Trump Immigration Policies Stress Out Parents and Kids Alike

The Trump administration’s immigration policies are stressing out Latino parents, who are passing that anxiety along to their kids, a new report finds.

The results are anxiety, PTSD and other mental health problems that can damage the kids long-term, a team at George Washington University found.

And U.S. society as a whole will pay for their problems as kids fail to thrive in school, put pressure on public healthcare systems and, often, turn to crime, the report predicts.

Even legal residents and citizens report being harassed and living in fear of government authorities, and their kids are suffering, too, the report finds.

“It does appear that the immigration policies are harming parents living in this country legally,” said Kathleen Roche, an associate professor of prevention and community health at George Washington University, who led the study team.

“We do know from prior research that when parents suffer from high levels of psychological distress, their adolescent children have greatly elevated risk of not doing well in school, engaging in substance use, and experiencing their own mental health problems,” Roche added.

For the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the team did in-depth interviews with more than 200 Latino parents, including citizens, permanent legal residents and people living under temporary protected status. About 75 percent of their children were born in the U.S. and therefore citizens — the rest were eligible for DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

They are afraid that they or their relatives will be deported, and many reported frequent, even daily harassment from police and other authorities.

“The risks these teenagers are experiencing by virtue of their parents’ poor mental health is not only going to derail their own futures and wellbeing, but those will come at a very high cost to our society in terms of criminal justice and healthcare system impacts,” Roche said.

By Maggie Fox for NBC NEWS
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