We envision a state and nation where immigrant families are safe, together, and able to thrive. We’re fighting for a future where immigrant children are set up to achieve a Healthy start, a Head start, a Fair start, a Safe start and a Moral start in life.
As a border state, Texas’ immigration policy landscape is unique, with federal and state policies intersecting to instill and perpetuate fear in immigrant children, families and their communities. Immigration enforcement is highly visible both on the border and in the interior of the state, securing Texas’ place in the top five states with the highest number of immigrants and immigrant families in detention.
Here, 319,331 children are immigrants, 1 in 4 citizen children live with one or more undocumented family members, and thousands of unaccompanied children are placed with family members or sponsors in Texas every year. These children experience the effects of anti-immigrant policies–ranging from enforcement to limiting access to critical resources–that ultimately threaten their safety, security, and stability.
CDF-Texas leads and collaborates on efforts to overcome the myriad of barriers immigrant children and families face from policies, regulations, and institutions. Our current work includes:
- Child-Focused Advocacy through Leading Immigration Coalitions: CDF-Texas sits on the steering and executive committees for the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Campaign and on the coordinating committee of the Children Thrive Action Network. Together with advocates across the country, we work to lessen the harm of anti-immigrant policies on immigrant children and families and advance policies that support the core values of human dignity, family unity, and child well-being. As a leader in these coalitions, we aim to ground our strategies and priorities in the experiences, voices and needs of immigrant communities in Texas.
- Addressing the Public Charge Chilling Effect: Trump-era changes to the public charge rule revitalized widespread fear and confusion among immigrant families that led many to disenroll their eligible children from much-needed programs like Children’s Medicaid and CHIP—an effect known as the chilling effect. Though the Biden Administration reversed these changes, the chilling effect –which has varied in intensity over the past two decades — remains high. We’re working to reach immigrant families all across Texas with the message that it’s safe to enroll their children in public programs.
- Identifying Service Gaps and Supporting the Needs of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: Unaccompanied children are one of the most vulnerable groups seeking help and protection. In fiscal year 2021 alone, over 15,000 unaccompanied children were released to family or sponsors in Texas. We are working to support continuity of care during their time of transition and beyond by identifying service gaps and collaborating with service providers to ensure that children retain access to needed services.