Immigration Reform

The recently-reported results of a study on the impact of immigration raids on the health of already-vulnerable undocumented immigrants are disturbing, but perhaps not surprising. Almost 500 undocumented Latinos living in Washtenaw County in Michigan were surveyed in 2013 and 2014 in a study by the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Over 83 percent of those surveyed were born in Central America or Mexico.

The initial questioning of immigrants in the community was done prior to a raid on a mechanic shop. Over 55 percent of those surveyed described their health as very good or excellent prior to the raid. After the raid, on average only 51 of respondents described their health that way. A larger drop was reported by women and those under 18.

Immigration Raids Increase Stress and Depression, Particularly for Parents

Obviously, part of the drop can be ascribed to the stress caused by immigration raids. However, the report noted that these raids tend to make undocumented immigrants less likely to seek health care and other support services. Some respondents stated that they feared being deported it they sought assistance.

The report notes that immigration raids can cause "depression, anxiety and trauma." This is not surprising considering that members of the community reported being ordered by officers pointing guns to drop to the ground, even if they were holding infants. Some expressed concern about the potential psychological effects of these raids on their children.

What Impact Will the Results of the 2016 Presidential Race Have?

Immigration is certainly one of the hot-button issues in the 2016 presidential campaign. Both Democratic candidates have called for an end to these raids across the country. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton said she supports "a longer-term comprehensive solution to the challenge of violence in Central America that causes so many people to make the treacherous journey north."

The number of raids has increased this year. However Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says that his agency is working with the Justice Department to help ensure that children are provided with legal representation during immigration hearings.

There are a number of legal resources for those seeking assistance with immigration issues. If you have a friend or loved one who needs assistance, an immigration attorney can provide guidance and work to help protect his or her rights.

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