As immigration policy ideas dance around Washington, children’s health rarely enters the discussion. According to Stanford pediatrician Fernando Mendoza, new policies could have a huge impact on the well-being of children with immigrant parents.
“If you make them fearful on a day-to-day basis that their parents are going to be taken away, it causes tremendous stress on children and families,” said Mendoza, a professor of pediatrics at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
Mendoza has gathered experts across Stanford University and throughout California and the United States to address these issues at the Child Health and Immigration Conference on May 25. The panelists will discuss potential impacts at the federal, state and local level and advise communities on how to navigate the effects on children.
“All immigrants are having their place in this country challenged,” said Mendoza. “Whether or not you have a parent who is undocumented, that is detrimental to the well-being of the children of all immigrants.”
According to a study at the Pew Research Center, one out of every eight children in California lives with an undocumented parent.
“Policies that would remove those parents would probably be the biggest social disruption that we’ve seen in this country,” said Mendoza. “We need to have experts discuss these things so that we can have clarity about what the effects of national immigration policies might be.”
Immigration experts Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center, and Bill Hing, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco, will kick off the conference by outlining immigrant family demographics and the legal system for enforcing immigration policy.
They will be followed by panels of experts from Stanford and other academic institutions, policy-makers, and leaders in local health and educational systems.
U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) will bring the on-the-ground Washington perspective with a short appearance via video. A former immigration attorney, she will discuss congressional movement on immigration policy.
Mendoza said, “We all value children. This conference is trying to create common ground around that American value.”
The conference will be held May 25 at Stanford University in Encina Hall’s Bechtel Conference Center from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. To attend, please RSVP here.
The conference is sponsored by Stanford’s Division of General Pediatrics; the Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention; and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.
Fernando Mendoza, General Pediatrics: (650) 725-8314, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Feldman, Stanford Health Policy: (650) 725-3389, email@example.com