Friday, March 13, 2009

Severing a Lifeline: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy

PS: Gracias, hermano Alejandro de MACC, for this news item!

In December 2006, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents simultaneously raided Swift & Company meatpacking plants in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Utah, detaining nearly 1,300 undocumented immigrants in the largest immigration enforcement action in recent history. The consequences of these raids also spread to many U.S.-born children, who faced the loss of a parent and great instability. The unique circumstances of these citizen children pose fundamental questions for our immigration law system about their rights and interests—questions that remain unresolved more than two years after the arrests.

A new report, “Severing a Lifeline: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy,” highlights these problems and argues that current laws ignore the needs of the 3 million citizen children of undocumented parents. The authors contend that our laws are seriously deficient and out of step with the way children are treated in other areas of U.S. law, marginalizing what it means for them to be American citizens.

Join us for a spirited discussion of what American law, child welfare jurisprudence, and international human rights norms have to say about the “best interests of the child.” Are we neglecting children’s interests in the pursuit of immigration control? Which laws should apply to these children? How can our enforcement approach be changed—or should it be changed at all— to minimize harm to citizen children of undocumented parents?

WHEN: Monday, March 23, 2009, Noon-1:30 p.m. ET. Lunch will be provided at 11:30 a.m. The forum begins promptly at noon.

WHERE: Urban Institute, 2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C.


  • Ajay Chaudry, director, Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, Urban Institute (moderator)

  • James Kremer, partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP; coauthor, “Severing a Lifeline: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy”

  • Doris Meissner, senior fellow, Migration Policy Institute; former commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

  • John Willshire-Carrera, senior attorney, Greater Boston Legal Services
    Others to be announced

To attend in Washington, D.C., RSVP at,e-mail, or call (202) 261-5709.

To listen to the audio webcast or a recording, register at

On a related subject, Rep. José Serrano (D-NY-16)'s Child Citizen Protection Act, H.R. 182 has gained some additional sponsors since the last time we blogged about it. If your representative is not on the list below, call and ask him or her to sign on to this bill.

Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 2/26/2009
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 2/10/2009
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 2/10/2009
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 1/28/2009
Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] - 3/6/2009
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 2/10/2009
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 2/11/2009
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 2/10/2009
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 2/10/2009
Rep Ortiz, Solomon P. [TX-27] - 3/11/2009
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 3/11/2009
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 2/11/2009
Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 2/26/2009

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