US: Drug Deportations Tearing Families Apart

Thousands of families in the United States have been torn apart in recent years by detention and deportation for drug offenses. Disproportionately harsh laws and policies relating to drug offenses can lead to deportation for lawful permanent residents and unauthorized immigrants alike.

The US regularly places legal residents and other immigrants with strong ties to US families into deportation proceedings for drug offenses. Often, those offenses are decades old or so minor they resulted in little or no prison time. Deportations after convictions for drug possession in particular have spiked, increasing 43 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to US government data obtained by Human Rights Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request.