PASCO, Wash. -- According to a new report released by Immigration Customs Enforcement to Congress, during the first six months of last year, of the people deported, 22% claimed their children are U.S. Born citizens.
An additional 21,860 parents of U.S.-citizen children were ordered out of the country but may not have left, according to the same report.
"It's devastating to hear that in the last six months, has deported at least 46,000 parents, which means at least 46,000 kids are left to fend for themselves,' says Jazmin Santacruz, with One America, Washington's largest immigration advocacy group.
ICE statistics show that 74% of the 46,486 parents of U.S.-citizen children deported had been convicted of crimes. Another 13% had been previously removed from the country, and 4% were fugitives - immigrants who failed to comply with deportation orders.
Immigration Attorney Tom Roach says he sees it everyday in his Pasco Office. " I see people who are getting thrown out of this country, the government likes to say we are only deporting criminals, but that's not quite true."
Roach says the word "criminal" is often misused. "70 % of those people who are criminals have either a negligent driving offense, which is a criminal manner or fishing with the wrong fishing hook, That's a misdemeanor," says Roach.
Instead, Roach says families get broken and tax payers often front the bill.. "A lot of them move in with relatives, some go back to Mexico, despite the fact they're us citizens. A lot of them go foster care. The taxpayer is paying for foster care for these US citizen kids, a that doesn't make any sense," says Roach.
Roybal-Allard cited a 2011 report by the Applied Research Center, a liberal organization, that said 5,100 children in the U.S. were living in foster care after their parents were deported.
Roach says if a person has been living in America for ten years, has no criminal record and does have US born children, he or she could apply for legal status.
However he says, winning a case like that is very tough, about 10%.