Equity & Diversity

How Undocumented Parents and Their Kids Can Get Separated

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 07, 2009 1 min read

Undocumented immigrants—and some legal immigrants as well—who are detained are often transferred to remote immigration jails in Texas or Louisiana, far from lawyers or evidence that might help them to be freed, says a report by Human Rights Watch covered by the New York Times last week.

The Times reports that the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also concluded from an investigation that transfers of immigrant detainees are haphazard. The Inspector General’s report says the transfers aren’t conducted according to a consistent process, which “leads to errors, delays, and confusion for detainees, their families, and legal representatives.”

I’m picking up on this issue because many of you who read this blog have children in your classes whose parents are living illegally in this country. If their parents are detained, it’s quite likely they won’t be housed at a detention center anywhere near where they’ve been living in the United States, which adds to the emotional distress of the family and children.

This past fall, the National Education Association and the National School Boards Association published a useful guide on legal issues involving the education of undocumented children.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.