A recent study looked at the early development of children born to illegal immigrants in New York City. The findings say that while the children are American citizens, they suffer because their parents are reluctant to use public services. Many in the larger society view the parents as lawbreakers.
Many of the children suffer from development and education deficits. By the time the children of illegal immigrants reach age 2, they show lower levels of language and mental development than the children of legal immigrants and native-born parents.
About four million children of illegal immigrants are American-born citizens.
The study looked at the babies of Dominican, Chinese and Mexican parents living in New York City. It said fear of deportation or ignorance prevents parents from seeking help from the government and helping agencies. Further, poor living conditions and low earnings cause stress. This is true even in New York City, which is friendly to immigrants.
Community based organizations provide counseling and assistance in getting public services, such as food stamps and day care. The study said parents must seek aid for their children to help them succeed.