RI Families With Mixed Immigration Status Face Food Insecurity, High Stress Levels, Study Finds

Jun 22, 2015

Data released Monday by the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University show that families with mixed immigration status face significant challenges. The numbers are based on a survey of nearly 180 Latino families. When at least one parent is an undocumented immigrant, researcher Kalina Brabeck says children may struggle in school.

“Specifically we find that kids, when the parent is unauthorized, are more likely to struggle academically in reading, writing, spelling and math, and that’s based on an assessment that we did with all of the kids in the study,” said Brabeck. “They also are experiencing higher levels of anxiety.”

Despite the challenges, 90 percent of children from mixed status families expect to get at least a college degree.

Families with at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant are also more likely to struggle with food insecurity and stress.

Brabeck says some of the biggest difficulties relate to working conditions.

“Working longer hours, harsher conditions and for lower wages, we also see that they face higher levels of discrimination, the fear of deportation is another significant challenge, they’re less likely to access social services,” said Brabeck.

The survey found that virtually none of the undocumented immigrants claimed any social security income or welfare benefits.

However, the study found that mixed immigration status families scored well when it comes to parent-child relationships

“So this included things like bonding, good communications, parents being confident in their ability to be effective moms and dads, parents being involved with their kids,” said Brabeck.

The vast majority children in mixed-status families live in two-parent households, which is considered a positive sign of family well-being.

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