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NY Children of Color, Immigrants Being Left Behind

Nationally, incomes of immigrant families with children are 20 percent less than U.S.-born families. (Shawn 1/Pixabay)
Nationally, incomes of immigrant families with children are 20 percent less than U.S.-born families. (Shawn 1/Pixabay)
October 24, 2017

NEW YORK – Wide disparities in opportunities and achievement for children of color persist in New York and nationwide, according to a new report.

The "2017 Race for Results" report, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows that there continue to be wide achievement gaps between white children and African- American, Latino, and immigrant children.

According to Roberto Frugone, with the NALEO Educational Fund, poverty, limited educational opportunities, access to health care and immigration status are stressors that can have a big impact on a child's ability to succeed.

"When a child is able to have less stress in their life and have less stress in their family, it's easier for them to be able to focus on the things that will make them thrive," he explains.

On a 1,000-point index of composite educational, health and economic well-being, African-American and Latino children in New York came in at just over 400 while white and Asian and Pacific Islander children were over 700.

This year's report also includes data on children of immigrants. And Laura Speer, the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, says nationally, one-in-four of such children live below the federal poverty line.

"Only 47 percent of kids in immigrant families live in households with sufficient income, even though the majority of immigrant parents are in the workforce," she notes.

There are almost 1.5 million children in immigrant families in New York.

But the current crackdown on undocumented immigrants and the threat of discontinuing protected status for those who arrived as children are having a negative impact. Frugone points out that one key to success is keeping families together.

"Making sure that they're focused on developing a strong, cohesive unit as opposed to being fearful of having that unit broken up because of deportation or other adverse effects," he says.

The report recommends that policies prioritize child well-being in immigration proceedings, help children achieve developmental milestones and increase economic opportunity for parents.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY