Parenting Is Hard, But Even Harder For These 3 Groups of People

Anyone who has ever been a parent knows one true fact: raising kids is very, very difficult. Sure, there is love and joy and happiness, but mostly it’s an intense amount of work, frustration and expense. Still, we love our children and wouldn’t trade them for anything in that world, which makes all the sacrifice worth it. Yet there are some parents out there that find that even the basic pain and heartache of parenting their children is nothing in comparison to the extra burdens society is throwing in their way as well.

For immigrant parents, it’s often the hope of a better life for their family that brings them to the country. That hope is weighed against the risks they face coming to the United States, the biggest of which is being separated from their own children in the process. Al Jazeera looks at the plight of undocumented mothers in the country, deported away from their children, and the heartache that comes with the decision of whether to leave their children behind in a new life or bring them to what is essentially a foreign country for them just to keep the family together.

According to the report, some 5 million U.S. children have at least one undocumented parent. Should the parent be caught up in some sort of minor charge, deportation could mean a severing of the child from his or her parent, and instances of forced fostering or adoption even while the parent is still officially in the country hoping for a legal solution.

Losing children is a shockingly easy thing to have happen to a parent, and immigration issues aren’t solely to blame. A new investigation by ProPublica shows that parents who have had mental illness issues are having their children removed as a preventative measure, despite the parent not actually putting his or her child in any harm.

“Under a concept sometimes called ‘predictive neglect,’ Missouri and about 30 other states allow courts to terminate a parent’s connection to a child if authorities conclude a mother or father has a mental illness that renders them incapable of safely raising the child,” writes Seth Freed Wessler. “Officials usually must present evidence that the illness poses a threat. Most cases involve significant mental illness, not run-of-the-mill depression or anxiety. Yet there need be no evidence of actual harm or neglect, just a conclusion that there is a risk of it.”

That a person doesn’t have to actually cause harm, just have an illness that might lead to it, opens up an enormous opportunity for courts to decide to remove children with no set standard to adhere to, just one step above arbitrarily removing children from “flawed” parents to give to “good” parents to raise instead.

It’s an alarming precedent, especially as the definition of “good” varies so drastically. In the U.K., a Slovak Roma Catholic couple is suing the court for placing their children in an adoption with a same sex couple, saying that allowing them to be raised in by same sex parents goes against their religious beliefs since, “The children will not be able to be brought up in the Catholic faith because of the conflicts between Catholicism and homosexuality.” This is apparently harmful to their children, unlike the neglect and beatings that the birth parents administered that caused the court to terminate their parental rights.

Who is more likely to harm their child? The undocumented parent hoping for a new life with more opportunities for their family? The parent with a mental illness that hasn’t manifested into any dangerous, harmful acts against the child and is being monitored by medical professionals? Or the same sex couple who love each other and want to raise a family of their own?

Why are we working so hard to make it even more difficult for these people to parent?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

216 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven26 days ago

thanks for the article.

Francesca A-S
Past Member 1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

federico bortoletto

Grazie per la condivisione.

Melissa Olson
Melissa Olson1 years ago

I totally agree! I've not only witnessed this BS happening to others, in our community, but our family is now going through court proceedings as County Social Workers feel my daughter's fiancee is palpably unfit cuz he is slower & struggles with some things, but by no means does that make him a bad parent. They have already taken 2 of their girls & trying to take new baby now although he has not done anything to his kids. Tell me how I can help. My email is maolson1@clearwire.net. Thank You, Melissa Olson

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

Joseph B., you are exactly right! Try going into Mexico illegally, you will end up in jail!

Joseph B.
Joseph B.1 years ago

Well, Undocumented immigrants is a concocted replacement phrase for ILLEGAL aliens- Those not here legally having broken our immigration laws something not tolerated in Mexico!
Just like the term "Gay" replaced the term "homosexual" to make it more palatable to bleeding heart liberals so the term illegal alien was changed to undocumented immigrants which does not change the fact they are lawbreakers and as such, We rightly should make it more difficult to be here!
For if our immigration laws mean nothing, Then all US law means nothing!

Elizabeth Nipper
Beth Nipper1 years ago

ty.

ScoTT S.
ScoTT S.1 years ago

Marilyn, unfortunately, fines only affect those who are CAUGHT doing it. Fines work for those who THINK they won't get caught but do something obvious or stupid that gets them caught. Fines fail because they breed smarter criminals. That means that enforcement needs to be smarter, which in turn breeds the next level of smarter criminals, which must breed the next level of better enforcement, until one fails to keep up, and you know which one that will be.

I do not agree that a majority of illegals are intending to skirt the law. Those that do are the ones that get publicized. While anecdotes are not data, about 50 years ago, two Cuban cartoonists fled just before Castro took over. Their cartoons were rather critical of him, and had they stayed, they likely would have been killed. They spoke no English, yet, were hired by a magazine almost immediately, and drew cartoons for that magazine for nearly 50 years, and curiously all of their cartoons had no words. I am referring to Antonio Prohias (Spy vs Spy) and Sergio Argones (margin cartoons) of Mad Magazine. I know you feel a majority are coming here and are here to take advantage. I disagree.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Nikolas K.
Nikolas K.1 years ago

Did god say go forth and multiply or did he say?
Go forth but stay where you were born and do not immigrate because your an illegal alien to the place as I did not create you all equal but like a small group you have taken my name in vain and said that i chose you to be my chosen people and the rest are aliens only you can travel the planet freely without question.
I would be interested in your responses as it will tell God the true state of yourself and as he is trying to perfect creation though us Im sure he would be interested like me to hear.
I'm not religious, but I do know I'm a spiritual being that's part of everyone in this universe and i'm here to have a human experience to wake up.