We Must Help the Children of Immigrants Succeed
The children of immigrants - mostly Hispanic and almost all U.S. citizens - account for the majority of growth in Arkansas's child population in the last decade. The same is true nationally. So any discussion of the Arkansas' economic future - or that of the entire country - must consider the challenges that children of immigrants face, including higher rates of poverty of school dropout and lack of access to health insurance. A new report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families outlines how those challenges affect the children of immigrants and the policy changes Arkansas can implement to improve the opportunities available to them.
According to the report, the children of immigrants are 40 percent more likely to be living in poverty or low-income households than children of native U.S. citizens, which means they're also more likely to start out or fall behind their peers, have less access to health care and more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. In order to build a stable economic future we must ensure that all kids have access to the resources they need to succeed.
The report offers several policy solutions, including extending ARKids First (a Medicaid insurance plan for children in low-income families) to all lawfully residing children who weren't born in the U.S., passing a state-level DREAM Act, increasing funding for high-quality pre-k to help children of immigrants learn English before starting Kindergarten, and providing more outreach to immigrant families whose children will benefit from these policies.