Migration and Immigration

Determinants of Migration and Economic Integration. Changes in global labor markets and economic conditions, as well as individual circumstances can alter migration patterns in unanticipated ways. Andrés Villarreal (Soc) investigates the causes of the dramatic decline in Mexico-U.S. migration over the past decade and the associated changes in the profile of migrants arriving in the U.S. His results suggest that a large part of the decline is attributable to lower labor demand for Mexican immigrants in the U.S. during and after the Great Recession. Villarreal also examines the long-term economic integration of immigrants to the U.S. using data linking survey respondents to tax records. He finds a racially differentiated pattern of earnings assimilation: Black and Latinx immigrants are less likely to attain native Whites’ earnings than White and Asian immigrants. He has also studied documentation status and employment stability during and after the Great Recession. At a more micro level, Natalie Bau (Econ) examines how migration decisions in low-income settings may be influenced by marital financial arrangements and by aging parents’ need for support. S. Michael Gaddis (Soc) has examined perceptions of immigrant status and generation based on variations in names in an audit study and showed that respondents make clear assumptions based on these names – and these assumptions may affect employment discrimination against immigrants.


Consequences of Migration Policy and Documentation Status. A key issue in migration research is understanding the effects of migration policy and documentation status in the U.S. for migrants and their families. May Sudhinaraset (CHS) examined the impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on the health outcomes of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) youth in the U.S. She finds that having DACA status is associated with better health and access to care for undocumented young adults. She has also examined immigrants’ cross-border ties and migrants’ sexual and reproductive health in different national contexts. Sudhinaraset and colleagues also study how state-level policies on immigrant safety affect Latinx and Asian immigrants by documentation status. In complementary work, Cecilia Menjívar (Soc) focuses on immigration law and enforcement and Central American immigrants’ economic attainment, health, and well-being. She studies how legal status affects educational aspirations, work conditions, and family composition. Another recent study using data from her survey of immigrants on Temporary Protected Status examines immigrants’ economic attainment and civic engagement. Menjívar is also exploring Latina immigrants’ limited access to the formal health care system and health care through informal networks. Anne Pebley (CHS) and colleagues examine the effects of changes in enforcement across presidential administrations for apprehension, detention, and deportation on patterns of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the U.S.


Migrants’ Health and Well-being. Another key area is the consequences of migration for health and well-being. In his NICHD-funded project, Gilbert Gee (CHS) follows cohorts of Filipino non-migrants and migrants to the U.S. to examine how emigration affects economic success and health outcomes. Randall Kuhn (CHS) has studied the effects of domestic and international migration on the health and well-being of Bangladeshi migrants and their household members, using data from his NICHD-funded projects in Matlab, Bangladesh. This includes a monthly survey of temporary foreign workers during the pandemic. Both Cecilia Menjívar (Soc) and Anne Pebley (CHS) examine immigration to the U.S. from Central America, including the role of violence and political and economic breakdown in generating emigrant flows and the health of Central American immigrants on arrival, in detention, and afterward. Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez (CHS) has shown that a potential driver of emigration in Mexico—violence, and homicide—has led to stagnation in life expectancy for younger men between 2005 and 2015. Donald Treiman (Soc) and Cindy Fan (Geog) both study the consequences of internal migration in China. Treiman investigates the effects of parental migration on left-behind children’s emotional and physical health; Fan has been examining how families choose which family members should migrate from rural to urban areas and the consequences of split family households for family members’ well-being. Kuhn has also examined the role of precarious employment and its consequences for immigrants’ economic vulnerability and health. Several CCPR researchers have examined the occupational stratification of workers, especially immigrants, and its health implications. In an NIH-funded project, Pebley (CHS) and colleagues examine whether Latinx first- and second-generation immigrants are more likely than other groups to do physically strenuous work accounts for their higher rates of functional limitations at middle and older ages. This project builds on research by Jennie Brand (Soc) investigating the role of occupational characteristics, job insecurity, and spells of unemployment on adult health, a topic also examined by Till von Wachter (Econ). Victor Agadjanian (Soc) has directed several large-scale data collection and research projects focused on migration and its impact on sending households and communities in Mozambique, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, and on immigrants’ sexual and reproductive health and economic and psychosocial well-being in Russia. As part of an NICHD-funded P01, Agadjanian investigates the effects of parents’ and family members’ migration on children’s long-term developmental and demographic outcomes in Mexico, Mozambique, and Nepal – all countries with high rates of labor out-migration.