Protecting Immigrant Children

​Federal Advocacy

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Protecting Immigrant Children

The Academy is dedicated to the health and well-being of all children – no matter where they or their parents were born. Through its advocacy at the federal level, the AAP advances policies that support, protect and promote immigrant child health.

Family Separation & Detention

In May 2018, the Trump administration announced a new policy that forcibly separated children and parents at the border, a practice that the administration had already been carrying out for months as a way to deter families from migrating to the United States. The Academy was a leading voice in strongly opposing this policy and its detrimental consequences for children's health.

The AAP also urges that family detention is not the solution for family separation. In 2017, the AAP published a policy statement, recommending that no child should be placed in detention, and that even short periods of detention can cause psychological trauma and long-term mental health risks.

  • Visit this webpage for more information and resources on the Academy's federal advocacy efforts relating to family separation and detention. 

Public Charge

A public charge proposal issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could harm immigrant families' willingness to access nutrition support, housing assistance, and health care.

Public charge is a test used to determine if someone can become a permanent U.S. resident. If the rule takes effect, the federal government would consider whether an immigrant has used or is likely to use public benefits, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and housing assistance. It also contains an income threshold such that a family of four making less than $63,000 (250% of the federal poverty level) would find it much more difficult to obtain a green card or visa than a higher income family.

In the United States, one in four children lives in an immigrant family. Many of these children rely on health insurance programs and nutrition assistance programs to grow up healthy. The new proposal could force immigrant parents to choose between keeping their families together in this country or accessing vital health, housing and nutrition programs to stay healthy.

  • Visit this webpage for more information and resources on the Academy's federal advocacy efforts relating to public charge. 

Additional Resources



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