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Stanford University School of Medicine

Stanford conference to explore relationship between immigration policy and child health

Fernando Mendoza, MD, knows what it's like to grow up in an immigrant family. Though he was born in the United States, his mother grew up in Mexico and his father was born there. As a Stanford pediatrician, Mendoza has encountered countless other children of immigrants and witnessed their struggle.

To examine the health issues that today’s children of immigrants face, Mendoza spearheaded the creation of the Child Health and Immigration Conference, which will be held on the Stanford campus on May 25. By bringing together academics, policymakers and community leaders, Mendoza hopes to create a better understanding of how children’s well-being would be affected by changes in immigration policy.

According to a study at the Pew Research Center, one out of every eight children in California has an undocumented parent. “Policies that would remove those parents would probably be the biggest social disruption that we’ve seen in this country,” Mendoza told me. “We have so much research that says [this] is the worst thing you can do for kids. It impacts not just their well-being and health right now, but their futures as productive adults and citizens.”

“We need to have experts discuss these things so that we can have clarity about what the effects of national immigration policies might be,” he continued.

Among the experts at the conference will be Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center; Bill Hing, JD, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco, and U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), who will bring the on-the-ground Washington perspective with a short appearance via video. A former immigration attorney, Lofgren will discuss congressional movement on immigration policy.

“We all value children,” said Mendoza. “This conference is trying to create common ground around that American value.”

Local readers interested in attending can RVSP at the conference website.

Previously: Stanford Medicine students and faculty share immigration stories and Stanford Medicine's Open Mic: Using music and art to express the human connection
Image by Zara Abraham

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