Aug 31, 2017

Immigrant kids’ mental health increases when moms aren't threatened with deportation

Associated Press

The mental health and wellbeing of children of unauthorized immigrant parents increases by as much as 50% when their mothers are protected and not threatened with deportation, new research shows.

Why it matters: The study in the journal Science has important implications in the political debate in the Trump White House and Congress about whether to eliminate or expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program created by President Obama to protect children of illegal immigrants. DACA currently offers temporary protection from deportation to roughly 750,000 children brought to the U.S. as children. There are 11 million unauthorized immigrants in America who are also parents to 4 million children who are U.S. citizens by birth.

How they did it: The researchers analyzed Medicaid claims data from Oregon, and matched that data with DACA eligibility among mothers on either side of a moment in time that identified them as legal or illegal immigrants. Immigrant mothers born after June 15, 1981, were granted status while those born before that date were not.

What it showed: The data showed that changes in parents' immigration status substantially impacted the mental well-being of their children. Broadly speaking, children of mothers who were no longer threatened with deportation had far fewer mental health problems. Conversely, children of mothers who were uncertain of their deportation status were more likely to suffer from adjustment and anxiety disorders. For example, "...mothers' DACA eligibility reduced adjustment and anxiety disorder diagnoses in their children by 4.3 percentage points from a baseline rate of 7.9% among children of ineligible mothers at the threshold," the authors wrote.

What's needed: The researchers say their approach using Medicaid records addresses the challenges of collecting data from unauthorized people and should be used in further studies in other states to fully assess the mental health impacts of immigration policies.

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

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Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.