More than Five Million Children in the United States Have Unauthorized Immigrant Parents, Research Finds


More than five million children in the United States are growing up with unauthorized immigrant parents and it places them at a disadvantage, according to research.

Growing up with unauthorized immigrant parents means children are more likely to be exposed to poverty, limited English and lower preschool enrollment, states the Migration Policy Institute.

As many as a quarter of all children in the United States under eight-years-old are from immigrant families.

About 30 percent of these children grow up with unauthorized immigrant parents. Most of these children were born in the United States and are citizens.

Dad and daughter having a thumb war

More than five million children have unauthorized immigrant parents

However, they grow up with the uncertainty of knowing that one or both of their parents may be deported. Many of these kids enter schools with unique needs that are different from those of U.S children overall.

Their challenges are different from those of children of lawful immigrants.

The report stresses they may face “linguistic isolation.” They are growing up in households that lack English proficiency and it affects their progress.

About 27 percent of children with unauthorized immigrant parents are limited English proficient. That compares with 16 percent of children of all immigrants.

The research from the Migration Policy Institute found the children of undocumented parents are far more likely to grow up in high poverty levels. While many children of immigrants fare well in the United States, it is not the same for children of unauthorized immigrant parents who are not legally able to work.

As many as three-quarters of children with undocumented parents are from low-income families at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. This compares to 51 percent of all children of immigrants and 40 percent of all children in the United States.

The report suggests a lack of advancement into higher-paying jobs for children of undocumented immigrants stems, in part, from their parents’ unauthorized legal status.

Last year, a report from the Pew Center found the percentage of children of undocumented immigrants is increasing in schools.

In 2014, about 3.9 million kindergarten through 12th-grade students were from undocumented families.

This was more than 7.3 percent of the total school population. The figures reflected an increase since the end of the recession in 2009 when these students numbered 3.6 million and accounted for 6.6 percent of the total.

At Peek Law Group , we fight deportations and aim to give families a more certain and hopeful futures.

If you require help with an immigration matter in Austin or elsewhere in Texas, please call us for a consultation at  (512) 399-2311.

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