Including Children in Immigrant Families in Policy Approaches to Reduce Child Poverty

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Pamela K Joshi, Emily Ruskin, Abigail N Walters, Nomi Sofer and Carlos A Guevara
Date of Publication: 
December, 2021
Source Organization: 

Though children in immigrant families make up an increasing share of the US child population (26% in 2020) and their poverty rates are much higher than children in nonimmigrant families (20.9% versus 9.9%), children in immigrant families are restricted in their access to the social safety net. In "Including Children in Immigrant Families in Policy Approaches to Reduce Child Poverty,” researchers at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management's Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis University and UnidosUS demonstrate how such exclusion of immigrants from the social safety net creates a situation in which children who are US citizens in immigrant families derive less benefit from anti-poverty programs, resulting in increased economic hardship, along with risks to childrens’ health and development. Among the specific restrictions discussed in the paper are: limited categorical eligibility based on immigrant status, stricter income eligibility, reduced benefit levels, higher administrative burdens to apply for and receive public benefits and programs because of citizenship verification and language barriers, and reluctance to use safety net programs because of fear of public charge consequences. The researchers draw on results derived from the Transfer Income Model simulations for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's 2019 report A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, noting how the poverty-reducing impacts of potential enhancements to three major antipoverty programs would produce inequality in poverty reduction effects based on family citizenship and immigration status. The writers recommend elimination of policies excluding immigrants, so that all children can equitably benefit from current and future enhancements to anti-poverty programs. (Erika Hernandez for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Acevedo-Garcia, D., Joshi, P. K., Ruskin, E., Walters, A.N., Sofer, N. and Guevara, C. A. (2021, December). Including Children in Immigrant Families in Policy Approaches to Reduce Child Poverty. Academic Pediatrics.