In the United States today, more than 16.7 million people share a home with at least one family member, often a parent, who is unauthorized. Almost six million of these people are children under the age of 18. Consequently, immigration enforcement actions—and the ever-present threat of enforcement action—have significant physical, emotional, developmental, and economic repercussions for millions of children across the country. Deportations of parents and other family members have serious consequences that affect children – including U.S. Citizen children – and extend to entire communities and the country as a whole.
This fact sheet provides an overview of the children who are impacted by immigration enforcement actions, the challenges and risk factors that these children face, and the existing mechanisms designed to protect children if a parent is detained or deported.
Millions of U.S. citizen children have undocumented parents and family members.
- 4.1 million U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 live with at least one undocumented parent, according to the most recent estimates available (analyzing 2009-2013 U.S. Census data).
- 5.9 million U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 live with an undocumented family member, according to the most recent estimates available (analyzing 2010-2014 census data).
- Roughly half-a-million U.S. citizen children experienced the apprehension, detention, and deportation of at least one parent in the course of about two years, according to the most recent estimates available (analyzing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data between 2011 and 2013).
- As of 2017, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti had an estimated 273,000 U.S.-born citizen children. With those TPS designations terminated, many of these parents will become undocumented by the end of 2019.
- More than 17 million U.S. citizen children have at least one foreign-born parent, including parents who are naturalized citizens, lawfully present immigrants, and unauthorized immigrants