Developmental Risks and Mental Health Consequences of Illegal Status for Children of Migrant Workers

Yael Meir, Michelle Slone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


International migrant labor has grown rapidly over the past few decades and is predicted to increase further in the future (Martin & Zürcher, 2008). Vast numbers of migrant workers have entered host countries on temporary work permits seeking employment opportunities and better life. However, once adjusted to the host country, it may become increasingly difficult to return to the origin country. Therefore, many of them remain in the host country even when they are not in possession of legal documents to stay longer (Lindert, Schuler-Ocak, Heinz, & Priebe, 2008). It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of these undocumented migrant workers are minors, most of whom are similarly undocumented (Lindert et al. 2008). This global phenomenon is of great concern because of its widespread implications at all societal levels including the community, economic, health care, welfare, and childcare areas. However, the effects of these circumstances on the children‟ s wellbeing have been little studied. The negative social environments of undocumented children of illegal migrant workers frequently place them at risk for impaired cognitive, emotional and social development. The present chapter will review the current research literature about this unique population of children and will portray their life circumstances and mental health consequences. Implications of these findings for mental health professionals and public policy makers will be discussed. In addition the chapter will discuss future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImmigrants
Subtitle of host publicationAcculturation, Socioeconomic Challenges and Cultural Psychology
EditorsJudy Ho
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-1-62808-617-1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameImmigration in the 21st Century: Political, Social and Economic Issues
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.


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