Poverty Compounds Troubles for Children in Immigrant Families

November 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

Children born into immigrant families often live in a scarier world then most of us. Aggression against their families flares in our country and is institutionized in the department of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE deported 46,000 parents in the first six months of this year according to researcher Seth Freed Wessler speaking to Democracy Now. When parents are deported or detained their US born children often enter the foster care system and sometimes never see their mother and father again. This is the subject of a new study called Shattered Families. Immigrant children also may be living with abuse. Women in abusive relationships can be afraid to seek help because they fear deportation and lack social support. In some cultures more than 40% of women are subject to domestic violence

This isn’t a blog about deportation, domestic violence or immigration but this context is important in understanding the special hardship children in immigrant families face when they also endure poverty. 4.2 million kids in immigrant families are in poverty and their experience is uniquely hard because so many of those families can’t get food stamps or low income health insurance because of law and bias. 

Since the mid 2000’s poverty rates for immigrant families have increased the most in Suburban areas across the country. Suburbs aren’t often prepared to deliver poverty support much less poverty support to foreign born families. Outside of cultural and language differences other differences distinguish immigrant families from native born poor. They’re more apt to be a married couple with children and more often include a family member that’s working full time but not earning enough to support the household according to an August study from the Brookings Institution. For exact figures on immigrant poverty in your state and a fuller explanation of the issue read that study.  It may help you understand why so many people are working hard for fairer treatment of our immigrant neighbors.

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