Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Department or Program Chair

Andrea Boyle, PhD, FNAP

First Reader

Olivia Catolico PhD, MS, RN, CNL, BC


The purpose of this paper is to review studies that have assessed how undocumented parents’ legal status have affected their United States citizen-children’s health. This issue involves nurses from different specialties, such as pediatric nursing, mental health nursing and community health nursing. Eight articles were reviewed in regard to how parental legal status affects the child’s access to healthcare services, the child’s physical health and the child’s mental health. The articles revealed that citizen-children of undocumented parents had limited access to health care services, had poorer health, and had higher chances of having mental health illnesses. The paper provided implementations from the studies to address the issue. Implementations included: changing policies, providing resources and addressing the needs of this population, and paying close clinical attention to the children who have experienced parental detention or deportation. Hopefully, this will raise awareness to the issues that citizen-children face and policies will be changed to cause less harm to the children.