Deported to Disappeared

Published on October 14th, 2011

Ed Pilkington of The Guardian UK in his article, "Alabama parents prepare for the worst: Separation from their kids," (10/12/11) laments the separation of parents from their children due to Alabama's newly-enacted illegal immigration legislation.  He refers to the law as "draconian immigration law" while the National Law Immigration Center's Linton Joaquin calls it a "human rights issue."

In response to the law, a collection of lawyers have formed a group called Appleseed reports that they have drawn up more than 200 power of attorney forms, in Tuscaloosa alone, for parents seeking to protect their children should the parents be deported.

Ed recounts the dilemma of Trini, an illegal alien living in Alabama stated that she drew up the power of attorney papers for her two sons in case she is one day 'disappeared.'  She goes on to state, "I'm afraid I could disappear without anyone knowing what's happened to me…I don't speak English well, so maybe the police won't understand me and who knows what would happen to me in jail."

Olivia Turner of the ACLU's Alabama branch is already floating the terminology when she states, "Parents fear they are going to be picked up under the new laws and immediately deported"–in essence, they will be 'disappeared.'

Out of curiosity, I perused the internet to see where the nomenclature of 'disappeared' was substituted for 'deported' when used in the context of separation of families.  Here is what I've found:

Federal program leaves some local immigrants in danger of deportation, 8/14/10

Seth Freed Wessler: Anti-Immigrant Legislation Spreading in States, 3/4/11

"Disappearing Parents" report details separation of parents and children resulting from immigration enforcement, 5/05/2011

Immigration system splits families: When immigration laws detain a person, entire family suffers, 5/18/11

Disappearing parents: A Report on Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System

Latino Children Disappear From Alabama Schools, 9/30/11

For those who desire the enforcement of our immigration laws, be on the lookout (BOLO) for the use of the term 'disappeared' as the anti-enforcement advocates seek to, again, cloak the argument in hopes of distracting the reader from the foundational fact that the parent placed the child in this situation by entering or staying in the US in violation of our immigration laws.

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