The Effects of Forced Family Separation in the Rio Grande Valley: A Family Unity, Family Health Research Update
Ockenfels-Martinez, Martha. Satinsky, Sara. Heller, Jonathan.
Human Impact Partners. La Unión del Pueblo Entero.
iv, 65 p.
Published: October 2018
Human Impact Partners
304 12th Street Suite 2B
Oakland, CA 94607
Sponsoring Organization: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Pew Charitable Trusts.
This report presents findings from an assessment of the healthy and equity impacts of children and families who live in the Rio Grande Valley that sits on the southernmost tip of Texas next to Mexico. It begins by explaining because of the Valley’s proximity to the Mexico border, its location in the State of Texas, and the racial and ethnic makeup of its inhabitants, many Valley communities experience day-to-day impacts of anti-immigration policies and anti-Mexican rhetoric in the United States. It notes that 8 out of 10 people in the Valley are of Mexican descent and 2,800 residents were deported from the Rio Grande Valley in 2017. Findings are then reported from in-depth interviews, focus groups, and a survey of more than 200 Rio Grande Valley residents, along with a review of existing research and quantitative estimates of those affected in the Valley. Findings indicate local law enforcement practices threaten family unity, fears of deportation and family separation harm child health, and fears of deportation and family separation harm adult health. Three recommendations are made: prioritize local police resources toward local law enforcement issues instead of assisting immigration officials; increase use of “cite and release” practices during standard traffic stops; and accept alternative forms of identification for traffic stop procedures. 89 references.
CHILD HEALTH; POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER; SEPARATION ANXIETY; CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS; IMMIGRANTS; DEPORTATION; UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN; UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS; US IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE; LAW ENFORCEMENT; DEPORTATION; TEXAS; MEXICO; policy formation; fear