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Unauthorized Immigrant Parents and their Children’s Development: A Summary of the Evidence and Implications for Public Policy. Hirokazu Yoshikawa Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development New York University

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Unauthorized Immigrant Parents and their Children’s Development: A Summary of the Evidence and Implications for Public Policy

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

New York University

U.S. House of Representatives Hearing on “Immigration Policies’ Effects on Women and Children”

2226 Rayburn

May 29, 2014

source
Source
  • Yoshikawa, H., Kholoptseva, J., & Suárez-Orozco, C.S. (2013). The role of public policies and community-based organizations in the developmental consequences of parent undocumented status. Social Policy Reports of the Society for Research in Child Development, 27(3), 1-24.
introduction
Introduction
  • Of 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.: many parents
  • Over 5.5 million children with at least one unauthorized parent (Passel & Cohn, 2011)
  • Roughly 80% of these are U.S. citizens (Passel & Cohn, 2009)
  • How do these children and their parents fare?
  • What are the implications when considering policy options from the standpoint of children’s development and parent well-being?
effects of parent unauthorized status on children and youth
Effects of parent unauthorized status on children and youth
  • Evidence of risk to children, above and beyond socioeconomic correlates of unauthorized status:
  • Lower early cognitive skills (Yoshikawa, 2011)
  • In middle childhood, lower levels of positive development (Brabeck& Xu, 2010; Ortega et al., 2009)
  • In adolescence, higher anxiety and depressive symptoms (Potochnick & Perreira, 2010)
  • By young adulthood – 1.25 to 1.50 fewer years of schooling (Leach et al., 2011)
  • Removal proceedings’ effects on child behavior, school attendance and mental health (Chaudry et al., 2010)
effects on parents
Effects on Parents
  • Removal proceedings and associated family experiences (Parent-child separation; income loss; parent mental health; Chaudry et al.; Suarez-Orozco & Hernandez, 2012)
  • Lower access to means-tested programs for U.S. citizen children (Capps & Fortuny, 2006)
  • Very high rates of wages below legal minimum (30%-40% in Bernhardt et al., 2009; Yoshikawa, 2011)
  • Hardship and Parent psychological distress (Yoshikawa, 2011)
  • Awareness of own unauthorized status and associated barriers (Gonzales, 2011)
  • Blocked education and employment (Gonzales, 2011)
policies and their implications for children
Policies and their Implications for Children
  • Directly modifying unauthorized status:
  • Pathway to citizenship
  • DACA and DREAM Act – focus on young and college-ready excludes many parents due to age limit and those not participating in educational activities / programs
  • Temporary worker programs – if without Social Security number access, excludes EITC receipt and its benefits for children (Dahl & Lochner, 2009)
  • Policies Improving Workplace Conditions:
  • Worker legalization + verification vs verification alone
  • Reducing key risks of wage violations and wage stagnation (minimum wage and its enforcement)
policies and their implications for children1
Policies and their Implications for Children
  • Policies Modifying Enforcement Practices
  • Prosecutorial discretion and consideration of parents under family and community ties provisions
  • Reducing unnecessary detainment and associated parent-child separation
  • Policies Providing Universal Access to Early Education
  • Expansion of non-means-tested universal pre-K, which benefits children’s cognitive development (only 8 out of 39 states currently providing non-means-tested preK)
in closing
In Closing
  • Policy aspects that may benefit children’s development:
  • Full pathway to citizenship (with access, e.g., to Social Security numbers and the EITC)
  • Application to all unauthorized, including older parents and those not participating in education / least college-ready
  • Worker legalization + employee verification integrated
  • Reducing barriers to enrolling citizen children in supports that aid their development