Wall Street Journal
By Joseph De Avila
March 30, 2017
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has a message for parents at risk for deportation: Be prepared and select a guardian.
His message doesn’t come entirely from a place of compassion for the state’s estimated 22,000 children who are U.S. citizens but whose parents aren’t. It also derives from fiscal considerations: If 10% of those children end up in the Connecticut’s foster system because their parents are deported, it could cost the state more than $60 million a year, he said.
He called on these immigrants to designate guardians for their children and to inform their children of the decision. Taking this precaution will ensure that the children won’t be placed in state care, the governor said.
“We owe it to them, our fellow citizens, to do everything we can to make sure they are well taken care of,” said Mr. Malloy, a Democrat.
President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise of cracking down on immigration, has tightened enforcement of the country’s immigration policy and broadened the number of illegal immigrants who are subject to deportation. That has cast a chill through many communities causing residents to stay home for fear of being apprehended by federal agents.
Toni Harp, mayor of New Haven, Conn., said the federal immigration orders have shaken up her community, leading to fewer students attending school out of fear that their parents could be deported.
“These family-preparedness suggestions are meant to keep families calm in the face of such uncertainty, and they are meant to stabilize the community across the board,” Ms. Harp said.
A spokesman for the New Haven school district said it has had isolated incidents that have had an impact on attendance. “We counter the legitimate fear and apprehension that may exist based on the recent federal government action…with support and protection for all students within our system,” he said.
The Pew Research Center estimates that in 2014 there were 4.7 million U.S.-born children younger than 18 living with parents who were in the country illegally.
Joette Katz, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, said her agency currently has 4,200 children in its care. Adding 22,000 children to the system, should those parents be deported, is “beyond staggering and unimaginable,” she said.
Mr. Malloy, a public critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, has encouraged cities and local-law enforcement agencies to not take actions solely to enforce federal immigration law.
Mr. Malloy instead advised local police departments to comply with a state law passed in 2013 called the Trust Act, saying that would sufficiently satisfy any obligations to cooperate with federal authorities.
The law states that state and local law-enforcement agencies can detain suspects at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement beyond the time of their scheduled release only under certain circumstances. That includes if the suspect has been convicted of a felony or has an outstanding arrest warrant.
Write to Joseph De Avila at firstname.lastname@example.org
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