The Impact of Punitive Immigrant Laws on the Health of Latina/o Populations

Edward D. Vargas, Gabriel R. Sanchez, Melina D. Juárez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This study examines how anti-immigrant policies affect the physical health of Latina/os in the United States. Merging two unique datasets: sum of anti-immigrant policies by state from 2005 to 2011 and a 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy nationally representative sample of Latina/os (n = 1,200), we estimate a series of logistic regressions to understand how anti-immigrant legislations are affecting the health of Latina/os. Our modeling approach takes into consideration Latinos’ diverse experience, a context that is widely overlooked in datasets that treat Latina/os as a homogeneous ethnic group. Our findings suggest that an increase in anti-immigrant laws enacted by a state decreases the probability of respondents reporting optimal health, even when controlling for other relevant factors, such as citizenship status, language of interview, and interethnic variation. The implication and significance of this work has tremendous impacts for scholars, policy makers, health service providers, and applied researchers interested in reducing health disparities among minority populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-337
Number of pages26
JournalPolitics and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Alabama HB 56
  • Anti-Immigration Laws
  • Arizona SB 1070
  • Citizenship Status
  • E-Verify
  • Ethnicity and Race
  • Health Disparities
  • Health Issues
  • Health Service Providers
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Immigration Policy
  • Interethnic Variation
  • Latino Populations
  • Measuring Anti-Immigrant Legislation
  • Minority Issues
  • SB 20
  • Self-Reported Health Status
  • South Carolina Senate Bill 20
  • State and Local Politics and Policy
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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