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Friday, November 2, 2007

Study identifies ‘invisible’ victims of immigration raids

A study released this week by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social policy research group, discusses an “invisible” group of people who’ve been affected by the immigration raids taking place across the country -- children.

According to the report -- "Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children" -- thousands of kids whose parents are arrested in ICE raids face mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety and depression. Most of those children are citizens or legal immigrants.

Researchers visited two sites where ICE officers conducted coordinated raids of meat-packing plants and one where workers made equipment and apparel for the military. Officials at these three sites alone arrested 900 suspected illegal immigrants, meaning that 500 children abruptly lost contact with their mother, father or both parents. The study revealed that the children of those arrested were left with a combination of unstable supervision, stress, emotional trauma and material needs that can lead to mental health disorders.

While some might discredit the study because it was commissioned by the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization, it’s undeniable that the findings at least give us something to think about.

Notably, one of the Minnesota ICE raids, which took place in Worthington last December, has led to a federal lawsuit. Several residents who were working at the meatpacking plant when it was raided by immigration agents are suing over the alleged abusive and illegal tactics used. The suit was filed in September by Centro Legal, an immigrant rights group.

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