Immigration advocates say 7,200 Florida children could be harmed if their parents lose Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA - benefits that allow them to stay in the country.
The United States Supreme Court will consider oral arguments Nov. 12 in a case brought by the Trump Administration that would take away those benefits.
The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently joined nearly three dozen organizations and leaders in asking the U.S. Supreme Court, through an amicus brief, to keep the benefits in place.
“Our organization strongly opposes the Trump Administration’s ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As an adolescent medicine physician who frequently works with children with mental health issues, I am certain the fear and stress caused by the ending of this program will harm the mental health of thousands of DACA children in the state of Florida and in the country at large,” said Dr. D. Paul Robinson, President of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a news brief.
“Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome can be caused by simply expecting or hearing about a traumatic event, and the Adverse Childhood Experiences studies done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would predict serious long term harm to the mental and physical health of these children.”
The “friend of the court” brief states:
“The imminent threat of losing DACA protection places children at risk of losing parental nurturance, as well losing income, food security, housing, access to health care, educational opportunities, and the sense of safety and security that is the foundation of healthy child development.”
DACA’s purpose is to protect from deportation immigrant youth who came to the United States as children. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants protection from deportation and a work permit, but expires after two years and is subject to renewal.
The Center for Law and Social Policy or CLASP, estimates cancellation of the program would impact about 250,000 children across the country.
Wendy Cervantes, the director of immigration and immigrant families with CLASP, said the children of these DACA recipients, who are U.S. citizens, would suffer developmentally, psychologically, and economically if their parents lose benefits.
"We know that DACA recipients, their children have better outcomes. And it makes sense, because their parents are not only able to access better jobs, their mental health is better."