Policy Resource

Statement on the Status of DACA

The following statement regarding the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may be attributed to Matthew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE:

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“While debate continues about the status of DACA, what’s often overlooked is the impact these decisions have on the families these young people have formed and particularly the mental well-being of their infants and toddlers. As an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of all infants and toddlers, ZERO TO THREE is gravely concerned about the possible ramifications of family instability resulting from the elimination of DACA.

Babies’ brains make more than a million neural connections each second. Research and clinical experience demonstrate that the earliest relationships and experiences a child has with parents and other caregivers dramatically influence brain development, social-emotional and cognitive skills. Thus the connections between babies and their parents help form the foundation for long-term success in school, health, work and life. Babies thrive when they have secure, nurturing relationships free from stress—exactly the conditions disrupted by the threatened deportation of their parents.

According to recent survey data by Tom K. Wong, Associate Professor at the University of California, San Diego, more than 25 percent of DACA recipients now have at least one child who was born in the U.S. The possible deportation of parents in this program will have significant and long-lasting adverse consequences for their children and our country.

ZERO TO THREE encourages Congress to do the right thing for today’s babies and tomorrow’s leaders.

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