Race and Social Problems

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 293–305 | Cite as

Variations in Citizenship Profiling by Generational Status: Individual and Neighborhood Characteristics of Latina/os Questioned by Law Enforcement About Their Legal Status

  • Maria Cristina MoralesEmail author
  • Denise Delgado
  • Theodore Curry


Although racial profiling is widely studied, the related issue of citizenship profiling by law enforcement has received little scholarly attention. In this study we begin to address citizenship profiling, which may be highly salient in light of the increasing policing of immigration in the United States through Secure Communities and other federal, state and local efforts to localize the enforcement of immigration laws. Using a sample of 563 Latina/o adults residing in 46 neighborhoods in El Paso County, Texas, USA, we assess the impacts of a variety of individual and neighborhood characteristics on the likelihood of being questioned about citizenship status by law enforcement. Results using hierarchical generalized linear models (HGLMs) show that, at the individual-level, first-generation Latina/o immigrants and second-Latina/os are more likely to be questioned about citizenship status than third- and later-generation Latina/os. At the neighborhood-level, living in a neighborhood with a mid-level of Latina/o immigrant characteristics increased the probability of being questioned. The implications of these findings for citizenship profiling are discussed.


Citizenship profiling Latina/os Immigrant neighborhoods Generational status Policing 



We want to thank Harmon Hosch for his involvement in the data collection and Josiah Heyman for his thoughtful comments.


The data used in this study is based on the El Paso Neighborhood Survey funded by the National Science Foundation (Award 1251897, PI-Theodore Curry, Co-PI Maria Cristina Morales, and Co-PI Harmon Hosch) examining the immigration crime paradox.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Cristina Morales
    • 1
    Email author
  • Denise Delgado
    • 1
  • Theodore Curry
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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