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Protecting undocumented immigrant mothers from deportation can dramatically improve the mental health of their US citizen children, according to a new study. The research shows that policies targeting undocumented immigrants affect more than the single individual, and carry important implications in the long-term for society as a whole.

The study, published today in Science, focuses on an immigration policy issued by the Obama administration in 2012 called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This program temporarily protected over 780,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation. Researchers analyzed Medicaid claims data from Oregon and found that in that state, the incidence of mental illness dropped by half among children…

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