Advocates and experts today turned a spotlight on children of immigrants and children who are themselves immigrants, and why they need Congress to create a path to citizenship.

“The American people believe that all federal policy should be based on a “best interest of the child” standard, and it’s really critical that immigration not be an exception,” said Miriam Abaya, First Focus on Children’s Senior Director of Immigration during the second day of Children’s Week 2021.

Panel participant Wendy Cervantes, Director of Immigration and Immigrant Families at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) briefed viewers on who these children are, how programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protect them, and on bills before Congress, such as the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R.6), that would deliver meaningful benefits to them.

Farmworker youth and families, many of whom are immigrants, also face obstacles to their health and development. Norma Flores Lopez, Chief Programs Officer at Justice for Migrant Women, discussed the role of these children and families in our economy as essential workers and the tremendous impact the pandemic has had on them. She notes the importance of passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603), which creates a path to citizenship for agricultural workers, more than half of whom have children in the United States.

The panelists focused on how a clearly defined path to citizenship for these groups would improve children’s lives and nurture their development.

To see all Children’s Week events, spanning June 13 to June 19, visit this link.

Fast Facts about children and immigration: