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By Deanie Anyangwe and Whitney Bunts

The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which was signed into law after receiving bipartisan support in 2020 and launched in 2022, authorized 988 as the new three-digit number for people experiencing suicidal, mental, and behavioral health crises. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by Vibrant Emotional Health. As 988 is built out, there is growing concern from policymakers, advocates, and community members around its implementation and impact.

Youth and young adults currently face an unprecedented mental and behavioral health crisis that has led to an increase in youth suicide rates, mental and behavioral health concerns, and disconnection from school and work. This crisis acutely impacts Black, brown, and Indigenous young people who experience systemic racism through structural disadvantages such as mass criminalization, unemployment, and housing insecurity. 988 should serve as an opportunity to transform the way young people view services and build trust in the crisis systems that serve them, rather than becoming a new entrypoint into the criminal legal system for Black youth and other marginalized young people.

This series of fact sheets explores the challenges and missed opportunities to effectively implement 988 and transform the United States’ existing mental and behavioral health crisis response system.

Short-sighted, Punitive Proposal to Dismantle Asylum Would Harm Children, Families

Earlier this week, CLASP issued a statement urging Congress to reject harmful legislation that would gut the U.S. asylum system and funnel billions of dollars to harmful border enforcement measures, and for the Biden Administration to reverse course and stand up for immigrant communities. Just yesterday, the Senate blocked the measure, although the passage of harmful immigration policies is still possible. Regardless, CLASP will continue to fight against such efforts that imperil the well-being of children and families.

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New Direct File Tool Pilot Will Ease Tax Filing for Many

During this year’s 2023 tax filing season, the IRS will test a new, free online tax filing tool that promises to help more tax filers access credits that they are eligible for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

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Are We Listening? Youth Mental Health Challenges are Rooted in Racism and Discrimination

Young people of color experiencing poverty have noted how racism and discrimination are root causes and key traumas that adversely impact their mental health.

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Amicus Brief Details the Harm of DACA Rescission on U.S. Citizen Children

CLASP helped lead the development of an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case regarding the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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On January 31, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. This bipartisan tax proposal would make a meaningful step toward a fully refundable and inclusive Child Tax Credit.

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CLASP in the News


Food Stamps: How Does SNAP Employment and Training Relate to Your Benefits?


The Enduring Harm of U.S. Deportations


Cupones de alimentos SNAP: Más solicitantes cualificarían si USDA elimina requisito de entrevista


‘We need that support;’ Jacksonville Black business owners concerned with money spent elsewhere

Recent Events

February 6: Indi Dutta-Gupta spoke at “In This Together: A Cross-Partisan Action Plan to Support Families with Young Children in America,” a Capitol Hill panel discussion hosted by Convergence Center for Policy Resolution.

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This statement can be attributed to Indivar Dutta-Gupta, president and executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

Washington, D.C., February 5, 2024– CLASP is deeply opposed to the proposed legislative text for the supplemental funding bill, which would gut the U.S. asylum system and funnel billions of dollars to harmful border enforcement measures. This shortsighted proposal will cause harm to immigrant families and does little to address the root causes of global migration or improve the ability of U.S. communities—both at the border and beyond—to welcome new arrivals. We urge Congress to reject this harmful legislation and for the Biden Administration to reverse course and stand up for immigrant communities. 

The proposed legislation would bring back Trump-era immigration policies that are rooted in xenophobia and racism by placing arbitrary limits on asylum. Policies enacted in the previous administration that barred most asylum seekers from entering the U.S. under Title 42 or forced them to remain in Mexico did not stem the flow of asylum-seekers at our border. Instead, they exacerbated dangerous conditions at our border and resulted in children and families experiencing violent attacks in pursuit of their legal right to claim asylum. Department of Homeland Security officials at the border have also acknowledged the extra burden such policies would put on them by actually increasing border encounters. Without addressing the root causes of why people are fleeing their home countries, families and children will continue to come to the U.S. border seeking safety from persecution, gang violence, and extreme poverty. 

Although this legislation includes provisions to support family unity through additional green card allocations and protections for children of H-1B workers, these provisions fall short of the policies needed to meaningfully reform our immigration system. The bill does not provide much-needed relief to Dreamers and other immigrants with deep roots in this country. Through this proposal, federal lawmakers are instead choosing to provide limited support to some immigrants in exchange for far-reaching and deeply harmful asylum policies. Additionally, the policies that promote the best interest of children and provide legal counsel, while welcome, do not outweigh the harm that children and families arriving to the United States will ultimately face as a result of punitive asylum policies that substantially raise requirements for their lawful entry. 

Rather than consider the same failed policies, Congress should instead implement humane, effective solutions that address the core issues and ameliorate pressure at the border. We must prioritize processing and screening asylum seekers; provide sufficient resources to communities helping newly arrived migrants navigate the immigration process; and finally pass a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants who have lived in our communities for years. Such reforms would alleviate immigrant communities’ fears, realign our immigration system with the value of welcoming immigrants, counter anti-immigrant rhetoric, and ensure that all Americans reap the benefits from an efficient and equitable immigration system.

CLASP helped lead the development of an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case regarding the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The brief was co-authored by Persyn Law & Policy for the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, CLASP, and other children’s advocacy organizations, medical professionals, and child development experts.

Read the complete brief and appendix here.

By Selen Ozturk, Ethnic Media Services


A Tuesday, January 30 briefing held by the Ohio Immigrant Alliance (OHIA) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) highlighted Broken Hope: Deportation and the Road Home — a new book featuring interviews with 255 deported long-term U.S. resident immigrants — as the book’s authors and some of the immigrants interviewed discussed the lasting effects of deportation.

Read the full article here.


By Isha Weerasinghe 

“But you just got to keep understanding that… being brown is different. Being white is really different. Having the privilege and having the access and not having the privilege and the access.” 

-Young adult focus group participant, Behind the Asterisk*, 2019 

In October 2023, I attended a workshop on how racial socialization can support the well-being of young people of color. At the beginning of the session, the presenter asked, “When was the first time you experienced racism?” For him, a Black man, his first experience was at a grocery store when he was four years old. Like the presenter, many young people of color experience racism and discrimination—implicit and explicit, individual and institutional—from a very young age. These experiences continue into young adulthood and beyond. They affect how young people perceive themselves, impacting their confidence and self-esteem, and therefore their well-being. Young people of color experiencing poverty have repeatedly noted how racism and discrimination are root causes and key traumas that adversely impact their mental health.  

Systemic and structural racism also impact the other major drivers of adverse mental health in youth: community violence and financial strain. When young people of color have multiple marginalized identities, such as being disabled or identifying as LGBTQIA+, they may experience various, layered forms of discrimination. Repeated instances of discrimination and the lack of accountability for racist actions can increase stress, leading to depression and anxiety 

“At my school, I was friends with this guy, Sammie, and he had to leave school because he would get in constant fights because people would be racist towards him. He wouldn’t put up with that. He would get in a fight. And he would just get in trouble. And like, the people committing that actions aren’t getting in trouble, but he’s getting in trouble for standing up for himself. And a lot of people from [town name] specifically, because they have a large like population that’s people of color. They, a lot of kids there, haven’t been going to school because of it, because they just can’t handle it, and even if they do something about it, they would get reprimanded for their actions.”  

-Rural young adult, from the Behind the Asterisk* report 

Structural racism persists in the environments that young people participate in daily, like schools and the workplace. Because of this, young people may not trust adults who use power in an authoritative and punitive way. Systemic racism in the health care system can deter youth of color from utilizing necessary mental or physical health services because of the lack of trust, even if young people have access to services. Beyond health coverage, barriers to care also include limited access to mental health providers who can relate to a young person and show cultural sensitivity.  

Although effective policy solutions for young people must center their voices, policy recommendations are often adult-driven. Youth have consistently recommended solutions that could improve and maintain their well-being, around recognizing and addressing the root causes of the mental health challenges they experience, rather than only focusing on improving clinical care. Federal, state, and local policymakers can implement system and policy changes to address racism and discrimination from a youth-development perspective. Solutions noted by young people include policies that directly address systemic racism, such as funding and supporting cultural education in schools; encouraging voter engagement; developing programs that affirm cultural and racial identities; reimbursing traditional and/or culturally-derived healing practices; banning the use of punitive measures in school environments (i.e., school resource officers); and reimbursing peer specialists and networks. Youth peer support specialists, for example, can support young people in ways adults cannot, using anti-racist practices that intentionally challenge the hierarchy of the provider-patient relationship, meeting young people where they are, and speaking from similar experiences and backgrounds.  

We cannot fully address systemic racism in health systems, the built environment, and people’s biases overnight. However, learning about interventions that work for young people will start to reduce racism and discrimination in the places youth work, live, and play, ultimately addressing some of their mental health concerns.  

“El de clima por razas, eso es no solamente el racismo, sino el discrimen que sufre la persona que está recibiendo el racismo. Estos, estos límites que se les ponen a la hora de buscar ayuda.”

“The thing about the racial climate, it’s not just racism, but also the discrimination that the person suffers when they’re experiencing racism. Those, those limits that they place on you at the time you look for help.”

-Young adult focus group participant, 2023 

This statement can be attributed to Indivar Dutta-Gupta, president and executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Washington DC, January 31, 2024—The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) applauds today’s passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. This bipartisan tax proposal makes a meaningful step toward a fully refundable and inclusive Child Tax Credit (CTC).

Although the bill’s enhanced CTC falls short of what children deserve, our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimate that 400,000 children would escape poverty in the bill’s first year. In addition, some 3 million children in poor households would have their families’ incomes raised.

The bill isn’t perfect, and we’ll continue to fight for a fully equitable CTC that is even stronger than the successful pandemic-era 2021 credit. For now, we urge the Senate to pass this bill without any modifications that would reduce CTC payments for families with low or moderate incomes.

By Alisha Saxena

CLASP submits comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released by the Office of Head Start to support improved wages and benefits for Head Start teachers, comprehensive mental health care, and quality improvements across the system.

>>Read the full comments here

CLASP Senior Policy Analyst, Tiffany Ferrette gave a keynote address at the Las Vegas My Brother’s Keeper Alliance in partnership with the Children’s Advocacy Alliance of Nevada on January 11, 2024. Tiffany’s address, titled ‘Persistence: How ours and their define the future,’ discussed the importance of equity to children’s development, how organizations can and should base their work in racial equity, and the role of decreasing and ultimately eliminating harsh disciplinary practices in building an equitable future.

On January 11, 2024, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Social Services.” CLASP submitted a statement for the record detailing immigrants’ fundamental contributions; the economic and social benefits of expanding safety net programs; the harms of restricting immigrants from safety net programs like SNAP, housing programs, and Medicaid; and recommendations for policymakers to consider.

Recommendations include adequately funding states and localities to welcome and meet the changing needs of newcomers, restoring access to health coverage, nutrition, and other safety net programs for immigrants and their families, removing barriers to work authorization, and expanding pathways to legal status. These recommendations, if enacted, would benefit immigrant families and their children, as well as the U.S. economy and public health.

Download our statement here.