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News :: Human Rights
Immigration Raids Create Emotional Trauma and Economic Distress for Children, New Report FInds
02 Nov 2007
Boston, MA - The Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) and the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NSWMA) presented a new report by the Urban Institute and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which examines how recent immigration enforcement actions have affected the wellbeing of children of immigrants in the U.S.

Researchers found that for every two people detained in immigration enforcement operations, one child is left behind. Two-thirds of these children are U.S. citizens and a similar share is under age ten. The report details the consequences of immigration enforcement operations on children's psychological, educational, economic, and social wellbeing. It also outlines the heavy burden that workplace raids are placing on communities, school systems, social service providers, and religious institutions, which have acted as first responders for families in these incidents.
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Children march with their families during the May Day march in Boston 2007.
Boston, MA - The Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) and the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NSWMA) presented a new report by the Urban Institute and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which examines how recent immigration enforcement actions have affected the wellbeing of children of immigrants in the U.S.

The report, Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children, profiles three communities that have recently experienced large-scale worksite raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency within the past year, including New Bedford; the other sites are Greeley, Colorado, and Grand Island, Nebraska. On March 6, 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials staged a worksite raid at a Michael Bianco, Inc. factory in New Bedford.

Researchers found that for every two people detained in immigration enforcement operations, one child is left behind. Two-thirds of these children are U.S. citizens and a similar share is under age ten. The report details the consequences of immigration enforcement operations on children's psychological, educational, economic, and social wellbeing. It also outlines the heavy burden that workplace raids are placing on communities, school systems, social service providers, and religious institutions, which have acted as first responders for families in these incidents.

Corinn Williams, Executive Director of the Community Economic Development Center in New Bedford has been serving the immigrant community impacted by the raid. "The horrific pain that people witnessed during the ordeal of the raid has not gone away. That raid still tears away at our community in New Bedford. Families are torn apart, and mothers and children are suffering, in some ways more than ever," she stated.

Carol Trust, the Executive Director of the MA Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers stated, "It is crucial that child advocates call upon Federal and State officials to make the safety and wellbeing of children at the center of any discussion and a non-negotiable element of federal immigration reform."

Marylou Sudders, President and CEO of the MA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children stated, "We should be working with our congressional delegation to stop these raids from happening." She continued, "For the United States government to be engaged in raids that then traumatize children, two-thirds of whom are United States citizens, is a catastrophe."

"We are at the beginning of a national crisis," stated Ester R. Shapiro, a professor at UMASS Boston and a researcher at the Gaston Institute who contributed research for the report. "Homeland security guards told these mothers that DSS had already taken their children, that they had already lost their children." Shapiro continued, "A detainee told me the worst night of her life was spent listening to the weeping of mothers who thought they had already lost their children. That is torture, and we have to take a stand against that."

During the crisis in New Bedford, Dr. Amaro Laria, Director of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, volunteered his services to help with the initial intake of affected families. "It was one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult experience that I've encountered in terms of mental health in my profession." Laria continued, "One of the most devastating experiences that any individual can have is an abrupt separation in early childhood from a significant parent," stated Dr. Amaro Laria.

"Legally we will be dealing with this for years. This raid has really overwhelmed the legal resources available for immigration work," stated Nancy Kelly, the Supervising Attorney of the Immigration Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. "You have to understand, people have recourse, they do have legal rights. A large number of people who were arrested have claims to asylum." Kelly continued, "What we've also seen is the fear that is now taking hold of the broader immigrant community. In some cases, people who don't even have a legal problem are assuming this will happen. It translates into, 'if you are an immigrant you could lose your child.' "

The report also outlines the economic impact on families and communities. In New Bedford, the Niño's Fund was established and administered by the Community Foundation of Southeastern MA (CFSMA). Craig J. Dutra, President of CFSMA noted the generous public response to the devastating impact the Michael Bianco raid had on families in New Bedford. "We all care about children, and about our neighbors. Over $200,000 has been contributed to the Niño's Fund to support children whose parents were detained in the aftermath of that raid. To date the fund has distributed $180,000 in food, energy, and housing assistance to 103 families." The need is still great, and the Fund is still taking donations to assist these families.

TO READ THE FULL REPORT, GO TO:
See also:
http://www.miracoalition.org/uploads/g_/Ss/g_SsdZzTqYFK4v8n9LnN4w/PayingPric-embargoed-FNL.pdf
http://www.miracoalition.org/

This work licensed under a
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Illegality advocacy
28 Nov 2007
Proponets of illegal immigration are pulling out all the stops to open the floodgates to an uncontolled torrent of unending illegal inflow. They'll stop at nothing to trample immigration laws and make the country a haven for every economic migrant that takes it upon herself to break the law and enter the country illegally without complying with any orderly, established admission procedures. Exaggerated sob stories from anecdotal sources about children are exploited for ulterior political ends, to enable illegal immigrants to get away with breaking the immigration laws with impunity. Pregnant women come across the border to give birth in order to create a scam pretext for claiming citizenship for themselves and all their countless relatives. If you want to visit or reside in this or any other country then apply through the proper channels. Otherwise, don't come unapproved and if you are here illegally, GO HOME! Support the INS in its vital task of enforcing orderly, controlled immigration in our best interests.