US Representatives Hear Testimony on Effects of Deportation Practices on Family Unity

On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz) hosted an ad-hoc hearing on Capitol Hill, entitled, “Lines That Divide Us: Failure to Preserve Family Unity in the Context of Enforcement at the Border.”  The hearing covered recent surveys of deported immigrants, with a particular focus on their findings on the effect of immigration enforcement and deportation practices on family unity.  The studies also highlighted high levels of Border Patrol physical and verbal abuse of migrants and persistent shortcomings in the Department of Homeland Security’s investigation and review of complaints of abuse.  Among other reports, the hearings featured: Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border and In the Shadow of the Wall: Family Separation, Immigration Enforcement and Security: Preliminary Data from the Migrant Border Crossing Study.

Eight Members of Congress attended the hearing, and four witnesses testified on the realities of life on the border and provided recommendations on how the government could make immigration enforcement more effective and humane.  Donald Kerwin, Executive Director for the Center for Migration Studies, served as one of the witnesses, along with: Fr. Sean Carroll, Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative; Daniel Martinez, Assistant Professor of Sociology at George Washington University; and Vicki B. Gaubeca, Director of the Regional Center for Border Rights for the American Civil Liberties Union.  Mr. Kerwin offered 12 sets of recommendations on border enforcement, family unity and Border Patrol accountability, focused particularly on ideas that would require legislative reform.

For the full transcript of Mr. Kerwin’s testimony, visitTestimony of Don Kerwin – April 10 2013 Ad-hoc Hearing (2)Final

Photo and video featuring highlights from the meeting are below: