Local-Level Immigration Enforcement and Food Insecurity Risk among Hispanic Immigrant Families with Children: National-Level Evidence


Local-level immigration enforcement generates fear and reduces social service use among Hispanic immigrant families but the health impacts are largely unknown. We examine the consequence of 287(g), the foundational enforcement program, for one critical risk factor of child health—food insecurity. We analyze nationally representative data on households with children from pooled cross-sections of the Current Population Survey Food Supplemental Survey. We identify the influence of 287(g) on food insecurity pre-post-policy accounting for metro-area and year fixed-effects. We find that 287(g) is associated with a 10 percentage point increase in the food insecurity risk of Mexican non-citizen households with children, the group most vulnerable to 287(g). We find no evidence of spillover effects on the broader Hispanic community. Our results suggest that local immigration enforcement policies have unintended consequences. Although 287(g) has ended, other federal-local immigration enforcement partnerships persist, which makes these findings highly policy relevant.

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We thank Juan Pedroza for his thoughtful insight and support.

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Correspondence to Stephanie Potochnick.

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Potochnick, S., Chen, J. & Perreira, K. Local-Level Immigration Enforcement and Food Insecurity Risk among Hispanic Immigrant Families with Children: National-Level Evidence. J Immigrant Minority Health 19, 1042–1049 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-016-0464-5

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  • Immigrant health
  • Local immigration policy
  • Food insecurity