- The U.S. government should increase the effort it makes to take care of its young citizens, regardless of their parents’ immigration status
This post highlights and summarizes a policy brief written by Erin Hamilton, professor of sociology; Paola Langer, doctoral candidate in sociology; and Claudia Masferrer, El Colegio de México. You can read the brief in its entirety here.
- One in six U.S.-born children living in Mexico in 2014 were de facto deported, meaning they emigrated from the United States to Mexico to accompany one or more deported parents.
- Women are over-represented among deported parents with U.S.-born children in Mexico, and deported mothers in Mexico are far less likely to live with a partner than deported fathers.
- De facto deported U.S.-born children in Mexico experienced greater socioeconomic disadvantage than those whose families migrated for other reasons.
Between 2000 and 2015, as the U.S. deported unprecedented numbers of Mexican immigrants, the population of U.S.-born children living in Mexico doubled in size. In a recent study, using data collected in 2014 and 2018 by the Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics, or ENADID, we estimated the number of de facto deported children. De facto deported children are U.S.-born children who emigrated to Mexico from the U.S. to accompany deported parents.
In our study, we examined gendered differences in the presence of U.S.-born children in the households of women and men who were deported, as well as in whether the deported parent was accompanied by or lived with a partner following deportation. We also sought to find out how de facto deported U.S.-born children in Mexico fared in terms of various indicators of social well-being.
We used data from the 2014 and 2018 waves of the ENADID, a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of about 100,000 households conducted on a recurring basis by the Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography. In 2014, the survey added a new question about the reason for migration to Mexico, which includes deportation as a possible reason.
There were 1,865 and 1,945 U.S.-born children counted in the 2014 and 2018 ENADIDs, respectively. When we apply the rate of de facto deportation among recent migrant children with recent migrant parents to the entire population of U.S.-born children living in Mexico, we estimate that as many as 100,000 U.S.-born children in Mexico in 2014 and 80,000 in 2018 were de facto deported.
Among recent migrant parents living with U.S.-born children in Mexico, fathers and mothers who were not deported most frequently lived with a partner who also migrated, suggesting a process of nuclear family migration. Nuclear family migration is also the norm for deported fathers, 70% of whom live with a recent-migrant partner who was not deported. The large majority (69%) of deported mothers, on the other hand, do not live with a partner in Mexico.
Child and family welfare
The U.S. government has forced de facto deported children to live outside their country of citizenship to remain with their parents. Our research suggests that, in doing so, it exposes such children to disadvantages unique to their circumstances. The U.S. government should increase the effort it makes to take care of its young citizens, regardless of their parents’ immigration status or the child’s country of residence. Binational programs should focus on child and family welfare to improve the lives of U.S. citizens whom the U.S. government forces to reside elsewhere.