Current Projects

Evaluating the Impacts of the Tenure and Termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program on Immigrant Young Adults, 2012-2020
Undocumented immigrant youth experience a range of disadvantages linked to their legal precariousness, leading to substantial inequality. This study asks: Do programs that regularize immigrant legal status reduce inequality among immigrant youth and between immigrants and non-immigrants? Alternatively, what happens when rights-granting programs are revoked? The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, implemented in 2012, granted some undocumented youth temporary relief from deportation, along with work authorization and other benefits. In September 2017, a gradual phase-out of the program was announced. DACA’s tenure and subsequent termination provide an unprecedented opportunity to analyze whether, how, and to what extent changes to legal status impact inequality among immigrant youth. This study estimates the impacts of DACA’s tenure using multiple waves of representative statewide data from California. Then, to examine the nested impacts of the program’s creation and termination, and the mechanisms influencing these impacts, the project draws from three waves of the DACA Study, an original longitudinal survey and in-depth interview study of DACA recipients and undocumented non-recipients in California. The findings from this study will inform federal immigration policy discussions, as well as state and local policies seeking to reduce inequality based on immigration status. Papers from this project include:

Immigration Detention and the Intersections of Immigration and Criminal Law
The first of its kind, this original longitudinal and mixed-methods study investigates the impacts of immigration detention and release on the socioeconomic status and wellbeing of detainees. It explores the conditions of confinement within immigrant detention facilities, as well as the impacts of imprisonment (incarceration and immigrant detention) on post-release outcomes. A final component of the study analyzes the collateral consequences of the intersections between criminal and immigration law by  assessing the household and community impacts of long-term immigration detention and deportation. This project also includes analyses of administrative data from the Department of Homeland Security. Papers related to this project include:

Legally Vulnerable Workers Project
A series of papers use survey data representative of 1.64 million low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York to explore the labor market experiences of legally vulnerable individuals (e.g. noncitizens, individuals with a criminal record, etc.). Papers from this study include:

  • Patler, Caitlin, Shannon Gleeson, and Matthias Schonlau. “The Impact of Immigrant Legal Status and Human Capital on Legal Knowledge and Claims-Making in Low Wage and Unregulated Labor Markets.” In Progress.
  • Patler, Caitlin and Angela Carter. “Degrees of Inequality: The Diminished Returns to Education for Workers with a Criminal Record.” In Progress.

Young and Undocumented: The Impacts of Immigration Status on the Incorporation of Immigrant Youth
This mixed-methods dissertation project used survey data analysis, in-depth interviews, and content analysis to documents some of the challenges faced by undocumented immigrant young adults, as well as how these young people resist exclusion and make claims for their rights. Publications from this study include:


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