The San Antonio Current reports on a troubling by-product of the federal crackdown of illegal immigrants that made 2011 a banner year for deportations: The children left behind as natural-born citizens often must be absorbed by the foster-care system. The New York-based advocacy group Applied Research Center estimates that some 5,100 U.S. citizen children sit in foster care across the country because of undocumented parents caught in an expanding web of immigration enforcement.
The Texas borderlands see the highest concentrations of such kids stuck in foster limbo. Nearly 8 percent of children in foster care in El Paso have lost their parents to immigration enforcement, while in the Rio Grande Valley children of undocumented parents account for 7.8 percent of those in foster care. It is estimated that nearly one in four deported immigrants leave behind U.S. citizen children. The report notes at least 20 other states where families are more likely to be separated thanks to local immigration enforcement.