IPL co-director Jens Hainmueller and fellow researcher Maria Rodriguez explain the link between immigration policy and public health in a new editorial.                                                                             

When the recent Senate negotiations over DACA ended at an impasse, many Americans may have concluded that immigration policy is doomed to endless political gridlock. But there’s more to the story. Given continued inaction at the federal level, state and local governments across the country are experimenting with policies recognizing the reality that U.S. citizen children are affected by their parents’ immigration status.

IPL research has found that these policies, which take an inclusive approach to unauthorized immigrants, can benefit both individual health and community in profound ways—not least by putting the children of immigrants on an equal footing with their fellow American citizens.

IPL co-director Jens Hainmueller and fellow researcher Maria Rodriguez, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University, explain the link between immigration policy and public health in an editorial at The Conversation:

The health of children born to unauthorized immigrants – who are U.S. citizens – is affected by local and federal immigration policies. There are as many as 4 million children who have at least one parent who is undocumented.

Along with colleagues at Stanford’s Immigration Policy Lab and Oregon Health & Science University, we measure the impact of immigration policy on the health of individuals and communities. Our research reveals the public health benefits of laws that make it easier for unauthorized immigrants to integrate into society.

An Obama-era policy that temporarily shielded some Dreamers from deportation, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, offers a a dramatic example of how this has worked at the federal level. […]

[Our] findings suggest that in the absence of protections included in DACA, children inherit the stress and anxiety of their parents’ lives without legal status. Mental illness in childhood is associated with a cascade of long-term challenges: struggles in school, limited job prospects, chronic health problems and substance abuse. Child and adolescent mental health is also a growing concern among medical professionals. Up to 1 in 5 children and adolescents experience mental disorder in a given year, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Our study’s findings identify the critical role immigration policy may play in this growing problem.

Read the whole piece here.