According to the Pew Hispanic Center, “at least 9 million people are in ‘mixed-status’ families that include at least one unauthorized adult and at least one U.S.-born child. This makes up 54 percent of the 16.6 million people in families with at least one unauthorized immigrant. There are 400,000 unauthorized immigrant children in such families who have U.S.-born siblings.” Clearly, millions of U.S. citizen children in the United States whose parents are undocumented potentially live with the daily anxiety over the potential separation of their families. Indeed, their formative years are “saturated with fear – fear that the people they love and depend on will be arrested and taken away from them at any moment without warning,” describes Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund. Edelman adds that “many of these children were born here and are U.S. citizens. But under current immigration policy, their families can be torn apart with an arrest and deportation with little regard for their well-being or futures.” A recent study explored the situation of 4.5 million U.S. citizen children who are in mixed-status families, where their parents and, in some cases, siblings are undocumented. The report found that, in 2012 alone, 150,000 children have been separated from one or both parents because of current immigration policies, which can have negative effects on the children’s behavioral and mental health and educational learning environment. If current policies do not change, more than 153,000 U.S. citizen children could have a parent taken away from them each year. That could lead to more children living in a household with poor health and nutrition because of a parent’s detention or deportation.
How does living in a mixed-status family affect a child?
In what ways should immigration reform address mixed-status families?
How does the legislation that the 113th Congress has already proposed impact mixed-status families?