A California Senate committee yesterday voted in support of a bill to prevent the separation of families when children of deported parents are stuck in the child welfare system. The bill follows the release last year of "Shattered Families," a major national investigation by Colorlines.com and its publisher the Applied Research Center that provides the first national estimate of the number of children in foster care whose parents have been detained or deported. Nearly a quarter of these estimated 5,100 children are California residents. The bill is the first piece of state legislation to address the shattered families problem.
"As a parent I think it's unfathomable that parental rights can be terminated simply because of immigration status," the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles told me yesterday. "It's completely unacceptable, but it is the reality that many parents face because of the current immigration system."