Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Serrano Introduces “Child Citizen Protection Act”

Mar 29, 2006
Press Release

Washington, DC – March 29, 2006 – Late yesterday Congressman José E. Serrano introduced “The Child Citizen Protection Act,” a bill to restore partial discretion to immigration judges in cases where removal of an immigrant is clearly against the best interest of a child that is a United States citizen. Serrano called the bill “common sense legislation,” that would protect children and families from unnecessary separation.

“I’m looking forward to strong support from members of all political stripes, because this bill is about helping children stay with their families,” Serrano said. “We must change this rigid law, because it allows no discretion on the part of immigration judges, and often ends up separating children from their parents. We must have faith that these judges will make the right decisions, and free their hands to do so.”

Currently, an immigration judge presiding over cases that would separate parents from children, has no choice but to order permanent removal of the undocumented parent from the United States. There is no room to consider the harm such separation would cause to the child, who is a citizen. As a result of this, the parents who do have citizenship have been forced to become single parents, dependents have become breadwinners, and working American families have joined the welfare rolls. Most importantly, the children, who bear no blame, have lost contact with a parent and intact families are broken apart.

“The present immigration system does little to protect the best interests of the children and keep families together,” Serrano added. “That’s just wrong—and this bill would help to change it. Deporting the parents of American children is not the right course for our nation.

“We must do everything in our power to keep families together, and to use common sense in our immigration laws. Children deserve better than to lose a parent because of an inflexible law.”