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Legacies of Marginalization: System Avoidance among the Adult Children of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States

Citation

Desai, Sarah; Su, Jessica Houston; & Adelman, Robert M. (2020). Legacies of Marginalization: System Avoidance among the Adult Children of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States. International Migration Review, 54(3), 707-39.

Abstract

The threat of deportation shapes the way that unauthorized immigrants and their families interact with social institutions. For example, the adult children of unauthorized immigrants might avoid institutions that keep formal records (“surveilling” institutions) because such institutions could potentially expose their families to deportation. Using intergenerational data from the Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles survey, we examine the relationship between immigrant parents’ authorization status and their adult children’s institutional participation (n = 3,283). Results from Poisson and propensity-weighted regression models suggest that the adult children of unauthorized immigrants were more likely to avoid surveilling institutions, such as formal employment, than those with authorized parents. In contrast, parental immigration status was unrelated to their attachment to non-surveilling institutions, such as community groups or religious organizations. This finding suggests that the adult children of unauthorized immigrants are not systematically disengaged from all institutions but may avoid surveilling institutions in particular due to fear of their family’s deportation. This type of system avoidance may have long-term consequences for their social and economic mobility.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1177/0197918319885640

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

International Migration Review

Author(s)

Desai, Sarah
Su, Jessica Houston
Adelman, Robert M.

Year Published

2020

Volume Number

54

Issue Number

3

Pages

707-39

Reference ID

13005