A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Wolf Howl

The Effect of Deportation on Local Communities

Children who experience the deportation of a parent may face emotional disorders, both in childhood and later in life. As a result, immigration authorities are being criticized for their policy of the deportation of law-abiding, non-violent parents of young children in the U.S. Described by the Department of Justice as “Zero Tolerance,” the policy reversed the previous precedent, which discouraged authorities from deporting parents of children with no criminal record. 

The impacts on children who experienced the deportation of a parent, both on their health and family, are numerous. For example, financial issues often plague families with a member deported. Families who lose a working member of their family to deportation often struggle to keep their bills paid and a roof over their heads. 

 Financial and mental issues like these have a lasting impact on kids, even here in Chandler. At San Marcos Elementary School, a Title 1 school on Frye Road, families have been affected by deportation. The San Marcos Elementary counselor, Mrs. Ballew, said, “We have had several students affected by deportation here… I see worry after the deportation, and some stress, some anxiety… Sometimes they worry for the parent that is left here, too.” 

Children can be permanently affected by the deportation of a parent, and it’s not uncommon for stress, anxiety, or other emotional disorders to be present in children whose families are affected. Children with parents that are deported are known to experience increased rates of behavioral issues, depression, anxiety, and social isolation. 

In many of the communities where parents are deported in the greatest numbers, mostly low-income areas, mental health resources are severely lacking. However, the counselor also said “Our district provides school counselors and social workers. We are so lucky, in our district, that we have school counselors and social workers.” The resources provided are meant to ease the pain of the deportation of a parent.  School counselors are on each campus, ready to be available for students, and social workers can provide families with additional aid.