Curriculum Develop in Learning Settings Research Paper

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Social Problem in a Family Context

Select a social problem, disorder, or condition that affects family dynamics.

Family Separation due to Deportation

In the introduction describe the problem, its etiology, and effects on the family system.

Problem and Etiology

Innumerable children experience the trauma of separation from their families (parents), owing to deportation. For many years, no attention has been paid to their suffering or their demands. However, of late, a glimmer of hope can be seen for such families, on account of President Obama's precise, direct position with regard to this major issue. Therefore, now is the opportune moment to broach this issue and assist researchers in making these displaced people's voices heard. Migrants from different parts of the globe are lured to the U.S. where they hope for a secure future and improved life. A number of families and individuals risk much, including their lives, for acquiring passage into the nation. Authorities only have an estimation of illegal migrants within the nation, as it is hard to maintain a precise record of them. According to official projections, 11.2 million illegal immigrants reside in the U.S. (Passel & Cohn, 2011). As per a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report, countless illegal migrants are deported per annum (Sanchez, 2011). This process of removal varies, and may take place within weeks, or even be dragged for years. About 50% of detained illegal migrants voluntarily leave the nation within a few weeks of their detention, while the rest remain in INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) custody and are imprisoned in DHS facilities, where they may be stuck for months, or even years. Individuals who strive to remain and fight for delaying deportation and changing their circumstances are typically those having families (particularly children) in the U.S. (Nazarian, 2014).

A majority of illegal immigrants in the U.S. have families, with children born in the U.S. (Gonzalez, 2012). In the first half of 2011, governmental authorities deported no less than 46,000 illegal immigrants with America-born kids; a further 21,860 weren't deported, but left the nation when asked to leave (Gonzales, 2012). Enhanced deportation activity led to over 5,100 children being left to foster care; in another 5 years, this figure is expected to increase threefold (Sanchez, 2011; Applied Research Center, 2011).


DHS statistics of 2008 report deportation of 358,886 foreign migrants in the same year; moreover, more than a million families, since the year 1997, have suffered separation on account of deportation. This figure is alarming, as family division adversely impacts on the emotional health as well as financial condition of families. Deportation, specifically, can significantly disrupt the familismo of Latino families. Familismo implies the attitudes, family structures, and behaviors that operate in an extended family (Gonzalez & Consoli, 2012). Numerous studies prove that Latino individuals who sensed support or belongingness seemed more resilient compared to Latinos who experienced lesser belongingness. Other research works have discovered that familismo marks a source of motivation in times of adversity, improves academic effort, predicts decreased absence at school, and is linked to higher problem internalization and feelings of self-worth. The above findings reflect how valuable families are to Latinos and how belongingness and powerful familial bonds may be regarded as key factors in their everyday functioning. Additionally, familismo functions as a safeguard against risky behaviors like alcohol consumption, and also encourages improved resilience and academic performance. Overall, families were tormented by feelings of anxiety for the member deported, or fretted that people from the immigration office would return. Their emotions and their entire lives were affected. The general emotion prevalent among all such displaced families was sadness; individual members, however, were shown to have varying reactions, somewhat dependent on their age and existing environmental stressors or factors. Children, in general, showed a relatively greater amount of physical symptoms, whereas older family members experienced stress or anger (Gonzalez & Consoli, 2012).

Psychological Effects of Separation

Cleveland, Kronick, and Rousseau (2012), in an argument directed at the Standing Committee of the lower parliamentary house of Canada, asserted that separation of kids from parents, and sending them to foster care facilities, while their parents are detained is much more harmful to their psychological well-being than detention, since it leads to conditions of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), behavioral issues, delays in development, and suicidal ideation in the short- as well as long- run. Kids of illegal immigrants are greatly disadvantaged, whether or not they experience the trauma of deportation of a member of their family (Gonzales, Fabrett, and Knight, 2009). These disadvantages may manifest themselves in various ways. Immense stress is wrought by the fear of division of the family any time, and alters how children perceive their lives, interact with others, and define themselves (Gonzales, Fabrett, and Knight, 2009). A qualitative research performed in 2012 by Dreby on 80 households (110 kids and 91 parents) involved an interview of people hailing from families (with children) wherein a member had been deported. Dreby revealed that the common, main aspect witnessed among interviewed parents was the dread of being separated from their children; further, the threat of being deported profoundly affected most kids and altered their self-perception. A majority of kids reported chronic psychological trauma because of a parent's deportation, together with chronic anxiety because of the risk of deportation. They are wary of police as they relate police to separation and deportation (Nazarian, 2014).

Discuss the ways in which families cope or fail to cope with this problem. Include information related to race/ethnicity/social class, etc.

Only a small body of literature is available that deals with family separations on account of deportations, and its effects on children's education. Generally, immigration-connected separations among Latino families, in addition to their impact on youngsters have been examined in cases wherein parents voluntarily decide to migrate to the U.S., leaving their families (including children) behind. This pool of literature has recorded impacts of separation of child from mother, including mothers suffering severe depression, and destabilized bonding that subsequently lead to disruptions in important parenting systems. Other studies have revealed that child-parent separations, due to diverse reasons, disturb healthy familial processes. One research work on 385 teens hailing originally from Central America, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and China (Suarez-Orozco, Todorova, & Louie, 2002) reported that kids taken away from parents exhibited increased likelihood of developing symptoms of depression than kids who hadn't suffered any separation. Mitrani, Mena, Santisteban, and Muir (2008) discovered that Hispanic teens with acute behavioral issues (e.g., drug use) were separated from mothers for extended periods of time, because of their mothers having migrated to the U.S., leaving them in the hands of relatives. Carbonell (2005) investigated illegal migrants in her workplace setting and learnt that immigrants pay an emotional price -- PTSD, insomnia, paranoia, and recurrent nightmares -- when they decide to make a future for themselves in America. Immigration's impacts on poor Mexican-American migrant families and their kids may be lasting, characterized by chronic stressors and developmental problems that affect family relationships. The findings of one study with 143 participants revealed that Latino migrants anxious about getting deported face increased risks of suffering from negative health and emotional states, poor health status, and stress because of extra familial elements (Cavazos Rehg, Zayas, & Spitznagel, 2007). Research outcomes appeared to indicate that Latino migrants worried about deportation might limit availing themselves to healthcare facilities even when needed (Orozco & Dunlap, 2010).

Both migrant kids and kids left behind in native countries by immigrants in the U.S. represent a distinct vulnerable cluster. Parental migration can have devastating effects on children -- it is shown to threaten long-term development and health of Caribbean teens. Children impacted by migration encounter various challenges in connection with healthcare and education, and suffer multiple psychosocial problems as well. A number of children who are left behind are afflicted with depression, poor self-esteem causing behavioral issues, and heightened risk of low performance at school and interrupted schooling. A unique problem of immigrant kids is their inaccessibility of proper education and health facilities, particularly if they are illegal immigrants (Bakker, 2009). Another potential obstacle for them is birth registration, particularly for Haitians living outside of Haiti. Moreover, migrant kids and those left behind encounter greater risks of exploitation and abuse (child trafficking, child labor, and sexual abuse). As per a Health and Family Life Education initiative evaluation, 18% of respondents (average age= 14.7 years) were forced into sexual activity. Likelihood of abuse increases considerably when children lose parental protection. Migrating parents' gender, on the other hand, has different familial and child safety-related impacts, which can be understood through Caribbean societal gender roles. Abuse (whether in the form of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse) is likelier when the child's mother migrates to another nation (Bakker, 2009), whereas migration of the father typically ensures better protection of child, but may leave the family with scant finances. The responsibility of feeding the family generally falls on the spouse, mother, or sister -- the migrated male remits minimal funds…

Sources Used in Document:


Applied Research Center (2011). Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System. Retrieved on May 14, 2014 from

Bakker, C. (2009). The Impact of Migration on Children in the Caribbean. UNICEF Office for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss, vol. 1: Attachment. New York: Basic

Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. New York: Basic.

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