Policy director Jennifer Nagda appears in the Houston Chronicle

Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez, Houston Chronicle

Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez, Houston Chronicle

Jennifer Nagda, the Young Center's director of programs and policy, spoke last week to the Houston Chronicle about immigration authorities separating children and parents.

Excerpt below. For the full article, click here.

"What's terrifying is it doesn't seem as if the parent is asked, 'If you go right back, do you want your child to go with you?''' said Jennifer Nagda, policy director for the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, which provides guardians ad litem. "They are being separated and the parent is deported."

Sometimes parents are able to locate their children before they are removed from the country and can coordinate their return home together.

But in some cases, advocates for migrant children in federal foster care say they have been unable to find parents prior to their deportation. By then, the advocates say, the children have their own immigration cases and cannot simply be returned without court procedures, particularly if caseworkers argue it is against their best interest.

"What we are looking at is a separation of days and weeks and months, and some cases even years, because of the length of time a child's case can take," Nagda said. "Parents turn over every stone to find their children."

Maddie Witters