Families Divided: The Denial of Family Integrity Rights in the Immigration Context



Every day, the United States legally separates families. During the Trump Administration, family separations at the southern border drew justified outrage as horrific images of children in cages, longing for their parents, spread. Far more frequently, though, families are separated through family regulation systems and immigration enforcement in the United States. Although the U.S. Constitution supports a foundational right to family integrity, the jurisprudence around family rights in immigration law has fallen short of protecting children from the deportation of their parents. This article will explore the underlying family regulation and immigration systems, present legal arguments for family integrity, and discuss how these rights may be applied in immigration law practice. This article will also consider new potential applications for family rights arguments to defend families from immigration enforcement.

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