Fragile Families: Foster Care, Immigration, and Citizenship.
Glenn-Levin Rodriguez, Naomi.
University of Pennsylvania Press
418 Service Dr.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6097
Based on research conducted in the San Diego-Tijuana region between 2008 and 2012, this book tells the stories of children, parents, social workers, and legal actors enmeshed in the child welfare system, and sheds light on the particular challenges faced by children of detained and deported non-U.S. citizen parents who are simultaneously caught up in the immigration system in this border region. It begins with an exploration of the politics of worthiness and the boundaries of belonging, with a focus on the political relationship between the United States and Mexico in the context of anti-immigrant sentiment and legislation. Chapters 1 and 2 chart how the boundaries of citizenship and state responsibilities for minors are carved out through narratives, advocacy work and institutional processes that make only some children legible as deserving of state protection, and examine the impact of the “best interest” principle, poverty, and other forms of structural violence on discretionary decision-making processes. Chapter 3 explains the dual sets of obstacles and opportunities that arise at the junction of immigration enforcement and child welfare policy. Chapter 4 focuses on interactions among social workers, children, and families, and argues that the making and unmaking of families happens on an intimate, everyday scale where social workers are required to make decisions about child custody in the context of limited time, budgetary constraints, and lack of knowledge and protocol about how best to proceed in any particular case. Chapter 5 considers the perspectives of biological and foster parents embodied in the child welfare system while performing the everyday tasks of caring for and about their children. A conclusion calls for the further examination of gaps and fissures at the intersection of immigration and child welfare policy. Numerous references. (Author abstract modified)
child welfare services; child welfare agencies; undocumented immigrants; children of immigrants; deportation; political factors; policy formation; decision making; DEPORTATION