Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How they Impact Low-Income Households

Authors: Heather Koball, Julia Gelatt, Hamutal Bernstein, Charmaine Runes, and Eleanor Pratt
Publication Date: May 2017

Over seven million U.S. children live with at least one noncitizen parent -- and 80 percent of these children are US-born citizens. Close to 5 million US-citizen children live with an unauthorized immigrant parent, potentially subject to deportation. Research has shown that the deportation of a parent has serious deleterious effects on families—emotional distress, behavioral issues, and economic hardship for children—and that even the threat of deportation can hurt a family’s well-being by causing fear that restricts mobility, access to jobs, and use of public and private supports in times of need. The election of President Trump, with his plans to increase efforts to identify and deport unauthorized immigrants, has signaled a harsher policy environment for immigrant families than in recent years.

In State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How They Impact Low-Income Households , researchers at NCCP, Urban Institute, and Migration Policy Institute looked at how the changing immigration policy environment is likely to affect immigrant families. Specifically, the report examines whether immigrant families living in states that ramped up enforcement of federal policy saw any changes in their material hardship, or how often fear of deportation affected their ability to pay for essentials (such as rent, utilities, or food). Developed with an interactive “State Immigration Policy Resource”, the report highlights important connections between immigration policy enforcement and well-being in immigrant households.

Read the full report here.