Posted: Aug 7, 2008 06:00 PM CDT
The recent enforcement of strict immigration laws is dividing Panhandle families and some claim taxpayers are paying the price.
Local immigration specialists say dividing families with U.S. born children can lead to divorce, single parent households, or the need for foster families.
That in turn can affect a child's ability to function in school and to become a contributing member of society.
Today I visited with one Amarillo grandmother whose grandkids have been without their mother for six months, because she is not allowed to come back to the U.S.
With their mother barred from the U.S. Linda Ferrell says her two granddaughters have changed.
"She's four, she was very outgoing, she's totally quit talking, she doesn't smile, she doesn't want to eat," says Ferrell,"I've seen a huge change even in the little one who is 16 months. She's very clingy, doesn't understand what's going on. It's very heart-breaking."
And her absence is also hard on her husband.
Ferrell says, "We had no idea that she'd be going through this process that has be on for so long. He has a big financial burden trying to support him and the girls and trying to support her over there."
An immigration lawyer says he has made an appeal to the U.S. government over the current immigration laws that separate parents from their children but after two years he says he is still waiting to hear from them.