Immigration policy should make children a priority

The Obama administration has offered a temporary reprieve from deportation for up to 1 and 3/4 million immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Whatever the immediate merits of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, it signals a much broader principle all immigrant receiving countries should recognize: children experience migration differently than adults, and  public policy can create both great opportunity and great risks for their long-run capacity to become independent and successful adults.

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The sad, sad story of the UNICEF Child Poverty Report and its critics

David Morely, UNICEF Canada’s Executive Director, has just issued a bold challenge. “It is clearly time for Canada to prioritize children when planning budgets and spending our nation’s resources, even in tough economic times,” says a press release announcing the publication of a report on child poverty.

In fact, the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card released today is the 10th in a regular series on child poverty in rich countries, each report hitting the headlines every second year or so.

Sadly, when it comes to discussions of child poverty kick-started by these reports there are two things that are not new: the conclusions; and the reaction of pundits and many policy makers. I say “sadly” because the two are not linked, and public policy discussion is not the better.

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How to give children the vote

The right to vote is an inherent right of all citizens, and the first and most important marker of the capacity to participate in the setting of social priorities.

Children should be given that right from birth. But until they reach the age of majority it should be exercised by proxy with the custodial parent or parents given an extra vote for every child under their guardianship.

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Three policies to promote the dignity and rights of children

On April 19th 2012 I made a presentation called “Promoting the dignity and rights of children” to the Dignity for All campaign summit held in Ottawa Canada. The presentation offered three policy recommendations to the Federal government that if undertaken would improve the well-being of children and respect their rights as citizens.

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