Immigration law at one time allowed the parents of a child born here to apply for and achieve legal status. That procedure was eliminated during a period of harsher feelings toward immigration policy, and possibly also influenced by higher unemployment rates brought on by generally poor economic factors. California and other jurisdictions now must deport the undocumented parents of a United States citizen. As discussed in a prior blog, with respect to younger children born here, this is done rather unceremoniously in a manner that destroys the family unit.
More than 1.5 million California children have at least one parent who is here illegally, according to an investigative report published by the University of Southern California. According to a USC sociologist, the parents’ immigration status has a dramatic effect on the economic, educational and sociological development of the children who have citizenship. The parents’ status continues to affect those children even in their later, grown-up lives.
For one thing, children with citizenship but with illegal parents tend to live in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods, have insufficient funds and resources and face severe social stigma due to their parents’ status. Even if a child who has citizenship goes on to graduate from a graduate school and pursue a career, he or she will be hampered often by engaging in extraordinary efforts to assist the parents and perhaps others. This then hampers the individual from achieving economic stability and success in a career.
The research from USC supports that if the parents can get derivative citizenship through the child it will engender greater mobility upwards into the middle class. Former illegal immigrants who have acquired citizenship get significantly better jobs, improve their education and are socially well-integrated. The children in such a circumstance tend to get a higher education, and the overall outcome is toward a self-perpetuating cycle of economic family stability.
Furthermore, an immigration strategy toward naturalization of the parents brings substantial economic benefits to the economy of California. The increased prosperity of these legalized families adds significantly to the state’s prosperity in terms of much higher tax revenues and higher all-around spending. Furthermore, as boomers retire and other workers leave the state’s workforce, the normalized status of these immigrant families will supply a more educated, economically secure and socially-integrated successor workforce.
Source: scpr.org, “How a parent’s immigration status shapes the economic lives of their US-born children,” Leslie Berestein Rohas, May 10, 2013