The U.S. Supreme Court has set out a constitutional framework under which termination-of-parental-rights cases must be adjudicated in state courts. In all cases, this framework requires proof of parental unfitness by clear and convincing evidence before parental rights can be terminated, even when the parents in question are illegal immigrants. Despite this framework, in a rash of recently published cases, courts have terminated the parental rights of illegal immigrant parents without regard for these requirements. Those who work closely with immigrants fear that the published instances are merely the tip of the iceberg. This Note aims to shed light on this problem by discussing instances of such termination and identifying reasons that may have led courts to terminate parental rights outside of the constitutional framework. After identifying two primary reasons cultural bias against immigrants and prison conditions that render maintaining parent-child relationships difficult this Note suggests possible legislative changes that may decrease the number of such terminations.
C. Elizabeth Hall,
Where Are My Children … and My Rights? Parental Rights Termination as a Consequence of Deportation,
60 Duke Law Journal
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol60/iss6/4