Brevard Democrats Oppose Separation of Immigrant and Refugee Families

Melbourne, FL, 3/20/17 – The Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) has unanimously passed a resolution opposing the detention and deportation of immigrants who are not violent criminals, in order to protect the safety and welfare of all children.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, 33% of America’s over 11 million undocumented immigrants reside with children who are US citizens, and another 6% reside with non-citizen children who are under 18.

Brevard DEC member Blanca Rodriguez, a mental health case manager who works with immigrant families in Brevard County, said “the detention and deportation of undocumented parents is causing preventable child trauma and abandonment, and many of these children are American citizens. Children are among the most vulnerable members of our society, and in need of our protection.”

A recent study by Human Impact Partners found that children of deported parents predictably experience “poorer child health,” “poorer child behavioral outcomes,” “poorer child educational outcomes,” “poorer adult health,” “shorter lifespans,” “higher rates of poverty” and “diminished access to food.”  A similar study by the Urban Institute found that “researchers have related fear of deportation to stress and to poor physical and emotional health in both parents and children” and effects of parental deportation on children may include “psychological trauma, material hardship, residential instability, family dissolution, increased use of public benefits, and, among boys, aggression.”

The Brevard DEC expressed concerns that currently available community resources are not adequate to properly care for a large influx of abandoned and traumatized children. Local taxpayers will likely be forced to absorb the costs of foster care, healthcare, and other costs associated with caring for the traumatized children of detained and deported immigrants and refugees. The resolution asks public officials to determine the full taxpayer cost of caring for both citizen and non-citizen children of detained and deported immigrants and refugees.

“We’re calling for a more humane response to undocumented immigrants and their children,” says Stacey Patel, Brevard DEC Chair. “No good comes of abandoning and traumatizing children.” The resolution likewise asks that all elected public officials take an official stance opposing the deportation and detention of immigrants who are not violent criminals.

The full resolution may be found at brevarddems.org/resolutions/immigrantfamilies.  For more information about the Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee, go to BrevardDems.org.

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