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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – Children whose parents are arrested in immigration raids face mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety and depression, according to a study released Wednesday. Researchers visited three cities where officials arrested 900 suspected illegal immigrants in workplace raids during the past year, causing 500 children to abruptly lose contact with their mother, father or both parents. That left them with a combination of unstable supervision, stress, emotional trauma and material needs that can lead to mental health disorders, according to the study. “Those children were born in America, and we forgot about their rights during the raids, because they were left parentless,” said Steve Joel, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools, which worked to get parents to keep their children in school after a December raid at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant. “This report takes the bizarre position that ICE is somehow responsible for family disruption caused by parents who make poor decisions,” Counts said. “Law enforcement agencies across the nation arrest people who have children every day. Everyone understands that parents are responsible for their actions and the resulting impact on their families.” Researchers in the study talked with about 30 parents and dozens of caregivers, religious leaders, school officials, lawyers, advocates and others at each site. Many teachers and mental- health professionals who talked with children and parents said they showed signs of various mental health problems. Alma Rollins, an interpreter in Grand Island who works in local courts, said children became very clingy after last year’s raid. “The kids are still here, but they are still suffering,” Rollins said. “(Parents) don’t know what they’re going to do with those kids.” The study found most children did have one parent to care for them, but that parent was often less accustomed to making decisions and, in many cases, couldn’t access the spouse’s money. According to ICE, agents arrested more than 4,000 people in workplace raids from October 2006 through September 2007 and 3,700 during the previous year. That’s up from fewer than 500 arrests in 2002 and 2003. “There are 5 million children with at least one undocumented parent,” said Randy Capps, one of the study’s co-authors. “There are a lot more children … at risk of consequences in the future if these work-site raids are ongoing.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The study was commissioned by The National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil-rights organization, and conducted by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. Besides Grand Island, the researchers visited Greeley, Colo., where another Swift & Co. meatpacking plant was raided in December, and New Bedford, Mass., where more than 360 workers were arrested in February at the Michael Bianco leather factory. The researchers said Congress should take more control over how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials handle workplace raids, and ICE should have a consistent policy about releasing arrested parents to minimize harm to their children. According to 2006 Pew Hispanic Center estimates, there are 3.1 million children who are U.S. citizens living with at least one illegal-immigrant parent. ICE spokesman Tim Counts said the agency goes above and beyond others in law enforcement to help parents ensure their children are cared for.