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 rescinding provide an important opportunity to understand the links between changes to legal status and inequality among immigrant youth.
This study draws on multiple sources of data including population survey data as well as data from the DACA Longitudinal Study, an original longitudinal survey and in-depth interview study of DACA recipients and undocumented non-recipients in California that I direct.
The findings from this study 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:
- Erin Hamilton, Caitlin Patler, and Paola Langer.* 2021. “The Life Course Timing of Legalization: Evidence from the DACA Program.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World.
- Patler, Caitlin, Erin Hamilton, and Robin Savinar.* 2021. “The Limits of Gaining Rights while Remaining Marginalized: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and the Psychological Wellbeing of Latina/o Undocumented Youth.” Social Forces. 100(1): 246-272
- Hamilton, Erin, Paola Langer*, and Caitlin Patler. “DACA’s Association with Birth Outcomes among Mexican-Origin Mothers in the United States.” Demography. 58(3): 975-985.
- Hamilton, Erin, Caitlin Patler, and Robin Savinar. 2021. “DACA’s Mixed Impacts on Education and Employment among Young Adult Immigrants in California.”Social Problems. 68(3): 675-695
- Patler, Caitlin, Erin Hamilton, Kelsey Meagher,* and Robin Savinar.* 2019. “Uncertainty about DACA May Undermine its Positive Impact on Health for Recipients and their Children.”Health Affairs. 38(5): 738-745.
- Patler, Caitlin and Whitney N. Laster Pirtle. 2018. “From Undocumented to Lawfully Present: Do Changes to Legal Status Impact Psychological Wellbeing Among Latino Immigrant Young Adults?” Social Science & Medicine. 199(1):39-48.
- Patler, Caitlin and Jorge Cabrera. 2015. “From Undocumented to DACAmented: Impacts of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, Three Years Following its Announcement.” 2015. UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (with Dream Team Los Angeles).
Immigration Detention and the Intersections of Immigration and Criminal Law
While an established literature has documented the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, we know far less about immigration detention. This project uses multiple sources of data to investigate immigration detention and enforcement in the United States.
Several of the papers are based on an extensive data collection project involving 1) in-person surveys with nearly 600 detained people, 2) longitudinal surveys/interviews with individuals who were released from detention on bond, and 3) 62 interviews with children and spouses of detained individuals.
I also use administrative data from DHS, acquired through FOIA requests, to further examine US immigration law enforcement. Publications from this project include:
- Patler, Caitlin. In press. “Blurring the Borders of Reentry: Socioeconomic Reintegration among Noncitizens following Release from Immigration Detention.” Social Problems
- Saadi, Altaf, Caitlin Patler, and Maria-Elena de Trinidad Young. In press. “Cumulative Risk of Immigration Prison Conditions on Health Outcomes among Detained Immigrants in California.” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
- Patler, Caitlin and Altaf Saadi. 2021. “Risk of Poor Outcomes with COVID-19 Among Detained Immigrants: A Cross-sectional Study.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 23(4): 863-866.
- Patler, Caitlin, Altaf Saadi, Maria-Elena de Trinidad Young, and Konrad Franco.* In press. “Release from US Immigration Detention May Improve Physical and Psychological Stress and Health: Results from a Two-Wave Panel Study in California.” Social Science & Medicine-Mental Health.
- Patler, Caitlin and Gabriela Gonzalez. “Compounded Vulnerability: The Consequences of Immigration Detention for Institutional Attachment and System Avoidance in Mixed-Immigration Status Families.” Social Problems. 68(4): 886-902.
- Gonzalez, Gabriela and Caitlin Patler. 2021. “The Educational Consequences of Parental Immigration Detention.” Sociological Perspectives. 64(2): 301-320.
- Konrad Franco, Caitlin Patler, and Keramet Reiter. 2020. “Punishing Status and the Punishment Status Quo: Solitary Confinement in U.S. Immigration Detention Facilities, 2013-2017.” Punishment & Society. Online first.
- Patler, Caitlin, Jeffrey O. Sacha, and Nicholas Branic. Online First. “The Black Box within a Black Box: Solitary Confinement Practices in a Subset of U.S. Immigrant Detention Facilities.” Journal of Population Research.
- Patler, Caitlin, Kristina Shull and Katie Dingeman-Cerda. 2019. “Detention and Deportation.” in The Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies, Second Edition., edited by S. J. Gold and S. J. Nawyn. London and New York: Routledge.
- Patler, Caitlin and Nicholas Branic. 2017. “Patterns of Spouse and Child Visitation during Immigration Detention.” RSF: The Russell Sage Journal of the Social Sciences 3(4):18-36.
- Patler, Caitlin and Tanya Golash-Boza. 2017. “The Fiscal and Human Costs of Immigration Detention and Deportation in the United States.” Sociology Compass. 11(11):1-9.
- Patler, Caitlin. “The Economic Impacts of Long-Term Immigration Detention in Southern California.” 2015. UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.
Young and Undocumented: The Impacts of Immigration Status on the Incorporation of Immigrant Youth
This project analyzes some of the challenges faced by undocumented immigrant young adults, how these challenges vary across groups of undocumented young people, and how undocumented young people resist exclusion and make claims for their rights. The project relies on survey data, in-depth interviews, and content analysis. Publications from this study include:
- Erin Hamilton, Caitlin Patler, and Robin Savinar. In press. “Immigrant Legal Status Disparities in Health among 1st– and 1.5-Generation Latinx Immigrants in California.” Population Research and Policy Review. Online first.
- Hamilton, Erin, Caitlin Patler, and Jo Haile. 2019. “Growing up without Status: The Integration of Unauthorized Children and Children of Unauthorized Parents.” Sociology Compass. 13(6): 1-14.
- Patler, Caitlin. 2018. “To Reveal or Conceal: How Diverse Undocumented Youth Navigate Legal Status Disclosure.” Sociological Perspectives. 61(6):857-873.
- Patler, Caitlin. 2018. “Undocumented Disadvantage, Citizen Advantage, or Both? The Comparative Educational Outcomes of Second and 1.5-Generation Latino Young Adults.” International Migration Review. 53(4):1080-1110.
- Patler, Caitlin. 2018. “Citizens but for Papers: Undocumented Youth Organizations, Anti-Deportation Campaigns, and the Boundaries of Belonging.” Social Problems. 65(1): 95-115.
- Patler, Caitlin and Roberto G. Gonzales. 2015. “Framing Citizenship: Media Coverage of Anti-Deportation Cases Led by Undocumented Immigrant Youth Organizations.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 41(9): 1453-74.
- Patler, Caitlin. 2014. “Racialized Illegality: The Convergence of Race and Legal Status among Black, Latino and Asian-American Undocumented Young Adults.” In Carty, Victoria, Rafael Luévano and Tekle Woldemikael, Eds. Scholars and Southern Californian Immigrants in Dialogue: New Conversations in Public Sociology. Lexington Press.
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. 2020. “The Impact of Immigrant Legal Status and Human Capital on Legal Knowledge and Claims-Making in Low Wage and Unregulated Labor Markets.” Social Problems.