Family centered action at ICE Centennial offices highlights economic and social costs of aggressive detention and deportation of immigrants
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CENTENNIAL, CO—On Wednesday, June 27, families gathered at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Centennial office to draw attention to the impact that family separation policies are having on Colorado families. While families gathered for a “nurture in” where children were invited to make art projects, sing songs, and participate in a bilingual story time, The Colorado Fiscal Institute (CFI) released a new report highlighting the potential cost of aggressive detention and deportation policies in Colorado.
Zoë Williams, a local parent and organizer, is part of the family-led action. “Parents and children are coming together to insist that our elected officials keep Colorado families together and free. We know that the Trump agenda is horrific, and we want to see our immigrant family members and neighbors safe.”
The CFI report, “The Impact of Deportation on Mental Health, Education Outcomes, and Economic Opportunity for Colorado Kids,” uses survey data gathered from immigrant families to demonstrate the huge impact on children of immigrant families where one or both parents face potential detention or deportation (to view the full report, click here). The report found that more than 80% of parents surveyed reported their children had experienced anxiety, fear, depression, or separation trauma after the deportation of a parent and more than 51% of the children have had to seek mental health support. The report then goes even further, analyzing what the cost of continuing detention and deportation policies would be for Colorado taxpayers in increased mental health treatment, lower student academic achievement, and reduced economic stability for immigrant families.
Gabriela Flora, Program Director at the American Friends Service Committee, states, “As we continue to hear of the devastating, inhuman impacts at the border of the zero tolerance policy on children, it is important to also understand the impacts current policy is having on children and families in our own community so we can create practices and policies that keep families together across the whole country, including Colorado.”
“Immigrant families are an important part of Colorado, and continued separation of families will hurt the state economically,” said CFI policy analyst Esther Turcios. “From an additional $7 million from our already underfunded school districts to hire more school psychologists, to nearly $150 million in projected increased mental health care costs for children of deported or detained parents, Colorado can neither afford the financial nor the social impacts of aggressive detention and deportation policies.”
Christina Zaldivar, a mother featured in the report who is fighting to stop the deportation of her husband, Jorge Zaldivar, added, “Families like ours deserve due process and our children deserve to live without the trauma that has plagued them for more than 10 years. When families are separated because of policies that connect ICE with local police and then denied a thorough review of their case American values are undermined and ultimately it is our kids who pay the price.”
Representative Susan Lontine made a call for Colorado legislators to work to create policies that stop arbitrary crack downs on families attending schools, hospitals, courts and other safe spaces. “We are here today to stand up for families and children. It’s clear that separating children from their parents harms them now and their future prosperity. I’m asking that we protect families from separation by respecting their ability to go to the doctor in peace, to go to school without fear, and seek justice without retaliation.”