Immigration and Health in Latinos: How Deportations Are Linked to Child Mental Health Problems
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In this manuscript, we examine how Latino’s personal connections to deportees are linked to their children’s mental health. Using a groundbreaking survey sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico (n=1,493), we asked adults about their connections to undocumented immigrants and deportees. We also asked these adults 1) if their child has ever been referred for testing because of a learning disorder or because he/she could not concentrate, and 2) if their child has ever been diagnosed with a developmental disorder such as ADHD, autism, or language impairment. We estimated a series of logistic regressions to understand how Latino parents’ personal connections to undocumented immigrants and deportees are associated with their child’s mental health outcomes.
Preliminary findings show that knowing a deportee increases the probability of a child being referred for a learning disorder, holding all else constant. We also find that knowing a deportee increases the odds of a child being diagnosed for a developmental disorder. Additionally, the number and types of relationships with deportees matter. Knowing more individuals who have been deported, and having a closer family tie to an individual that has been deported, are both strongly associated with a child being referred and/or diagnosed with mental health problems. Importantly, these effects were present in foreign, native, and mixed-status families. These findings suggest that the personal connections to undocumented immigrants for all Latinos, regardless of citizenship status, affect the well-being of their children. This work has tremendous implications and significance for policy makers, health service providers, and researchers interested in reducing health disparities among minority families.