Immigration Enforcement: How Children, Families and Communities are Impacted

For the archived video of this event, please visit C-SPAN here.

More often than not immigration enforcement is discussed in terms of numbers, such as the number of people deported or the government dollars spent each year. What often isn’t discussed are the families and communities who feel the impact of record-breaking deportations. In just the first half of last year, 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported in leaving behind single parents and their children in America. With over 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country, and over 16 million people living in mixed-status families (with at least one U.S. citizen, and one undocumented immigrant,) deportations affect a wide swath of the population. This event will examine how deportations and immigration enforcement affects children, families, and communities at large.

This event also marks the release of “How Enhanced Immigration Enforcement Hurts Children and Families,” by University of Albany professor Joanna Dreby. Professor Dreby has completed extensive ethnographic research and interviews, to illustrate the ways in which immigration enforcement affects all immigrants, regardless of their immigration status. The paper is the third in our series “Documented the Undocumented,” which seeks to turn a lens on a population that all too often is overlooked in American life.

Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion about the ways in which immigration enforcement affects children, families, and the communities in which they live. The author Joanna Dreby will discuss her research on the effects of immigration actions on children and family unity, while Seth Freed Wessler will discuss his work with the Applied Research Center on U.S. citizen children who end up in foster care because of the detention or deportation of their undocumented immigrant parents. Miriam W. Yeung will discuss the “We Belong Together” campaign, an advocacy effort to increase attention on immigration enforcement issues with regard to women, children, and families. Finally Ajay Chaudry of the Department of Health and Human Services will discuss efforts by the federal government to better understand the circumstances of families being affected by immigration enforcement and help ensure the safety and well-being of all American families, regardless of their immigration status.

Featured Panelists:
Joanna Dreby, Assistant Professor of Sociology, the University of Albany
Ajay Chaudry, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretart for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Seth Freed Wessler, Investigative Reporter, Applied Research Center
Miriam Yeung, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

Philip E. Wolgin, Immigration Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress


Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC , 20005

Additional information

A light lunch will be served at 11:30am.