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Supreme Court Ruling Could Put Immigrants Deeper into Shadows

By Roberto Gonzales on June 23, 2016 3:53 PM
This article originally appeared in "The Boston Globe."

In the United States v. Texas, he Supreme Court decided, by a tied vote, to uphold the decision of the lower courts, blocking President Obama’s administrative actions on immigration and placing the futures of more than 5 million immigrants in limbo. This decision is a giant setback for the nation.

For nearly 15 years I have been studying the effects of long-term life in the shadows. The links between undocumented status and present and future outcomes are irrefutably and overwhelmingly negative for immigrant families and the community at large. Life narrowly circumscribed by legal limitations enacts a physical, emotional, and financial toll. Work options are limited to unstable, dangerous jobs, and many people experience health problems as a result. Chronic back pain and joint aches are just a couple of symptoms of this unhealthy system. Depressed wages create financial hardships that ripple across families, communities, and our nation’s economy. Children bear the biggest burden. Housing and food security go hand-in-hand with limited economic means. And when parents are ripped away without warning, children experience severe emotional trauma.

With the Supreme Court ruling, immigrants and their families risk being driven deeper into the shadows, fearful of a growing deportation regime that has banished nearly three million immigrants during Obama’s presidency alone. The seeds of fear and distrust of authorities make immigrants vulnerable to workplace and wage abuses and increase their likelihood to become victims of crime. When parents live in the shadows it curbs children’s access to health care and critical services. About 85 percent of all children with parents who would have been eligible for deferred action are US citizens who are otherwise entitled to these programs...

Read more at The Boston Globe.