What Are the Effects of the Deportation Process on Families?
Over the last few years, since President Trump took office, the Department of Immigration and Customers Enforcement has deported a record number of undocumented immigrants, including many who have not committed any crimes.
The deportation process rips families apart and has serious consequences for everyone involved.
Do you have a family member who is being deported? Are you concerned or unsure of the best way to help them? If so, keep reading.
Explained below are some of the negative effects that the deportation process has on families. You’ll also find information on how to support your family as you all go through this difficult time.
More Children in Foster Care
When the undocumented parents of children who are U.S. citizens get deported, those children often end up in foster care.
Ideally, they would go to live with another family member, but that’s not always an option. As a result, when rates or deportation go up, there are also higher numbers of children in foster care.
This can be very traumatic for children, especially if they get separated from their siblings in the process.
Higher Numbers of Single Parents
Higher rates of deportation in the U.S. have also created more single-parent families.
When one parent gets deported, the remaining parent often ends up having to carry the burden alone.
Not only do they have to continue to meet their children’s basic needs, but they also have to make up for the loss of the deported parent’s income.
They also have to deal with the legal stress that comes with trying to bring their partner back into the United States.
This is a lot for one parent to handle, and that stress often carries over to their children, too.
Higher Rates of Finacial Distress
Not surprisingly, when a family member gets deported, it takes a financial toll on the rest of the family.
The loss of income can cause severe distress and make it very difficult for families to make ends meet. Many families report having difficulty paying bills and paying for food as a result of a family member being deported.
This lack of financial stability could cause the individuals remaining in the U.S. to resort to exploitative or dangerous jobs and poor working conditions to try and cover their expenses on their own.
Fear of Separation
Individuals who have had a family member deported may worry that they’ll be next. They may also live in fear of being separated from their remaining family members.
Even if they are in the country legally, those who remain might still have irrational fears of immigration officials separating them from their siblings, parents, or other relatives. These fears are especially common among children.
These children may go on to suffer from chronic anxiety and fear as a result.
Fear of Law Enforcement
It’s also not uncommon for those who have had a family member or loved one deported to fear all members of law enforcement.
They may assume that police officers and members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are the same.
This, in turn, can make them fearful and hesitant to reach out to the police, even in situations in which they are in danger or need help.
Hesitance to Seek Medical Care
Individuals who have had a family member deported might be afraid or hesitant to seek medical care, too. They might be afraid that revealing any personal information about themselves could result in them being deported or separated from their loved ones.
By neglecting to seek medical care as soon as symptoms arise, they might be putting themselves in dangerous situations and making their health problems worse. This, in turn, can lead to the development of serious illnesses and more costly medical bills.
Children who have a parent or parents who have been deported may begin to dissociate from their heritage, too. They may stop speaking their native language and denying where their families come from.
This can result in serious mental health problems and can cause them to struggle with their mental and emotional well-being.
Higher Rates of Mental Health Disorders
It’s not surprising that people who have had a family member deported are more likely than others to suffer from mental health disorders.
People of all ages who experience the deportation process (whether they’re deported themselves or have a family member who was deported) are highly likely to experience symptoms of depression. Some even experience suicidal thoughts.
Physical health problems like headaches, stomachaches, and insomnia can also present themselves as a result of chronic stress, depression, and anxiety.
Worsened Physical Health
In addition to suffering from mental health problems, those who have been affected by the deportation process may be more likely to suffer from physical health problems, too.
They may face an especially great risk of developing chronic health conditions like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Those who already suffered from these issues might notice that their symptoms get worse, too.
Difficulty Performing in School
Children whose parents, siblings, or other family members have been deported or taken into custody by immigration services are likely to experience difficulties performing in school, too.
They may have difficulty focusing in class because they’re so worried about what is going to happen to their loved ones and to them.
They might also act out and have behavioral problems because they don’t know how to cope with the stress and trauma they’ve experienced.
Learn More About Supporting Your Family During a Deportation Process
It’s no secret that the deportation process is difficult for families. It affects everyone, not just those who are actually facing deportation.
If you’re currently dealing with the deportation process in any way, be sure to keep this information in mind. It’ll help you navigate the process and maintain your sanity as you go through it.
Do you want to learn more about supporting your family members who are being deported? If so, we’ve got lots of articles that can help.
Check out some of the home and family-related resources on our site today!