Protecting U.S.-Citizen Children Whose Central American Parents Have Temporary Protected Status

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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was recently terminated for Central American residents in the United States. The TPS recipients who have not already obtained an alternative form of legal immigration authorization will soon be subject to detention and deportation. As a result, it is estimated that thousands of children, many of whom are U.S. citizens—246,200 from El Salvador and Honduras alone—will be at risk for experiencing short- and long-term psychological and health consequences owing to the impending detention and/or deportation of their parents. The United States and the global community must protect these children. Neglecting to promote protection for the offspring of TPS recipients contradicts the premises of the U.S. Constitution, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC; United Nations General Assembly, 1989), and the United Nations’ recent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; United Nations General Assembly, 2015). Our nation’s laws and immigration policies must interrupt cycles of trauma and establish sustainable healthy trajectories across the life span for the well-being of all children. In light of the extensive evidence on harmful effects of parent–child separation and intergenerational trauma, this policy brief recommends reaffirming commitment to maintenance of the family unit, providing a path to authorized immigration status for TPS parents, and using a “trauma and developmentally informed lens” when creating policies that involve children.

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Increasing xenophobia may have negative impacts on how Latin American-origin adolescents in the U.S. perceive the future for themselves and their families. Among 340 Latin American-origin 15- to 18-year-olds surveyed in late 2018 through early 2019, this study used phenomenographic content analysis to describe how youth feel about the future for themselves and their family and how these perceptions vary by parent residency status. A theme of negative feelings about the future characterized 75% of responses and represented three sub-themes: fear and worry; blocked opportunities to success; and discrimination. The theme of positive feelings characterized remaining responses with subthemes including confident security; a qualified sense of security; and hope. Compared to adolescents with citizen parents, those with non-citizen parents reported more fear and worry and less confident security.
This chapter examines cultural and linguistic issues that may arise when assessing trauma from a forensic context. This chapter begins by describing the immigration and migrant influx in recent years, the different immigration experiences, and the potential traumas likely to emerge in that context. The chapter goes on to describe important terms and how they relate to the immigrant experience. The subject of culture, its role in assessment, potential dangers of not being attuned to culture, and culture-bound syndromes are explored. Another perspective explored is that of communication, both verbal and nonverbal, and how it affects the content, emotion, and personality assessed. This chapter concludes with an exploration of testing issues that may occur when assessing trauma in a bicultural or bilingual individual.
The current study examines residency status differences in US Latino/a parents’ perceptions of how recent immigration actions and news have shaped their lives. Focus group data were collected during the fall of 2017 from 50 Central American parents of adolescents. Focus groups were homogenous with respect to one of four residency statuses: undocumented, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), permanent resident, and citizen. Three themes characterized parents’ perceptions: (a) worry and concern, (b) behavior change, and (c) daily life adversities. Within each theme, parents’ experiences included those that were universal across all residency status groups as well as those specific to residency status. Regardless of residency status, parents felt that President Trump’s rhetoric had led to heightened levels of fear among Latino/as, described reducing travel or plans to travel, and reported increases in discrimination against Latino/as. Other experiences of immigration actions and news varied depending upon parents’ residency status.
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Life under threat of deportation What is the effect on a child of having parents who are at risk of deportation as unauthorized immigrants? Hainmueller et al. developed a quasi-experimental protocol to address this complicated question. They selected mothers who had birthdates either just before or just after the cutoff for the United States' Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Children whose mothers were protected from deportation by DACA had 50% fewer diagnoses of adjustment and anxiety disorder than children with mothers whose birthdates, by coincidence, preceded the cutoff and who thus were not protected. Science , this issue p. 1041
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Objective: This study examines posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and psychological distress among 91 Latino U.S.-born children (ages 6 to 12), living in mixed-status families with a least 1 undocumented parent at risk for detention or deportation. Method: Multiagent (child, parent, teacher, clinician) and standardized assessments were conducted at baseline to assess for child trauma and psychological distress. Results: Analyses indicate that PTSD symptoms as reported by parent were significantly higher for children of detained and deported parents compared to citizen children whose parents were either legal permanent residents or undocumented without prior contact with immigration enforcement. Similarly, findings revealed differences in child internalizing problems associated with parental detention and deportation as reported by parent as well as differences in overall child functioning as reported by clinician. In addition, teachers reported higher externalizing for children with more exposure to PTEs. Conclusions: These findings lend support to a reconsideration and revision of immigration enforcement practices to take into consideration the best interest of Latino citizen children. Trauma-informed assessments and interventions are recommended for this special population. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Unprecedented gang violence in El Salvador places children and their families at high risk for experiencing multiple traumas. The influence of lifetime exposure to community violence on parenting practices and parent–child relationships among Salvadoran parents was examined using a mixed-methods approach. Thirty-six parents and primary caregivers of elementary school children living in urban areas of El Salvador participated in 4 focus groups and completed the Los Angeles Community Violence Checklist (LACVC). All participants reported direct exposure or witnessing at least ≥2 violent events (M = 6; SD = 2.58), indicating substantial direct and indirect lifetime exposure to violence. Predominant themes in the group discussions included parents’ experiences with the past civil war, the unpredictable nature of current community violence and its negative effects on children and parent–child relationships, as well as the adaptive and maladaptive parenting practices employed to raise their children in violent contexts. Parents also underscored the need for professional psychological support for their children and positive parenting education. Possible implications for clinical practice with Central American parents living in El Salvador and in the United States are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
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Little is known about the impact of trauma in postconflict, low-income countries where people have survived multiple traumatic experiences. To establish the prevalence rates of and risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 4 postconflict, low-income countries. Epidemiological survey conducted between 1997 and 1999 among survivors of war or mass violence (aged >/=16 years) who were randomly selected from community populations in Algeria (n = 653), Cambodia (n = 610), Ethiopia (n = 1200), and Gaza (n = 585). Prevalence rates of PTSD, assessed using the PTSD module of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 2.1 and evaluated in relation to traumatic events, assessed using an adapted version of the Life Events and Social History Questionnaire. The prevalence rate of assessed PTSD was 37.4% in Algeria, 28.4% in Cambodia, 15.8% in Ethiopia, and 17.8% in Gaza. Conflict-related trauma after age 12 years was the only risk factor for PTSD that was present in all 4 samples. Torture was a risk factor in all samples except Cambodia. Psychiatric history and current illness were risk factors in Cambodia (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-5.4 and adjusted OR,1.6; 95% CI, 1.0-2.7, respectively) and Ethiopia (adjusted OR, 3.9; 95% CI, 2.0-7.4 and adjusted OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.7, respectively). Poor quality of camp was associated with PTSD in Algeria (adjusted OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.3-2.5) and in Gaza (adjusted OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.8). Daily hassles were associated with PTSD in Algeria (adjusted OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1-2.4). Youth domestic stress, death or separation in the family, and alcohol abuse in parents were associated with PTSD in Cambodia (adjusted OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.6; adjusted OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.8; and adjusted OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.4, respectively). Using the same assessment methods, a wide range of rates of symptoms of PTSD were found among 4 low-income populations who have experienced war, conflict, or mass violence. We identified specific patterns of risk factors per country. Our findings indicate the importance of contextual differences in the study of traumatic stress and human rights violations.
Executive Summary ¹ This report presents detailed statistical information on the US Temporary Protected Status (TPS) populations from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. TPS can be granted to noncitizens from designated nations who are unable to return to their countries because of armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. In January 2017, an estimated 325,000 migrants from 13 TPS-designated countries resided in the United States. This statistical portrait of TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti reveals hardworking populations with strong family and other ties to the United States. In addition, high percentages have lived in the United States for 20 years or more, arrived as children, and have US citizen children. The paper finds that: • The labor force participation rate of the TPS population from the three nations ranges from 81 to 88 percent, which is well above the rate for the total US population (63 percent) and the foreign-born population (66 percent). • The five leading industries in which TPS beneficiaries from these countries work are: construction (51,700), restaurants and other food services (32,400), landscaping services (15,800), child day care services (10,000), and grocery stores (9,200). • TPS recipients from these countries live in 206,000 households: 61,000 of these households (about 30 percent) have mortgages. • About 68,000, or 22 percent, of the TPS population from these nations arrived as children under the age of 16.
In March of 2017, officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security publicly acknowledged a proposed policy of forced separation of unauthorized migrant children from their parents. Conceived as a deterrent to other families that might yet contemplate crossing the U.S. southern border, the proposal sought to formalize and expand on similar practices of deterrence already implemented on a more ad hoc basis. By way of a brief examination of the internal logics and implications of deterrence thinking in this context and more broadly, fundamental incompatibilities with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child are revealed. Although the U.S. has not ratified the Convention, I argue that it is nonetheless beholden to a robust and binding customary norm of international law obliging all states to respect its key provisions, including rights that would prohibit the separation of children from their parents as a preemptive measure to deter unauthorized migration.
Purpose: U.S. Latino parents of adolescents face unprecedented threats to family stability and well-being due to rapid and far-reaching transformations in U.S. immigration policy. Methods: Two hundred thirteen Latino parents of adolescents were recruited from community settings in a suburb of a large mid-Atlantic city to complete surveys assessing parents' psychological distress and responses to immigration actions and news. Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to describe the prevalence of parents' responses to immigration news and actions across diverse residency statuses. Multiple logistic regression models examined associations between immigration-related impacts and the odds of a parent's high psychological distress. Results: Permanent residents, temporary protected status, and undocumented parents reported significantly more negative immigration impacts on psychological states than U.S. citizens. Parents reporting frequent negative immigration-related impacts had a significantly higher likelihood of high psychological distress than did other parents, and these associations were maintained even when accounting for parents' residency status, gender, education, and experience with deportation or detention. The odds of a parent reporting high psychological distress due to negative immigration impacts ranged from 2.2 (p < .05) to 10.4 (p < .001). Conclusions: This is one of the first empirical accounts of how recent immigration policy changes and news have impacted the lives of Latino families raising adolescent children. Harmful impacts were manifest across a range of parent concerns and behaviors and are strong correlates of psychological distress. Findings suggest a need to consider pathways to citizenship for Latina/o parents so that these parents, many of whom are legal residents, may effectively care for their children.
In the United States, 5.3 million children and adolescents are growing up either with unauthorized status or with at least one parent who has that status. Until recently, little in the way of research has informed federal, state, and local policy debates related to unauthorized status (e.g., border enforcement, deportation, and a pathway to citizenship) although these issues have important implications for youth development. This statement is a brief summary of the research evidence on multiple domains of development that may be affected by the child or parent's unauthorized status. We also describe the contextual and psychological mechanisms that may link this status to developmental outcomes. We summarize a range of policies and practices that could reduce the developmental harm to children, youth, and their families stemming from this status. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for policy, practice, and research that are based on the evidence reviewed.
It is becoming increasingly evident that maternal exposure to adversity during pregnancy leads to life-long effects in offspring. While there appears to be some commonality in the effects of maternal stress on endocrine and behavioral outcomes in the first generation offspring, it is clear that effects are highly dependent on species, sex and age, as well as on the time in pregnancy when stress is experienced. Recent studies have identified that the effects of maternal stress are not confined to the first generation and that they can extend over multiple generations. These effects are also evident in humans. While our understanding of the potential mechanisms by which transgenerational programming of the stress response occurs remain largely undetermined, recent studies have begun to identify potential mechanisms of transfer. These include modified maternal adaptations to pregnancy, altered maternal behavior and transgenerational epigenetic programming. Such transgenerational programming of stress responses and pathologies has important societal consequences as it could provide a biological explanation for the generational persistence of human behaviors in populations exposed to adversity.
Few studies have examined how experiences associated with being an undocumented immigrant parent affects children's development. In this article, the authors apply social exclusion theory to examine how access to institutional resources that require identification may matter for parents and children in immigrant families. As hypothesized, groups with higher proportions of undocumented parents in New York City (e.g., Mexicans compared to Dominicans) reported lower levels of access to checking accounts, savings accounts, credit, and drivers' licenses. Lack of access to such resources, in turn, was associated with higher economic hardship and psychological distress among parents, and lower levels of cognitive ability in their 24-month-old children.
This study examined the relationship of parental trauma exposure and PTSD to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive and anxiety disorders in the adult offspring of Holocaust survivors. One hundred and thirty-five subjects (55 men and 80 women) were divided into three groups according to parental trauma exposure and PTSD: 60 subjects were offspring of Holocaust survivors who endorsed having at least one parent with PTSD, 33 were offspring of Holocaust survivors who reported having no parent with PTSD, and 42 were demographically similar subjects with no parental Holocaust exposure. All subjects underwent a comprehensive psychiatric interview in which information about lifetime psychiatric diagnoses and exposure to traumatic events was obtained. Subjects also completed a checklist based on the 17 DSM-IV symptoms of PTSD, to estimate the symptom severity of PTSD in their parents. A presumptive diagnosis of parental PTSD was assigned according to DSM-IV criteria. Forward and forced entry stepwise logistic regression analyses were used to determine the effects of parental exposure, parental PTSD, and the subject's own history of trauma in the development of PTSD, depressive, and anxiety disorders in the offspring. The findings demonstrate a specific association between parental PTSD and the occurrence of PTSD in offspring. Additionally, parental trauma exposure, more than parental PTSD, was found to be significantly associated with lifetime depressive disorder. The identification of parental PTSD as a risk factor for PTSD in offspring of Holocaust survivors defines a sample in which the biological and psychological correlates of risk for PTSD can be further examined.
Trauma, psychological distress and parental immigration status: Latino citizenchildren and the threat of deportation
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