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What Effect Does Immigration Have on Children?

In June 2022, executives from major American companies that operate in the technology sector signed a letter addressed to the United States Secretary of Homeland Security. The gist of their message was related to migrant families and how government policies can have a long-term impact on their lives. Specifically, the executives of Amazon, Google, IBM, and Twitter made reference to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that didn’t succeed at protecting foreign children raised in the U.S. by undocumented parents.

America’s CHILDREN Act

Democratic lawmakers are trying to replace the DACA program with a new legislative package known as the America’s CHILDREN Act, which would give these undocumented minors legal protections past the age of 21 and address some other issues immigrant families face with regard to their children.

This proposal acknowledges the U.S. government has failed immigrant children in more than one aspect. For example, DACA has been characterized by self-deportations before recipients turn 21 because they feel their options are too limited. The U.S. certainly failed migrant children with the terrible family separation policy practiced during the Trump administration.

The ever-changing legal environment for immigrants can be confusing, so it’s a good idea to consult an experienced immigration attorney. San Diego families can rely on the lawyers at KS Visa Law to provide them with the most current information on family-based immigration.

UNICEF Research Findings

The authors of the America’s CHILDREN Act have reviewed research conducted by UNICEF on the issue of migrant children. To get an idea of how immigration affects these minors, let’s review the most common family immigration scenarios:

  • Children are left behind by parents who seek better economic opportunities
  • Children arrive in a foreign land with their parents
  • Desperate parents instruct their children to enter the U.S. on their own, essentially abandoning them at the border
  • Children return to their home countries after being deported with or without their parents

According to UNICEF, the first scenario is the least negative for children. As long as they have responsible guardians caring for them, they may be able to enjoy the benefits of cash remittances sent by their parents working in the U.S. Even though these children will always miss their parents, at least they’re able to enjoy some sense of stability.

Children who migrate with their parents or close relatives have the advantage of family unity, but this may be one of the few benefits. Immigrant families often face prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization. Naturally, children aren’t impervious to the stress of living as foreigners in a country where their status is heavily politicized.

Life in the U.S. for Immigrant Children

It could be argued that not all children who migrate to the U.S. with their families will necessarily face a rough life. Children who are able to stay with their families and aren’t exposed to extreme poverty have a good chance of developing in a healthy manner. In fact, many of the stories DACA recipients tell are centered on happy childhood periods that were made sweeter by well-meaning parents who never mentioned their undocumented status. The purpose of this obfuscation was to make children less aware of prejudice and marginalization during their formative years.

If you have questions about any aspect of family immigration, contact trusted attorneys who have vast experience with immigration services. In San Diego, CA, KS Visa Law is the firm to turn to when you need advice about immigration law and how it affects you and your family. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

May 2024