Mom's Minute: U.S. politics may cause stress for undocumented children
It is one of the most divisive political issues right now.
U.S. immigration policies have passionate supporters and ardent opponents, but those who study child health and welfare say there are a growing number of child immigrants caught in the middle; children who may suffer trauma as a result of the immigration process. Jessica Sanchez has more.
Sixteen-year-old Ana and her younger sister live each day in limbo. Ana and her parents are unauthorized immigrants; separately fleeing Guatemala then reuniting in this country. Ana's sister was born here and is a U.S. citizen.
“She was like, is our family going to get separated now? I did not know what to say to her basically, because what do you say to an 8-year-old who asks you that?" asked Ana.
A new study finds that there are an estimated 37,500 children who were granted refugee status last year. Also in 2016, an estimated 90,000 more undocumented minors arrived without formal refugee status. Many were sent to detention facilities.
David Murphey is director of the Child Trends Databank, which tracks and monitors issues that impact children. Family separation, economic worries and concern about increased violence against immigrants may lead to toxic conditions for kids.
Murphey says parents can support their children and help alleviate stress by maintaining routines and keeping an open dialogue with them. While this family waits on their status, Ana continues to work hard at school and set an example.
"It's really important for me to stay and make my parents proud and make them know that they came here for the right reasons,” said Ana.