California Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard has introduced legislation to keep immigrant families together, according to a press release from the Congresswoman office. The Help Separated Families Act, H.R. 6128, addresses the growing number of U.S. born children placed in foster care as a result of immigration enforcement actions, with the intent to keep children of detained or removed parents united with their families.
The bill prohibits immigration status from disqualifying a parent, legal guardian, or relative from placement consideration, according to Voxxi.
“I introduced this legislation when I discovered the alarming number of children placed in foster care and separated from their families when their parents are detained or deported,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “We can no longer ignore the human cost of our broken immigration system. People, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to know that their children are cared for, and when possible, children should be able to remain under the care of a family relative instead of becoming a ward of the state.”
This issue came to the Congresswoman’s attention when she, along with other Democratic members of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, requested the release of an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Report regarding the annual deportation of parents of U.S. citizen children. During the first half of last year alone, more than 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported from the United States. In the wake of their parents’ removal, a growing number of children have been placed in foster care and left to languish, or worse yet, have been separated permanently from their families when their parents’ rights are terminated. It is estimated that over 5,000 children in at least 22 states are currently living in foster care as a result of immigration enforcement policies.