If you have ever made friends with someone who immigrated to the United States, you probably recognize the richness he or she added to your life. Trying ethnic foods, learning new words and having exposure to different cultural norms likely helped expand your mind. As your friendship grew, you probably came to understand that though your backgrounds were different, you connected regardless.
While news reports have shown increasing numbers of people being deported, you may not grasp how detrimental that can be to someone who has worked to create a new life here in America. For some people facing deportation, remaining in the country might be possible. But for others, it could be life-altering in more ways than you may realize.
Potential psychological effects of deportation
According to the Society for Community Research and Action, a division of the American Psychological Association, most of the people deported have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years. To further complicate matters, many of these people have children who are U.S. citizens.
Unfortunately, separating children from their parents seems to have become a normal part of immigration. Not only that, but in many instances, people are legitimately fearful about what will happen to them upon being forcibly returned to their homeland.
It is not uncommon for children to suffer psychologically from deportation-associated trauma in ways which can include:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Behavioral challenges
- Withdrawing from others
- Increased anxiety
However, it is possible that if you face deportation, you may not necessarily have to leave the country. Understanding you have options may help your children’s peace of mind, as well as your own.
You may not have to return to your country of origin
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to appeal your deportation ruling. One option of remaining in the U.S. is to explore your eligibility for a green card. Another, though potentially more difficult choice, would be to leave the country voluntarily. Though it would likely take time, this could allow for a smoother legal return to America in the future. Immigration remains a complex matter, but with proper guidance, you may be able to find a way to keep your family unit intact while protecting your children’s mental health.