Taking Status Apart: How the Citizenship and Legal Status of Immigrant Parents Affects the Wellbeing of Their U.S.-born Children

Awarded Scholars:
Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles
Project Date:
Dec 2019
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Immigration and Immigrant Integration

Legal status shapes resources that immigrant parents can mobilize to benefit their families. Thus, legal vulnerability can affect immigrant parents and their children, including the U.S.-born. Due to data limitations on immigrant parents’ documentation status, we know relatively little about the extent to which parents’ legal status shapes the wellbeing of their children and the extent to which status effects intersect with contextual environments and differ by ethnic group and developmental stage. Building on the theoretical framework and empirical findings from his 2018 RSF co-authored book, Origins and Destinations: The Making of the Second Generation, sociologist Roger Waldinger will examine the effects of parents’ legal status on a variety of children’s outcomes, including their physical health, mental health, academic performance and aspirations, perceptions of opportunities, perceptions of safety, and social insertion in their schools and communities. He will consider differences by ethnicity and developmental stage and the intersection of legal status with neighborhood and ethnic group-level characteristics. Waldinger will analyze data from the restricted-use California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), a large-scale, high quality survey of California households, carried out in seven languages and covering residents’ socioeconomic wellbeing, health conditions, and, importantly, citizenship and detailed legal status (distinguishing among naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents (LPR), authorized temporary residents, and undocumented persons).



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