Public health experts in Texas are concerned that a growing number of American children are forgoing services like Medicaid and food stamps because their parents are undocumented. The trend could get worse, they say, if a proposed change to immigration policy goes through.
Vela is an east Austin nonprofit that provides free courses and support groups to parents who have children with disabilities. Maria Hernandez, the group’s founder and executive director, says she helps parents from 55 different ZIP codes in the area and the majority are immigrants.
“About 70 percent are immigrant families, mostly from Mexico,” she says. “And so we’re working with families [where] the parents are immigrant, but the children are born here.”