Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Unauthorized Immigrant Parents and Their Children’s Development: A Summary of the Evidence

"US policy debates about unauthorized immigrants have tended, until recently, to focus on adults and adolescents. Yet several million children, a majority of them born in the United States, would be affected by legalization and feel the effects of current immigration enforcement because they have an unauthorized immigrant parent. According to recent estimates, 5.5 million children in the United States — all but 1 million of them US-born — reside with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent. 

Given that they constitute nearly one-third of all children with immigrant parents and about 8 percent of all US children, their well-being holds important implications for US society. Yet there has been little research on how a parent’s unauthorized status affects child development, in large measure because of the difficulty in identifying and surveying unauthorized parents.

In a new Migration Policy Institute report