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SEVERING A LIFELINE: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy

A Report by Dorsey & Whitney LLP to The Urban Institute

Dorsey & Whitney LLP is a full-service law firm offering services in more than 50 different areas of legal practice, including immigration law. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dorsey employs 650 lawyers and 850 support staff in 18offices throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Dorsey represents more than one-third of the companies listed on the Fortune 100, and more than half of Minnesota’s public companies. Since its founding in 1912, Dorsey has maintained a strong commitment to serving the unmet legal needs of disadvantaged individuals, non-profit entities, and other organizations who cannot afford to pay forlegal services. Dorsey lawyers and staff devote tens of thousands of hours each year to pro bono activities in a wide variety of areas of the law, including children’s rights, political asylum/human rights, legal clinics, domestic abuse, and others. As a charter signatory to the ABA’s 1993 Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, Dorsey has contributed at least 3% of billable hours to pro bono work for 15consecutive years. Further information regarding Dorsey can be found at www.Dorsey.com.

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research institute and educational organization established in Washington, DC, in 1968. Its staff investigates the social, economic, and governance problems confronting the nation and evaluates the public and private means to alleviate them. The Institutedisseminates its research findings through publications, its web site, the media, seminars, and forums.

Copyright © 2009 by Dorsey & Whitney LLP 50 South Sixth Street, Suite 1500, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 612.340.2600 Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

SEVERING A LIFELINE: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy
Authored by: James D.Kremer Kathleen A. Moccio Joseph W. Hammell Editorial Advisory Committee: Prof. Katherine Fennelly, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs University of Minnesota Prof. David B. Thronson William S. Boyd School of Law University of Nevada, Las Vegas Prof. Esther Wattenberg Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare University of Minnesota Benjamin Johnson Executive Director of theAmerican Immigration Law Foundation

A Report by Dorsey & Whitney LLP to The Urban Institute

SEVERING A LIFELINE: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy

Contents
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i I. Executive Summary . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 II. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 III. Demographic Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . 15 A. The Undocumented Population. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 B. The Citizen Children Population . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 IV. The Non-Existent Path to Lawful Status in the “Enforcement Only” Era . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 A. TheDisconnect: Immigration Law, Instead of Facilitating Family Unity and Lawful Status, Creates Systemic Barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 1. Family-Based Immigration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 2. Employment-Based Immigration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....
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