“We cannot let an entire generation come of age with fear, anxiety, and instability as their primary childhood memory”
September 9, 2020, Washington, D.C. – A new coalition of organizations has emerged to ensure that the children of immigrants–one-quarter of all children in the United States–are no longer harmed by policy and government due to their parents’ citizenship status.
Mónica Ramírez, president of Justice for Migrant Women and Olivia Golden, executive director of The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) wrote in an op-ed announcing the Children Thrive Action Network (CTAN): “We cannot let an entire generation come of age with fear, anxiety, and instability as their primary childhood memory.” Preventing that tragedy is the goal of this new coalition.
Right now, the government is failing these children. Anxiety over immigration raids or a loved one’s deportation, as well as poverty and exclusion from financial assistance in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other relief measures, is causing toxic stress to children of immigrants, with long-term impacts on their bodies and minds.
Today, nearly 200 groups are sending a letter to Congress, calling for swift passage of “a COVID-19 relief bill that ensures children in mixed-status families are eligible for economic stimulus payments under the CARES Act.” They explain:
The tax-paying families of an estimated 3.5 million children were unfairly excluded from CARES Act economic support, and the vast majority of these children are U.S. citizens. They were excluded simply because at least one parent filed taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number rather than a Social Security number….
Children of immigrants make up a quarter of the U.S. child population, and their well-being is tied to our collective future. The effects of poverty and toxic stress on children can harm their developing bodies and minds for the long term. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we are all deeply connected, and the only way we are going to come out of the crisis a stronger nation is if we ensure every member of our community has access to the assistance they need.
“Sadly, the Children Thrive Action Network is needed, because society is failing the children of immigrants,” said Olivia Golden of CLASP. “Our goal is to build a stronger society where all children have equal opportunities, including the resources and protections they need to grow and thrive; where diversity is embraced and celebrated; and where all children are valued and cared for regardless of where they or their parents were born.”
The network was founded by Children’s Defense Fund-TX; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); HANA Center; Justice for Migrant Women; MomsRising; National Association of Social Workers (NASW); National Education Association (NEA); The Children’s Partnership; and UnidosUS.