Panel: A New Era of Immigration Enforcement: Impacts on Children, Workers, and Families
(Population and Migration Issues)

Thursday, November 8, 2018: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Marriott Balcony A - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Julia Gelatt, Migration Policy Institute
Discussants:  Krista Perreira, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Chenoa Allen, University of Wisconsin

Can Immigration Enforcement Affect Worker Engagement and Productivity?
Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, San Diego State University and Francisca M. Antman, University of Colorado, Boulder

President Trump’s election ushered in a new era of intense immigration enforcement. While President Obama had refocused interior enforcement efforts post-2014 on recent illegal border crossers and those with serious criminal convictions, President Trump has emphasized that all unauthorized immigrants should feel at risk of removal. The administration has brought back and emphasized tools to increase local participation in immigration enforcement, such as Secure Communities and 287(g). And, they have begun a new series of worksite enforcement raids, not seen since President George W. Bush. In this context, it is increasingly important to understand how these enforcement changes are playing out, and to build up evidence on how local immigration enforcement affects children, families, and workers alike.

The first paper of this panel provides an overview of changes in immigration enforcement under President Trump. The authors present findings from a year-long, mixed-methods study based on analysis of administrative data and interviews across 15 U.S. communities. The study highlights how ICE activities shifted in 2017, the local policies that limit or augment federal enforcement activities, local trends in total immigration arrests, community impacts of stepped-up enforcement, and how community groups are responding to the new climate.

The second paper focuses on the impacts of worksite enforcement, by examining how such raids affect children’s school performance. Prior work shows that large worksite enforcement raids separate children from their arrested parents, leading to distress among both directly-impacted children and their classmates. The author looks at the impacts of raids in two U.S. communities on the academic performance of children, using a synthetic case-control method. Preliminary results show large declines in district-level math and reading standardized test scores, especially for Limited English Proficiency students.

The third paper also draws on evidence from the last period of high immigration enforcement, and examines how enforcement impacts the healthcare utilization and health of immigrant children and families. Using data from the Current Population Survey and restricted-access data from the National Health Interview Survey, the authors use a differences-in-differences model to analyze how the intensity of local enforcement affects health insurance coverage, healthcare access, and physical and mental health. Preliminary results indicate that enforcement reduces healthcare access and self-rated health for likely-unauthorized immigrants. 

The fourth paper explores how the local intensity and visibility of immigration enforcement affects immigrant workers’ labor market attachment. Specifically, the authors use administrative data on deportations and Current Population Survey data on employment outcomes to examine how rates of deportations from an area, particularly deportations of those without serious criminal convictions, affect immigrant workers’ employment, hours work, absenteeism, and other outcomes. Hypothesizing that perceptions of the threat of deportation may not always perfectly align with deportation rates, the authors also employ Google Trends data to examine how one measure of community fear – Google searches on immigration raids – affect employment outcomes.

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