Immigrants Raising Citizens

Author: Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610447077
Format: PDF, Docs
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An in-depth look at the challenges undocumented immigrants face as they raise children in the U.S. There are now nearly four million children born in the United States who have undocumented immigrant parents. In the current debates around immigration reform, policymakers often view immigrants as an economic or labor market problem to be solved, but the issue has a very real human dimension. Immigrant parents without legal status are raising their citizen children under stressful work and financial conditions, with the constant threat of discovery and deportation that may narrow social contacts and limit participation in public programs that might benefit their children. Immigrants Raising Citizens offers a compelling description of the everyday experiences of these parents, their very young children, and the consequences these experiences have on their children’s development. Immigrants Raising Citizens challenges conventional wisdom about undocumented immigrants, viewing them not as lawbreakers or victims, but as the parents of citizens whose adult productivity will be essential to the nation’s future. The book’s findings are based on data from a three-year study of 380 infants from Dominican, Mexican, Chinese, and African American families, which included in-depth interviews, in-home child assessments, and parent surveys. The book shows that undocumented parents share three sets of experiences that distinguish them from legal-status parents and may adversely influence their children’s development: avoidance of programs and authorities, isolated social networks, and poor work conditions. Fearing deportation, undocumented parents often avoid accessing valuable resources that could help their children’s development—such as access to public programs and agencies providing child care and food subsidies. At the same time, many of these parents are forced to interact with illegal entities such as smugglers or loan sharks out of financial necessity. Undocumented immigrants also tend to have fewer reliable social ties to assist with child care or share information on child-rearing. Compared to legal-status parents, undocumented parents experience significantly more exploitive work conditions, including long hours, inadequate pay and raises, few job benefits, and limited autonomy in job duties. These conditions can result in ongoing parental stress, economic hardship, and avoidance of center-based child care—which is directly correlated with early skill development in children. The result is poorly developed cognitive skills, recognizable in children as young as two years old, which can negatively impact their future school performance and, eventually, their job prospects. Immigrants Raising Citizens has important implications for immigration policy, labor law enforcement, and the structure of community services for immigrant families. In addition to low income and educational levels, undocumented parents experience hardships due to their status that have potentially lifelong consequences for their children. With nothing less than the future contributions of these children at stake, the book presents a rigorous and sobering argument that the price for ignoring this reality may be too high to pay.

Cradle to Kindergarten

Author: Ajay Chaudry
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610448669
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Early care and education for many children in the United States is in crisis. The period between birth and kindergarten is a critical time for child development, and socioeconomic disparities that begin early in children’s lives contribute to starkly different long-term outcomes for adults. Yet, compared to other advanced economies, high-quality child care and preschool in the United States are scarce and prohibitively expensive for many middle-class and most disadvantaged families. To what extent can early-life interventions provide these children with the opportunities that their affluent peers enjoy and contribute to reduced social inequality in the long term? Cradle to Kindergarten offers a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy that diagnoses the obstacles to accessible early education and charts a path to opportunity for all children. The U.S. government invests less in children under the age of five than do most other developed nations. Most working families must seek private childcare, which means that children from low-income households, who would benefit most from high-quality early education, are the least likely to attend them. Existing policies, such as pre-kindergarten in some states are only partial solutions. To address these deficiencies, the authors propose to overhaul the early care system, beginning with a federal paid parental leave policy that provides both mothers and fathers with time and financial support after the birth of a child. They also advocate increased public benefits, including an expansion of the child care tax credit, and a new child care assurance program that subsidizes the cost of early care for low- and moderate-income families. They also propose that universal, high-quality early education in the states should start by age three, and a reform of the Head Start program that would include more intensive services for families living in areas of concentrated poverty and experiencing multiple adversities from the earliest point in these most disadvantaged children’s lives. They conclude with an implementation plan and contend that these reforms are attainable within a ten-year timeline. Reducing educational and economic inequalities requires that all children have robust opportunities to learn, fully develop their capacities, and have a fair shot at success. Cradle to Kindergarten presents a blueprint for fulfilling this promise by expanding access to educational and financial resources at a critical stage of child development.

Higher Ground

Author: Greg J. Duncan
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610441729
Format: PDF, Docs
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During the 1990s, growing demands to end chronic welfare dependency culminated in the 1996 federal “welfare-to-work” reforms. But regardless of welfare reform, the United States has always been home to a large population of working poor—people who remain poor even when they work and do not receive welfare. In a concentrated effort to address the problems of the working poor, a coalition of community activists and business leaders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, launched New Hope, an experimental program that boosted employment among the city’s poor while reducing poverty and improving children’s lives. In Higher Ground, Greg Duncan, Aletha Huston, and Thomas Weisner provide a compelling look at how New Hope can serve as a model for national anti-poverty policies. New Hope was a social contract—not a welfare program—in which participants were required to work a minimum of thirty hours a week in order to be eligible for earnings supplements and health and child care subsidies. All participants had access to career counseling and temporary community service jobs. Drawing on evidence from surveys, public records of employment and earnings, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic observation, Higher Ground tells the story of this ambitious three-year social experiment and evaluates how participants fared relative to a control group. The results were highly encouraging. Poverty rates declined among families that participated in the program. Employment and earnings increased among participants who were not initially working full-time, relative to their counterparts in a control group. For those who had faced just one significant barrier to employment (such as a lack of access to child care or a spotty employment history), these gains lasted years after the program ended. Increased income, combined with New Hope’s subsidies for child care and health care, brought marked improvements to the well-being and development of participants’ children. Enrollment in child care centers increased, and fewer medical needs went unmet. Children performed better in school and exhibited fewer behavioral problems, and gains were particularly dramatic for boys, who are at the greatest risk for poor academic performance and behavioral disorders. As America takes stock of the successes and shortcomings of the Clinton-era welfare reforms, the authors convincingly demonstrate why New Hope could be a model for state and national policies to assist the working poor. Evidence based and insightfully written, Higher Ground illuminates how policymakers can make work pay for families struggling to escape poverty.

Immigrants and Boomers

Author: Dowell Myers
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610444183
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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“This story of hope for both immigrants and native-born Americans is a well-researched, insightful, and illuminating study that provides compelling evidence to support a policy of homegrown human investment as a new priority. A timely, valuable addition to demographic and immigration studies. Highly recommended.” —Choice Virtually unnoticed in the contentious national debate over immigration is the significant demographic change about to occur as the first wave of the Baby Boom generation retires, slowly draining the workforce and straining the federal budget to the breaking point. In this forward-looking new book, noted demographer Dowell Myers proposes a new way of thinking about the influx of immigrants and the impending retirement of the Baby Boomers. Myers argues that each of these two powerful demographic shifts may hold the keys to resolving the problems presented by the other. Immigrants and Boomers looks to California as a bellwether state—where whites are no longer a majority of the population and represent just a third of residents under age twenty—to afford us a glimpse into the future impact of immigration on the rest of the nation. Myers opens with an examination of the roots of voter resistance to providing social services for immigrants. Drawing on detailed census data, Myers demonstrates that long-established immigrants have been far more successful than the public believes. Among the Latinos who make up the bulk of California’s immigrant population, those who have lived in California for over a decade show high levels of social mobility and use of English, and 50 percent of Latino immigrants become homeowners after twenty years. The impressive progress made by immigrant families suggests they have the potential to pick up the slack from aging boomers over the next two decades. The mass retirement of the boomers will leave critical shortages in the educated workforce, while shrinking ranks of middle-class tax payers and driving up entitlement expenditures. In addition, as retirees sell off their housing assets, the prospect of a generational collapse in housing prices looms. Myers suggests that it is in the boomers’ best interest to invest in the education and integration of immigrants and their children today in order to bolster the ranks of workers, taxpayers, and homeowners America they will depend on ten and twenty years from now. In this compelling, optimistic book, Myers calls for a new social contract between the older and younger generations, based on their mutual interests and the moral responsibility of each generation to provide for children and the elderly. Combining a rich scholarly perspective with keen insight into contemporary political dilemmas, Immigrants and Boomers creates a new framework for understanding the demographic challenges facing America and forging a national consensus to address them.

Lives in Limbo

Author: Roberto G. Gonzales
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520287266
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"Over two million of the nation's eleven million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since childhood. Due to a broken immigration system, they grow up to uncertain futures. In Lives in Limbo, Roberto G. Gonzales introduces us to two groups: the college-goers, like Ricardo, whose good grades and strong network of community support propelled him into higher education, only to land in a factory job a few years after graduation, and the early-exiters, like Gabriel, who failed to make meaningful connections in high school and started navigating dead-end jobs, immigration checkpoints, and a world narrowly circumscribed by legal limitations. This ethnography asks why highly educated undocumented youth ultimately share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers, even as higher education is touted as the path to integration and success in America. Gonzales bookends his study with discussions of how the prospect of immigration reform, especially the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, could impact the lives of these young Americans"--Provided by publisher.

Achieving Anew

Author: Michael J. White
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610447034
Format: PDF, ePub
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Can the recent influx of immigrants successfully enter the mainstream of American life, or will many of them fail to thrive and become part of a permanent underclass? Achieving Anew examines immigrant life in school, at work, and in communities and demonstrates that recent immigrants and their children do make substantial progress over time, both within and between generations. From policymakers to private citizens, our national conversation on immigration has consistently questioned the country’s ability to absorb increasing numbers of foreign nationals—now nearly one million legal entrants per year. Using census data, longitudinal education surveys, and other data, Michael White and Jennifer Glick place their study of new immigrant achievement within a context of recent developments in assimilation theory and policies regulating who gets in and what happens to them upon arrival. They find that immigrant status itself is not an important predictor of educational achievement. First-generation immigrants arrive in the United States with less education than native-born Americans, but by the second and third generation, the children of immigrants are just as successful in school as native-born students with equivalent social and economic background. As with prior studies, the effects of socioeconomic background and family structure show through strongly. On education attainment, race and ethnicity have a strong impact on achievement initially, but less over time. Looking at the labor force, White and Glick find no evidence to confirm the often-voiced worry that recent immigrants and their children are falling behind earlier arrivals. On the contrary, immigrants of more recent vintage tend to catch up to the occupational status of natives more quickly than in the past. Family background, educational preparation, and race/ethnicity all play a role in labor market success, just as they do for the native born, but the offspring of immigrants suffer no disadvantage due to their immigrant origins. New immigrants continue to live in segregated neighborhoods, though with less prevalence than native black-white segregation. Immigrants who arrived in the 1960s are now much less segregated than recent arrivals. Indeed, the authors find that residential segregation declines both within and across generations. Yet black and Mexican immigrants are more segregated from whites than other groups, showing that race and economic status still remain powerful influences on where immigrants live. Although the picture is mixed and the continuing significance of racial factors remains a concern, Achieving Anew provides compelling reassurance that the recent wave of immigrants is making impressive progress in joining the American mainstream. The process of assimilation is not broken, the advent of a new underclass is not imminent, and the efforts to argue for the restriction of immigration based on these fears are largely mistaken.

Immigrants and Welfare

Author: Michael E. Fix
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610446224
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The lore of the immigrant who comes to the United States to take advantage of our welfare system has a long history in America’s collective mythology, but it has little basis in fact. The so-called problem of immigrants on the dole was nonetheless a major concern of the 1996 welfare reform law, the impact of which is still playing out today. While legal immigrants continue to pay taxes and are eligible for the draft, welfare reform has severely limited their access to government supports in times of crisis. Edited by Michael Fix, Immigrants and Welfare rigorously assesses the welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society. Immigrants and Welfare draws on fields from demography and law to developmental psychology. The first part of the volume probes the politics behind the welfare reform law, its legal underpinnings, and what it may mean for integration policy. Contributor Ron Haskins makes a case for welfare reform’s ultimate success but cautions that excluding noncitizen children (future workers) from benefits today will inevitably have serious repercussions for the American economy down the road. Michael Wishnie describes the implications of the law for equal protection of immigrants under the U.S. Constitution. The second part of the book focuses on empirical research regarding immigrants’ propensity to use benefits before the law passed, and immigrants’ use and hardship levels afterwards. Jennifer Van Hook and Frank Bean analyze immigrants’ benefit use before the law was passed in order to address the contested sociological theories that immigrants are inclined to welfare use and that it slows their assimilation. Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Everett Henderson track trends before and after welfare reform in legal immigrants’ use of the major federal benefit programs affected by the law. Leighton Ku looks specifically at trends in food stamps and Medicaid use among noncitizen children and adults and documents the declining health insurance coverage of noncitizen parents and children. Finally, Ariel Kalil and Danielle Crosby use longitudinal data from Chicago to examine the health of children in immigrant families that left welfare. Even though few states took the federal government’s invitation with the 1996 welfare reform law to completely freeze legal immigrants out of the social safety net, many of the law’s most far-reaching provisions remain in place and have significant implications for immigrants. Immigrants and Welfare takes a balanced look at the politics and history of immigrant access to safety-net supports and the ongoing impacts of welfare. Copublished with the Migration Policy Institute

Making It Work

Author: Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610445651
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Low-skilled women in the 1990s took widely different paths in trying to support their children. Some held good jobs with growth potential, some cycled in and out of low-paying jobs, some worked part time, and others stayed out of the labor force entirely. Scholars have closely analyzed the economic consequences of these varied trajectories, but little research has focused on the consequences of a mother’s career path on her children’s development. Making It Work, edited by Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Thomas Weisner, and Edward Lowe, looks past the economic statistics to illustrate how different employment trajectories affect the social and emotional lives of poor women and their children. Making It Work examines Milwaukee’s New Hope program, an experiment testing the effectiveness of an anti-poverty initiative that provided health and child care subsidies, wage supplements, and other services to full-time low-wage workers. Employing parent surveys, teacher reports, child assessment measures, ethnographic studies, and state administrative records, Making It Work provides a detailed picture of how a mother’s work trajectory affects her, her family, and her children’s school performance, social behavior, and expectations for the future. Rashmita Mistry and Edward D. Lowe find that increases in a mother’s income were linked to higher school performance in her children. Without large financial worries, mothers gained extra confidence in their ability to parent, which translated into better test scores and higher teacher appraisals for their children. JoAnn Hsueh finds that the children of women with erratic work schedules and non-standard hours—conditions endemic to the low-skilled labor market—exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression. Conversely, Noemi Enchautegui-de-Jesus, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, and Vonnie McLoyd discover that better job quality predicted lower levels of acting-out and withdrawal among children. Perhaps most surprisingly, Anna Gassman-Pines, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, and Sandra Nay note that as wages for these workers rose, so did their marriage rates, suggesting that those worried about family values should also be concerned with alleviating poverty in America. It is too simplistic to say that parental work is either “good” or “bad” for children. Making It Work gives a nuanced view of how job quality, flexibility, and wages are of the utmost importance for the well-being of low-income parents and children.

Americanized Rebel Without a Green Card

Author: Sara Saedi
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 1524717819
Format: PDF
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The hilarious, poignant, and true story of one teens's experience growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East, perfect for fans of Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham's books. At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn't learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn't because she didn't have a Social Security number. Fear of deportation kept Sara up at night, but it didn't keep her from being a teenager. She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend. Americanized follows Sara's progress toward getting her green card, but that's only a portion of her experiences as an Iranian-"American" teenager. From discovering that her parents secretly divorced to facilitate her mother's green card application to learning how to tame her unibrow, Sara pivots gracefully from the terrifying prospect that she might be kicked out of the country at any time to the almost-as-terrifying possibility that she might be the only one of her friends without a date to the prom. This moving, often hilarious story is for anyone who has ever shared either fear. “Very funny but never flippant, Saedi mixes ‘90s pop culture references, adolescent angst and Iranian history into an intimate, informative narrative that thoroughly defies current divisive view on immigration.”--The New York Times "With gumption, Saedi draws from her American-ness and Iranian-ness for a successful depiction of immigrant life in the U.S.: a must-read."--Kirkus, starred review "[Saedi's] encouraging advice for undocumented immigrants is invaluable, honest, and heartfelt. This irresistible and timely memoir is hard to put down."--Booklist, starred review "[Saedi's] chatty and comic voice offers surprisingly effective irony in the exploration of her life as an undocumented kid. This is an encounter with a family that many readers will understand and others will long to be a part of, and it may inspire them to reconsider and chronicle their own family tales."--The Bulletin, starred review "Readers will laugh, cry, and empathize with Saedi's adolescent journey as an undocumented Iranian immigrant living in the United States. This book will keep readers fully entertained while pushing them to deeper cultural understandings."--SLJ, starred review

Fragile Families

Author: Naomi Glenn-Levin Rodriguez
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812249380
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Fragile Families examines the precarious position of Latina/o families who are simultaneously caught up in systems of child welfare and immigration enforcement, focusing on the central role of child welfare decision-making in producing and maintaining boundaries of citizenship, race, and national belonging in the United States.