Impact of Deportation on Mental Health, Education Outcomes, and Economic Opportunity for Colorado Kids

August 9, 2018

Executive Summary

Aggressive detention and deportation enforcement of parents results in severe emotional, physical, and mental strain on family members, in particular on the children in those families. Today’s immigration policies are tearing apart families and communities. They deny immigrants human dignity and block them from contributing fully to Colorado’s communities and economic progress. There’s a maze of regulations and barriers with no roadmap to become a citizen. Nationwide, approximately 16.7 million people are living with at least one undocumented family member. In Colorado, about 276,589 residents live with an undocumented family member including an estimated 130,958 children.

Aggressive anti-immigration policies that promote fear and distrust among immigrant communities have serious ramifications that negatively affect child and family health, education outcomes, and economic opportunity, all of which undermines a stable economy and our collective ability to expand widespread prosperity.

One of the many ways that these aspiring Americans contribute to this country is by paying taxes. According to a 2014 analysis, immigrants in Colorado paid $3.3 billion in state, local and federal taxes, and generated nearly $10 billion of spending into the state’s economy. As well, undocumented immigrants paid nearly $140 million in state and local taxes.

As fear about the fate of immigrants and the status of changes to create a common sense immigration process in this country continues to rise, it is important to better understand the shortand long-term impacts that detention and deportation levies on the families that help this country thrive and the costs that are borne by all Coloradans when families are separated.

The purpose of this report is to help inform common sense immigration policies that recognize the hardships and contributions of people living here, keeps families together, and creates a roadmap to citizenship.

This report takes a deeper look into the lives of the children who are left behind when their parent(s) is/are detained and/or deported, and the damaging effects of enforcement on our communities and economy. The data and stories shared in this report are based on surveys from 25 parents who have firsthand experience with deportation. Key findings show that aggressive detention and deportation has a negative impact on children’s mental health, educational achievement, and economic stability.

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