RSF Author Hirokazu Yoshikawa Releases Study on Risks Facing Children of Illegal Immigrants

Rohan Mascarenhas,Russell Sage Foundation
September 21, 2011

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, author of the RSF book Immigrants Raising Citizens, has co-authored a new study that seeks to systematically examine how unauthorized status affects the estimated 5.5 million children and adolescents growing up with parents who are illegal immigrants. The New York Times highlighted some of the report's findings: 

“Unauthorized status casts a big shadow that really extends to citizen as well as undocumented children,” Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, a professor of education at New York University who is an author of the study, said on Tuesday. “It affects their cognitive development, engagement in school and their ability to be emerging citizens.”

The Harvard study reports that "fear and vigilance" guide the home lives of young children whose parents are illegal immigrants, making the parents significantly less likely to engage with teachers or be active in schools.

Parents' fears of deportation led to lower levels of enrollment of their American children in public programs for which the children were legally eligible, including child care subsidies, public preschool and food stamps, the study found.

You can download a PDF copy of the report, entitled "Growing Up in the Shadows: The Developmental Implications of Unauthorized Status," here. The study continues the research Yoshikawa did as a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, where he analyzed data from a three-year study of 380 children to better understand the consequences of unauthorized status. Yoshikawa summarizes some of his results in an interview with RSF here.


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