Still at Risk: The Urgent Need to Address Immigration Enforcement’s Harms to Children

By Nicole Chávez, Suma Setty, Hannah Liu, and Wendy Cervantes:

Over two decades, immigration enforcement in the country’s interior has separated families and caused lasting damage to children in immigrant families and communities. These policies, resulting in worksite raids, arrests, and deportations, have undermined the health and well-being of more than 5 million children with at least one undocumented parent. In the meantime, Congress has failed to enact meaningful immigration reform that centers the dignity and humanity of immigrant families. Long-standing community members continue to suffer.

A new report from CLASP and UnidosUS analyzes trends in interior enforcement and documents the negative impact on children’s economic security, access to food, housing stability, mental health, and educational outcomes.  Although there has been a downward trend in interior enforcement actions since 2009, harmful policies remain in place and more humane policies–such as the DACA program, parental interest directive, and protected areas policy–remain stalled in the courts or face implementation challenges. 

Correction: This report was updated on September 11, 2023, to correct errors in the data in Figure 5.

>>Read the executive summary

>>Read the full report