Home Effects of Deportation A Look at Family Relationships and Deportation

A Look at Family Relationships and Deportation

A Look at Family Relationships and DeportationA Look at Family Relationships and Deportation


The issue of deportation in America has become a significant concern, with families being separated and disrupted by the deportation of one or more members. The devastating effects of such policies linger for a long time, leaving traumatized families struggling to cope with the pain. The fear and anxiety associated with the possibilities of being deported or having a loved one deported is a constant state of mind for immigrant families in the United States. This article takes a deep dive into the impact that deportation has on family relationships and the psychological effects it has on those involved.

The Impact of Deportation on Family Relationships

Deportation is a complicated process that affects every aspect of an individual’s life, especially their relationship with their family. The separation of family members due to deportation leads to emotional, financial, and legal problems. It is a challenging situation that requires a lot of support from the community to help those affected to deal with the consequences. The following are key ways in which deportation affects family relationships.

Emotional Effects

The emotional impact of deportation on families is enormous. It is a traumatic experience that leads to feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, helplessness, and depression. For example, a mother whose husband or one of her children gets deported often experiences depression as a result of the separation. The children left behind are left to cope with the loss of a parent, which affects their health, academic performance, and social interactions.

In addition, the deportee’s emotional wellbeing is also affected, with cases of depression, isolation, and hopelessness being common. The uncertainty of what the future holds and the fear of persecution in their home country leads to psychological trauma, which affects their mental health.

Economic Effects

The deportation of a family member often results in economic consequences, especially if the deported individual is the breadwinner of the family. The deportee’s income is lost, which leads to financial struggles for the family left behind. The remaining family members have to cope with the financial burden, which can lead to stress, depression, and anxiety.

Legal Effects

The deportation of a family member can cause legal problems for the remaining members. For example, if the deported individual was the primary caregiver for the rest of the family, the remaining family members may face legal challenges in court when trying to obtain custody of minors. The legal system may consider their immigration status and have an effect on their ability to gain custody of the children.

The psychological effects of deportation on family relationships can last for a long time, even after reunification. It alters family dynamics, with relationships redefined, and finding a new status quo can often be a challenge.

Government Policies on Deportation

The government policies on deportation in America have changed significantly over the years, with shifts in political leadership leading to drastic changes in the immigration laws and policies. The following are notable government policies on deportation in America.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA was introduced by the Obama administration to protect children who were brought to America illegally by their parents. This policy allowed them to continue living and working in America without fear of deportation. DACA guaranteed protection for qualifying individuals from deportation for two years, with the possibility of renewal.

However, the Trump administration attempted to repeal the DACA policy, arguing that it was unconstitutional. In 2017, the administration announced it would end the program, and several court battles followed. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration, stating that its decision to end DACA was arbitrary and capricious.

Aside from the political importance of DACA, this program has played a massive role in protecting families that are dealing with the fear of deportation. Individuals who qualified for DACA were able to provide for their families and contribute to their communities without fear of being torn apart from their loved ones.

Increased Deportation under Trump Administration

Under the Trump administration, deportation rates increased significantly. The administration cracked down on immigration laws, with strict policies that deported both legal and illegal immigrants, even those who had lived in the United States for years. Some of these policies included separating families at the border, deportation raids, and allowing state and local law enforcement agencies to participate in federal immigration enforcement.

The Trump administration’s immigration policies and rhetoric had long-lasting and traumatic effects on affected families. Many families feared being deported, and the fear caused them to live in a constant state of anxiety and worry.

Biden Administration on Deportation

The Biden administration has taken steps to reverse some of the harsh policies of the previous administration. One of his first moves in office was an executive order that halted the construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall. He has also halted Trump’s policy of separating family members at the border, allowing parents and children to remain united while their case is heard in court.

The Biden administration has also restored the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects children brought to the United States illegally. This gives families the much-needed assurance that they will not be ripped apart, and they can continue living and working in America.


In conclusion, the effects of deportation on family relationships are profound and often leave families scarred emotionally, financially, and legally. The psychological effects can last for a long time and can be challenging to overcome. The government policies on deportation in America have changed drastically over the years, with the Trump administration’s policies leading to a significant increase in deportations. The Biden administration is working to reverse some of these harsh policies, giving affected families a fighting chance to remain together and rebuild their lives.


Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). Preventing and mitigating the effects of ACEs by building community capacity and resilience: A workshop. National Academies Press (US).

Choper, J. H. (2017). Debating immigration. Oxford University Press.

Fernando, S. R., & Golding, L. G. (2019). Family separation, reunification, and injuries to mental health. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(6), 932.

Rhodes, S. R. (2018). Immigration and public opinion in the Trump era. Wiley Online Library.

The Politico Staff. (2021, January 20). What Biden has promised to do on immigration. POLITICO. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/20/biden-immigration-plan-460614.

Any immigrant can be ordered with deportations, meaning an order to return to their country of origin. This possibility is higher when the immigrant in question is an illegal immigrant. Deportations are a constant threat to illegal immigrants and for those individuals with families, the effects of a deportation present even further difficulties.

Family relationships are considered to be the most important bonds that a human being can forge with another. When a legal or illegal immigrant is deported back to their country of origin and leaves behind their family in the United States, the hurt and pain can  be devastating. However, just because an illegal immigrant is deported does not mean that their family is required to go with them back to their country of origin. Deportations may affect the entire family, but they do not necessarily cause the entire family unit to leave the United States.

Many illegal immigrants who are deported have their families remain behind in the United States for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are financial in nature. If the remaining family members are able to get a decent job and plan-out a decent living, then it may be possible for the deported individual to receive financial help even after they are back in their home country.

Man–both legal and illegal immigrants–send a good portion of their income back to their country of origin so that their family members can support themselves more comfortably then they would have been able to. Many immigrants also come to America so that they are able to save up enough money to return to their home country one day and purchase land or start a business. Despite any deportations, the extradited family member may wish for their family to continue to work toward this dream.

Other reasons that a legal or illegal immigrant will leave their family in the United States are emotionally based. It is a general opinion that families should not be separated, but many immigrants who came to the United States in search of a better life still want their family to be able to pursue that lifestyle. There are also legal reasons for a deported legal or illegal immigrant to want their family to remain in the United States. With family in the United States, it may be easier for the immigrant to regain entrance to the United States, either legally or illegally.

Deportations in the family present specific issues when considering children. If parents are served a divorce order, the issue of what to do with children can confound the strongest families. If the option to leave the child with a relative does not exist, many consider allowing the children to enter a facility catered to their need. This will often allow the child to stay in the country, a notion often considered if the deportation would result in returning to an unsafe area or country.

The reasons for the greater ease of access may vary, but usually the financial benefits of the family members who didn’t face deportations are a large factor. Higher income means a higher chance of being able to legally fight for a chance to return to the United States. However, higher income for illegal immigrants may also mean that they have more resources at their disposal to use to sneak back into the United States undetected.