United States immigration law and procedure frequently ignore the plight

of children directly affected by immigration proceedings. This ignorance

means decision-makers often lack the discretion to protect a child from

persecution by halting the deportation of a parent, while parents must

choose between abandoning their children in a foreign land and risking

the torture of their children. United States immigration law

systematically fails to consider the best interests of children directly

affected by immigration proceedings. This failure has resulted in a split

among the federal circuit courts of appeals regarding whether the

persecution a child faces may be used to halt the deportation of a parent.

The omission of a "best interests of the child" approach in immigration

law and procedure for children who are accompanied by a parent fails to

protect foreign national and United States citizen children. Models for

eliminating these protection failures can be found in United States child

welfare law and procedure, international law, and the immigration law of

other nations, such as Canada. Building from these models, the United

States must implement and give substantial weight to the best interests of

directly affected children in its immigration law and procedure.