This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stay or Move--the Dilemma for Mexican Children

Yesterday I commented on new research worrying about the situation of children left behind in Mexico by migrating parents. Today we were reminded yet again (deja vu all over again!) that the health of migrant children, especially those from Mexico, may be worse in the US than it might have been back in Mexico. The latest report comes from the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC, and was written by three well-qualified demographers from Penn State--Jennifer Van Hook, Nancy Landale, and Marianne M. Hillemeier. The report represents a good review of the literature on migration and health, along with an analysis of ACS data emphasizing the vulnerabilities of Mexican immigrant children. All of the detail in the report leads the authors to these conclusions:
...the children of immigrants, particularly of Mexican immigrants, stand at a crossroads. Their path going forward could depend on how well US policies and programs respond to their needs. In particular, it will be crucial to resolve the problems related to immigrants’ legal status. This would involve new immigration reform legislation providing a pathway to legal status for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants now living in the United States and addressing future demand for low-skilled labor migration.
...immigrants are dispersing to new US destinations, where they tend to encounter greater barriers to quality health care than in traditional destinations. Attention to these problems will ultimately benefit the full US population. Nearly one in every four US children has an immigrant parent; promoting the health of children in immigrant families will maximize the long-term well-being and productivity of tomorrow’s adults.
In the end, then, their policy analysis is speculative, just as was true for the situation of children left behind in Mexico--we really aren't sure what the future might hold here.

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