DACA Repeal Efforts Threaten Health of Thousands of California Children, Pediatricians Say

By Claudia Boyd-Barrett

Just the possibility that DACA could be repealed is harming children’s health, experts said. Wendy Cervantes, director of immigration policy at The Center for Law and Social Policy, which also contributed to the court brief, said her organization conducted research at child care sites in California around the time repeal plans were first announced. Cervantes said her team spoke with teachers, child-care workers and parents.

The repeal announcement “was creating a lot of stress for families,” she said. “Our report found that children as young as 3 years old were exhibiting serious behavioral changes and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder just because of fearing about what might happen to their parents.”

Cervantes said her organization and others are holding out hope the Supreme Court will uphold the program, although a majority of justices appeared to side with the Trump administration during the hearing on Nov. 12. Another solution would be for Congress to enact legislation that protects DACA recipients, she said.

“This decision is one that has high stakes, not just for DACA recipients but for hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizen children who are critical to our nation’s future,” she said. “This is their home and we’re undermining their ability to achieve their full potential.”