Immigrants Raising Citizens

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, professor of education in Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, talks about the nearly four million children born in this country to undocumented immigrant parents, and looks at how the circumstances they are being raised in adversely influence their development. Immigrants Raising Citizens is based on data from a three-year study of infants from undocumented immigrant families, and includes important implications his findings have for immigration policy, labor law enforcement, and the structure of community services for immigrant families.


Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Comments [16]


I was shocked to hear the interviewer wonder where the birthright to citizenship comes from. I understand a caller not knowing that it's in the constitution and i'm usually pretty lenient about what knowledge people have in general but i was shocked to hear the interviewer pose the question.

on another point, crowded living conditions are not necessarily stressful environments. different cultures have different perceptions of what constitutes crowding. i grew up in an immigrant family where two rooms were shared by five people and it was not stressful. but then again, we weren't facing the threat of deportation. immigration policy is the real stressor if you ask me!

Apr. 26 2011 02:26 PM

I just want to comment about the topic. I was reading the comment you read on air and it looks like whoever wrote it is not very well educated. After 20 years, having gotten an engineering education, paying taxes, I am still waiting for the government to create a path to legalization. If people like the one commenting and other who want to accuse immigrants of everything that is wrong with the country thought a little bit about where they came from, they would be more sympathetic. I am glad we have more educated people from Harvard advocating for this cause.

Apr. 26 2011 02:08 PM

Drew from Brooklyn wrote:

"and all the "illegals" that get fake ssn numbers pay hundreds of millions into SS that they will never collect and which helps keep SS up and running in the black."

So, you are okay with illegals committing another illegal act by getting fake social security numbers? Are you insane? How would you like it if one of these illegals had your ssn? Identity theft is only okay if it is committed by an illegal? I don't get to pick and choose which laws I want to obey, why should they?

Apr. 26 2011 02:06 PM
Aidan from Long Island

It is clear from listening to the show that Leonard Lopate (like most US citizens) is completely unaware of how difficult/impossible it is for undocumented people to obtain legal status. At the end, he asked the guest about how many of the parents in the study became citizens - it is completely impossible for anyone to get working authorization, become a permanent resident and then become a citizen within 3 years. Worse, the law today just closes the door and doesn't let people get work authorization. People seem to think that it is easy to get legal immigration status. Most of those parents and children in the study will only see a change if and when the US becomes a more inclusive country and changes immigration laws.

Apr. 26 2011 02:05 PM
Unheard from NYC

Immigrants aren't the problem. They're just easy to hate. The rich are stealing from us and outsourcing our jobs. How these poor souls deserve all this hate is beyond me. Christian country? Give me a break.

Apr. 26 2011 02:00 PM
much gratitude

I grew up in this country with illegal immigrant parents and consider myself to be a very patriotic American. I love this nation for the opportunities we have been given.

Apr. 26 2011 01:58 PM
Vinny_G from Upper West Side NYC

Even the most intelligent guest loses credibility with me when they answer a question or begin a sentence with the word "so....." What has happened to the protocol of correct grammar and public speaking?

Apr. 26 2011 01:57 PM
genevieve from brooklyn

They do pay taxes....sales tax.

Many of these people are fleeing very dire circumstances.
I think many of us would leave a country if our child's life, health, future was in jeopardy...even if it meant doing something illegal.

Apr. 26 2011 01:55 PM
aaron from harlem

Illegal immigrants do NOT qualify for food stamps, medicaid, or any other significant welfare programs. Your guest needs to make this clear.

Apr. 26 2011 01:53 PM
Drew from Brooklyn

You didn't address the fact that many many "illegals" pay taxes, lots of them - sales tax on everything they buy, and all the "illegals" that get fake ssn numbers pay hundreds of millions into SS that they will never collect and which helps keep SS up and running in the black. I rarely if ever hear any push back on the false claims of "illegals" not paying taxes. It's just plain untrue.

Apr. 26 2011 01:53 PM
marco from New York

I too find the term undocumented immigrant to be intellectually dishonest. With the Mayor begging Albany and Washington for more money (there isn't any) and complaining about the census, someone should take a hard look at why America's immigration policy is so dysfunctional. You don't have to look far, Canada has a far more rational process.

Apr. 26 2011 01:50 PM
Teco from New York

I find it interesting that Mr. Yoshikawa is so interested in these ILLEGAL (yes, they are here illegally) parents and the stress of their low income jobs have on their citizen children. Has he thought about how much stress many UNEMPLOYED CITIZEN parents have these days because they have lost their jobs to these illegal workers. The stress of being a parent and not having a job is much more stressful than having a low paying job. And please spare me the cliche that Americans will not do these jobs. They did for years and are fast losing jobs as more and more industries (particularly in construction) race for the bottom in the low wage war.

Mr. Yoshikawa should observe how almost any construction job in NYC is now being staffed by illegals. Construction used to allow workers to maintain a middle class life but, not anymore. Now contractors just find an unskilled illegal to do the work cheaper and with less quality.

I am a liberal on most every issue but, this one. Because of the politically correct left and the greedy business community, the middle class is slowly being decimated by illegals taking jobs that used to provide a decent life for many Americans.

Apr. 26 2011 01:41 PM

Illegal aliens use food stamps, send their kids to public schools, using our hospitals, taking jobs, etc. Most do this without paying taxes; it isn't fair. Plus, illegal immigrants drive wages down. I am also in support of more aggressive programs to deport illegal immigrants. We are barely able to take care of the legal citizens living here.

Apr. 26 2011 01:40 PM
Here's a thought

Step one: Go home
Step two: Get in line
Step three: Apply for citizenship.

Apr. 26 2011 01:38 PM

I'm going to tune out now because the term "undocumented immigrants" drives me insane.

Please ask your guest about the men who start families here while having another family back in their home country. Don't make these people out to be victims or innocents.

Apr. 26 2011 01:35 PM
A listener

I am in favor of an aggressive program of deportation of illegal immigrants. I also favor closing the loopholes that allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver licenses. I would like the penalties for identity theft to be stiffened. I would also like the penalties for human trafficking to be stiffened.

Apr. 26 2011 12:04 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.