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Who, Exactly, is Tearing Families Apart? | NumbersUSA - For Lower Immigration Levels

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Who, Exactly, is Tearing Families Apart?

 

We hear so much these days about the separation of families due to immigration raids, but no one seems to mention the family separation as a result of both legal and illegal immigration to the United States and other parts of the world.

Statistics on how many children are left behind around the world – especially in Latin America – are difficult to find, but what numbers I could find, are disturbing. Estimates of half a million in Thailand, at least 10 million in China, nine million in the Philippines, and 40,000 in Romania, all amount to tens of millions of children living without at least one parent due to emigration.

Studies by UNICEF have reported that the remittances sent back by these absent parents do not make up for the risk the children are placed in. These children are left to be cared for by one parent, grandparents, relatives, and in some cases neighbors. They are at greatly increased risk for abuse by their caregivers and others. The psychological and emotional impact of absent parents is immeasurable. In Azuay, Ecuador, 60 percent of adult males have left. Suicides among children and teens have increased in a town where 15 years ago, suicide was unheard of. There are also increases in school dropouts and teenage pregnancies. This is just an example of the sorts of things left-behind children are subjected to.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration met recently with Assistant Secretary Julie Myers of the Department of Homeland Security to encourage a decrease or elimination of immigration raids. They cited the separation of families as one of their reasons the raids should cease. These bishops are only addressing symptoms of a larger problem. The parents caught in the raids broke the law. If they are deported, their children can come with them. The decision to break up their families was theirs, not ICE’s.

We live in a world with many unfortunate circumstances; however, encouraging people to make more bad decisions will not improve things. The children left behind around the world by emigrating parents are in far worse shape than those children of illegal aliens in the U.S. If the Catholic bishops want to talk about family separation, they should do it with their parishioners, not ICE.

Caroline Espinosa is a former press secretary for a U.S. Senator and spokesperson for NumbersUSA

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