To fix the broken deportation system by protecting U.S. citizen children through the restoration of an immigration judge’s power to keep families together.
In 1996, our immigration system made deportation a mandatory punishment for many non-citizens—including long-term and legal permanent residents. When punishment is mandatory judges do not have a say in deciding if deportation is fair, robbing immigrant families of a day in court and a chance to show how permanent exile from the U.S. would impact their family.
The result? Every year, nearly 200,000 non-citizens—many with kids who are U.S. citizens —are deported and torn away from their families even when a judge thinks they deserve to stay in the U.S. to help raise and support those families. Under mandatory deportation, the judge’s hands are tied. Families must choose between splitting up, resulting in more single parent households and psychological and financial hardship, or forcing their U.S. citizen children into deportation with them. These American children may have to start over in a country with a new language, fewer resources and an uncertain future. America’s immigration laws force American children to lose their parent, or their country.
Mandatory deportation is a life sentence of exile. Such a severe, "one size fits all" punishment cannot be the basis of our immigration system.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) introduced the Child Citizen Protection Act (H.R. 182), a limited bill to restore justice to our immigration system by allowing U.S. citizen children to be heard before a parent is taken away. The Child Citizen Protection Act would repeal the harshest provisions of the 1996 laws and allow immigration judges to consider whether deportation is "clearly against the best interests of a US citizen child". It preserves the basic notion of fairness that should define the U.S. justice system. It allows judges to judge, and families to have a day in court.
The Child Citizen Protection Act is an opportunity for our leaders to show that they truly value families, that the health, safety and well being of our nation’s children are a top priority.
1. Massive Deportations Constitute a Human Rights Crisis
2. The Child Citizenship Protection Act is Sensible Legislation We Can All Agree On
3. The Child Citizenship Protection Act is Grounded Fundamentally in the Rights of Children and Family Unity
4. The Child Citizenship Protection Act Seeks to Challenge the ‘Good’ vs. ‘Bad’ Immigrants Myth