U.S. Citizen Children of Undocumented Parents: The Link Between State Immigration Policy and the Health of Latino Children

J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Aug;19(4):913-920. doi: 10.1007/s10903-016-0463-6.


We examine Latino citizen children in mixed-status families and how their physical health status compares to their U.S. citizen, co-ethnic counterparts. We also examine Latino parents' perceptions of state immigration policy and its implications for child health status. Using the 2015 Latino National Health and Immigration Survey (n = 1493), we estimate a series of multivariate ordered logistic regression models with mixed-status family and perceptions of state immigration policy as primary predictors. We find that mixed-status families report worse physical health for their children as compared to their U.S. citizen co-ethnics. We also find that parental perceptions of their states' immigration status further exacerbate health disparities between families. These findings have implications for scholars and policy makers interested in immigrant health, family wellbeing, and health disparities in complex family structures. They contribute to the scholarship on Latino child health and on the erosion of the Latino immigrant health advantage.

Keywords: Health disparities; Immigrant health; Latino child health; Legal status; Mixed-status families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emigration and Immigration / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Undocumented Immigrants / psychology*
  • United States