Key Findings Include:
- Family Separation: Families experienced separation ranging from several hours to months, including long-term separation due to the deportation of a parent.
- Harm to Children’s Mental and Physical Health: Children experienced significant harm to their mental and physical health immediately after the raid and in the long term, including changes to their daily routines.
- Harm to Parents’ Mental and Physical Health: Parents arrested in the raids and those left behind experienced adverse consequences to their mental and physical wellbeing, which were often exacerbated by related hardships and the need to provide emotional support for children.
- Economic Hardship: Families faced additional economic hardships as a result of the raids stemming from the sudden loss of income and difficulty finding employment.
- Stress on Providers and Community Leaders: Providers and community leaders working directly with immigrant families affected by the raids had to quickly organize and shift their priorities to meet the short- and long-term needs of families, often with consequences for their own mental and physical health.
Overview of study
“The role of parents makes the child feel secure. If one parent is missing, either the mother or the father, the kid may feel vulnerable…I would say it is grief…They lose someone. Although your mother or your father [is] alive, it is a loss. So they will manifest this in different ways. Some of them will act rebellious because they want to catch attention. Others will be more inhibited, sad, or shy. And others will have dreams or nightmares.”
Harm to Children’s Mental and Physical Health
Immediate trauma on day of the raid
“[My daughter] told me, ‘What’s going on, mom? What’s going on? Why is ICE over there? That’s ICE, mom—it says on the back of their shirts.’ I wanted to lie to my girl, I wanted to say ‘Nothing’s wrong, my love.’” — Mother, Mississippi
Trauma following the raid
“As for children, what hurts you as a child, stays with you all your life.” Mother, Ohio
Young Children Facing Life-long Consequences
“I don’t get to play anymore.” — Ten-year-old boy, Mississippi
Changes in routines and responsibilities
“I’ll be 18 soon, I’ll be an adult by then. If my parents get deported, I’d fight to have my brother and sister stay. I’d have to drop out of school to get a good job—labor job—to be able to pay rent, food, everything. I’d become the new parent for the family. I already kind of had to take up the role because my mom had to work all the time...We don’t have family here. Everyone else we know are in the same situation—they don’t have money or space for extra people to maintain.”
Harm to Parents’ Mental and Physical Health
Parents directly impacted by the raid
“We laugh about how the raid happened to us, but deep down, we are destroyed.” — Mother, Texas
“I don’t have happy days anymore.” —Mother, Mississippi
Parents whose partners were detained
Loss of Employment
Rent, food, and utilities
Legal and detention-related expenses
“The first person I met with was here in Carthage, and he said, ‘Can [you] get me a job?’”—Immigrant Support Worker, Mississippi
“It’s too hard for just one person to support the household.”—Mother, Texas
Stress on Providers and Community Leaders
Increased demand on community-serving organizations
“I wish there were thousands of me…”—Legal Service Provider, Texas
Impacts on providers’ mental health and wellbeing
“I would say I’ve definitely suffered secondary trauma from the raids.”—Legal Service Provider, Ohio