Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

United States immigration law and procedure frequently ignore the plight of children directly affected by immigration proceedings. This ignorance means decision-makers often lack the discretion to protect a child from persecution by halting the deportation of a parent, while parents must choose between abandoning their children in a foreign land and risking the torture of their children. United States immigration law systematically fails to consider the best interests of children directly affected by immigration proceedings. This failure has resulted in a split among the federal circuit courts of appeals regarding whether the persecution a child faces may be used to halt the deportation of a parent. The omission of a "best interests of the child" approach in immigration law and procedure for children who are accompanied by a parent fails to protect foreign national and United States citizen children. Models for eliminating these protection failures can be found in United States child welfare law and procedure, international law, and the immigration law of other nations, such as Canada. Building from these models, the United States must implement and give substantial weight to the best interests of directly affected children in its immigration law and procedure.


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