Parenting in the Context of Deportation Risk

A new study undertaken in collaboration between the University of Houston and University of Texas at Austin interviews 40 undocumented Latino parents to better understand their experiences living as parents at deportation risk in Texas. It is estimated that 6 million of the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United States are parents of minor children. Undocumented status means they do not have the legal paperwork required to get a formal job and are unable to access many resources provided by the state and federal governments. In addition to restrictions from work and government services, parents at deportation risk live each day with the threat of deportation and ultimately, the possibility of separation from their children. Deportations disproportionately impact the Latino community – 96% of all people deported were from Latin America and the majority of children with at least one undocumented parent are Latino, mostly from Mexico (70%) and other Latin American countries (17%). How does the threat of deportation impact their everyday lives and parenting decisions?

Key findings from the study include:

  • 15% of parents reported long-term
    separation from their children
  • Higher parenting stress is associated
    with more severe depressive symptoms
    in undocumented parents
  • Almost a quarter of the parents (23%)
    reported that their children hoped to
    fix their legal status for them
  • 50% of parents did not have an explicit
    plan for the care of their children in the
    event of deportation

Parents at Deportation Risk
Parenting in the Context of Deportation Risk