Children Need Safety, Security, and Stability: How Immigration Enforcement Policies Harm Children

February 10, 2022 | National

Esther Reyes & Mina Dixon Davis

This blog post is cross-posted from the CDF-Texas Blog 

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. CDF’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

At the heart of this mission is CDF’s work at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice. For children in immigrant families specifically, this work involves child-focused advocacy on immigration and other intersecting policies that impact their development and well-being. 

We’re excited to introduce a blog series outlining immigration enforcement policies that undermine the ability of children in mixed-status immigrant families to thrive. These policies threaten children’s sense of safety, security, and stability, which are foundational to healthy development. 

While not exhaustive, the policies we will explore in the coming months are rarely in the spotlight yet profoundly shape children’s journeys. Deeply rooted in xenophobic and racist structures, these policies jeopardize family unity; isolate children and their communities; and limit children and their caregivers’ access to resources and opportunities to grow and thrive. 

Along the way, we will highlight the stories and voices of families, youth, community organizers, advocates, and others who form part of a long history of collective struggle for justice marked by strength, tenacity, resilience, victory, and joy. 

We honor that history and the millions of lives, past and present, whose journeys toward finding protection and opportunity have been compromised by anti-immigrant policies. And we invite you to join us in the struggle to transform and re-envision these policies into systems that support core values of human dignity, family unity, and child well-being. 

To follow along, watch this space by signing up for our newsletter, or by following us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.


Esther Reyes

Director of Immigration Policy & Advocacy

Mina Dixon Davis

Policy Associate (CDF National)

Among the policies and policy areas we will explore in this series are: Zero Tolerance Policy; Worksite Raids; Title 42; Migrant Protection Protocols; 287(g); Deportation Prioritizations; Operation Lonestar; Family and Immigrant Detention; Border Enforcement.