"The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, reacted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) release of a set of policy reforms designed to reduce the harm to children and families resulting from immigration enforcement actions against parents. These reforms, collectively referred to as the “Parental Interest Directive,” represent a major advance for children and ensure that immigration enforcement measures are implemented in a responsible and humane manner. Key provisions of the Parental Interest Directive include:
These reforms align with current ICE enforcement priorities, but as administrative actions, they are subject to practical limitations. The Parental Interest Directive might be unilaterally reversed in the future by a different presidential administration, without hearing or the opportunity for public input.
Compared to comprehensive immigration reform legislation passed earlier this year by the U.S. Senate, the Parental Interest Directive encompasses a limited range of protections important for family unity. Specifically, the Senate legislation also:
The ICE reforms respond to a growing crisis for children, as immigration enforcement actions have intensified in recent years. The nonpartisan Human Impact Partners estimated earlier this year that more than 150,000 U.S. citizen children were affected by a parent’s detention or deportation in 2012, and the Applied Research Center has estimated that 5,100 children with a detained or deported parent are currently living in state foster care systems.
In response to the Parental Interest Directive announcement, the First Focus Campaign for Children released the following statement by president Bruce Lesley:
“The Parental Interest Directive is a major victory for children, reducing the likelihood that immigration enforcement will tear families apart and reducing the harm to kids when separation is unavoidable. But only Congress can give these critical reforms the force and permanence of law and deliver the other protections children need.”
Contact:Ed Walz(202) 657-0685 (office)" - The First Focus Campaign for Children, Aug. 23, 2013.