While we are deeply disappointed by yesterday’s initial decision by the Senate parliamentarian to exclude a pathway to citizenship from the budget reconciliation bill, we remain committed to the fight for immigration reform for millions of children and families in California and the nation. We expect and demand that Congress still move forward with developing a permanent pathway to citizenship, which is essential for California children to thrive. We will not be discouraged by this decision because there is too much at stake for children and families, including the safety and livelihood of more than 5 million children across the nation with immigrant parents. No child should have to live in fear of being separated from a parent. We will not rest until these children and families have the stability and peace of mind of full U.S. citizenship in the country that is their home.
A pathway to citizenship would address the harmful effects of immigration enforcement on children, including physical and mental health, success in school and economic stability. Fear of separation from their caregivers has serious long-term developmental impacts on children, and research has demonstrated that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms are significantly higher for children of detained and deported parents. A pathway to citizenship would alleviate the anxiety, fear and other mental health stressors related to being undocumented or having an undocumented parent.
A pathway to citizenship can also help fight child poverty. Over one in three children with an undocumented parent in California live in poverty—more than double the national child poverty rate. A path to citizenship would help boost a family’s economic stability and the nation’s, lifting over 51,000 children out of poverty in California.
California is home to more immigrants than any state in the nation. Over one million children in California have an undocumented parent. The Children’s Partnership supports policies that keep families together and children connected to the support and services they need to stay healthy. Yesterday’s decision will not deter our progress. There are multiple ways to fight for access to citizenship, and we stand with our advocacy partners moving forward alternate solutions. We will continue working to ensure we advance sound and compassionate immigration policies so that all children and families can thrive.
For immigrant parents and families looking for legal support and options in California, click here.