport immigrants with serious criminal offenses.
Immigration experts say as many as 200,000 parents of children who are U.S. citizens have been deported between 2010 and 2012. Many of those children went on to foster care. A study by the Applied Research Center concluded that 15,000 more children would end up in foster care by 2016 if the numbers of detention and deportation remained steady.
“No parent should lose custody of their children simply because they are involved in immigration proceedings,” Michelle Brané, director of the Women’s Refugee Commission, told Fox News Latino. “This announcement is an important acknowledgement that immigration enforcement can be carried out in a more humane and child-friendly manner.”