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Report: Threat of deportation harms children

We all know that deportation and removal proceedings cause a lot of stress and anxiety to the people who are in jeopardy of being thrown out of the country, but the children of these individuals also suffer greatly, a new report from a non-profit public health research organization says.

Human Impact Partners (HIP) recently released a study showing that even just the threat of a possible deportation of a parent can cause children a lot of strife. The study showed that the threat of detention and deportation is causing mental and physical damage to children of families with one or more undocumented parents, which includes about 4.5 million children who are U.S. citizens.

The study found that many children with undocumented parents live in constant fear that their parent or parents will be detained and/or removed from the country. This can cause severe stress that results in damage to the mental and physical health of the children, sometimes resulting in long-term developmental consequences, HIP reported.

On a related note, the HIP report indicated that many parents who are undocumented immigrants are often reluctant to seek health care for themselves and their children for fear of deportation, which also poses a health risk. Additionally, many of these individuals and their families lack health insurance, which also makes routine health care out of reach in many situations.

When a parent is actually deported from the country, it can also cause many problems for the children involved. According to HIP, more than 600,000 children who are U.S. citizens have had a parent deported from the country, including more than 150,000 U.S.-citizen children in the past year alone. The hope is that this report will help shed light on this important issue, which is often overlooked during the immigration policy debate, HIP’s co-director said.

Source: Bay State Banner, “Fear of deportation causes children of undocumented to suffer more stress, anxiety and other health problems,” Anna Challet, June 19, 2013

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