Migrants’ Kids Missing Out

Sergio Bustos and Daniel Gonzalez, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), Feb. 8

Arizona was among 13 states nationwide whose population of kids with immigrant parents grew by more than 80 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to an Urban Institute study to be released today. Only 10 other states had higher growth rates.

The study paints an illuminating portrait of millions of young children of immigrants—a group often overlooked by researchers and policy makers—who may be eligible for a variety of public services.

Randy Capps, the study’s lead researcher at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., said the high percentage of undocumented immigrant parents raises serious public policy issues.

“These children may be eligible for a host of public benefits like food stamps and health insurance, but their parents may be too afraid of applying for them out of fear of being deported,” Capps said.

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The study’s authors, using 2000 Census data, found that more than one in five young children under age 6, about 22 percent, live with at least one foreign-born parent. That translates to 5.1 million children nationwide.

The authors also found that an overwhelming majority of these children, about 93 percent, are U.S. citizens, but a significant percentage of their parents, 30 percent, live illegally in the country.

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