A new paper in JAMA Pediatrics correlates US immigration policy to adverse mental health outcomes in kids who are not immigrants at all - but their parents were.

There are confounders. The data were small, distilled from a group of 397 U.S.-born adolescents with at least one immigrant parent from a long-term study of Mexican farmworker families in just one area, the Salinas Valley of California, just south of Berkeley. These were self-reported claims about mental health by teenagers and there was an increase after the 2016 election even though the previous administration had the same policies.

That stated, the authors found associations between adolescent self-reported concerns about immigration policy collected at age 16 on an assessment tool and changes in their mental and physical health before (when they were 14) and in the first year after the 2016 election (when they were 16).

Nearly half of the adolescents were worried at least sometimes about the personal consequences of U.S. immigration policy, family separation because of deportation, and being reported to the immigration office even though they are citizens. High (versus low or moderate) scores on the assessment about concerns over immigration policy were associated with higher anxiety and worse sleep scores. A limitation of the study to consider is that researchers didn't know the immigration status of parents.