Over five million children in the United States have a parent who is undocumented or living with precarious status like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and nearly one million children growing up in the U.S. are undocumented.
“Congress has never been closer to creating a path to citizenship, something so desperately needed to bring a measure of stability to children in immigrant families,” said Wendy Cervantes, director of immigration and immigrant families at the Center for Law and Social Policy. “Bills already passed the House with bipartisan support. Now, the Senate has advanced the ball. There is still a long way to go, but Congress must complete its mission and finally deliver on these immigration reforms that have been under consideration for more than twenty years. The health and wellbeing of more than five million children are at stake.”
Decades of research show that the toxic stress of a parent’s unstable immigration status harms children physically and mentally. As one Ohio mother explained, following immigration raids in her community, “what hurts you as a child stays with you all your life.”
Miriam Abaya, Senior Director for Immigration and Children’s Rights at First Focus Campaign for Children said: “Creating a path to citizenship not only spares millions of children the trauma and uncertainty of family separation but opens economic pathways that pay long-term dividends for them and for the country. As we move toward economic recovery from the pandemic, it is critical we ensure immigrants and their families are not left behind. Citizenship and the opportunities it creates for children’s physical health, educational outcomes, and adult income offer a win for kids and a win for the nation.”
- “A Pathway to Citizenship is Essential for Children to Thrive” (CTAN)
- Federal Transition Priorities to Defend and Support America’s Children in Immigrant Families (CTAN)
- Children and Youth Groups Letter to Congress on Path to Citizenship (CTAN)
The Children Thrive Action Network (CTAN) is a group of national, state, and local organizations working to defend and support children in mixed-status immigrant families. Organizations committed to this mission can join the network here.
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