Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. In areas that are fundamental for integration, such as employment, access to higher education, social services, and health care, legal status plays a significant role. While the previous chapter describes the history and current state of immigration policy, a wide body of research has also examined the impact of policy changes on immigrants and their descendants.
These policy changes have contributed to the proliferation of legal statuses, with important consequences for immigrant integration. This chapter reviews the effects of legal status on opportunities for integration and examines the potential long-term consequences for immigrants and their descendants. It begins with a general introduction to the effects of legal status on various aspects of life that are crucial for integration.
It then describes the categories of legal status and the opportunities and obstacles that legal statuses place on pathways to integration. The proliferation of different legal statuses interacts with integration trajectories in many ways, complicating any effort to pinpoint when integration into American society begins for individuals. Increased immigration enforcement and restrictions on access to social benefits by legal status see Chapter 2 channel immigrants either toward integration or, in its absence, to insecurity and dim prospects for the future.
Immigrants living out-of-status or in temporary and discretionary statuses often face policies of deterrence that constrain their lives today as well as their opportunities for the future. As discussed in Chapter 2 , legal status has become increasingly important to immigrant integration. Most immigrants of the past did not face the complexities that the contemporary immigration system poses; when employment opportunities decreased, social programs were implemented to assist immigrants and aid integration Fox, Presence in the country was generally enough to guarantee access to public benefits.
Permanent status is the strongest anchor the law provides because it allows labor mobility, confers significant constitutional rights and access to some public benefits, and can lead to naturalization provided that the LPR meets a set of additional requirements.
Temporary statuses include a variety of employment-based and humanitarian-based admissions that confer lawful presence for limited periods of time, which are subject to review by Congress.
Discretionary statuses grant temporary lawful status via executive discretion and as such can be terminated at any time. Although discretionary statuses provide temporary protection from removal, provided that holders meet certain requirements related to behavior and practices, these statuses grant the least degree of formal security.
Undocumented status offers no formal security at all, provides only some civil and labor rights, and poses a significant barrier for immigrant integration Jones-Correa and de Graauw, While undocumented status is technically not a step toward legalization, in reality this status is where some immigrants start or, more significantly, where many find themselves at some point in the legalization process.
In consequence, this category is particularly dynamic and fluid. There are two aspects of the current immigration system that magnify the importance of legal status today and its effects for the prospects of immigrant integration. First, on the legislative side there has been an expansion of temporary legal statuses with indefinite periods of extension as well as long waiting lines and backlogs for applications, particularly those submitted through family reunification, to be reviewed and adjudicated.
This means that many immigrants who are legally present but lack LPR status, see Chapter 2 may spend years, sometimes even decades, in uncertain situations, often lacking access to a range of social benefits. All legal statuses short of citizenship, including LPR, are intentionally designed to be temporary.
Many people move through two or more statuses over the course of their lifetimes or even within a few years, although there is currently little data on the scale and length of these transitions see Chapter 10 for further discussion of data needs and recommendations.
Second, on the enforcement side, since the s new strategies have expanded enforcement into the interior of the country, beyond the border with Mexico Kanstroom, ; Massey, More intensive and extensive enforcement strategies mean that individuals with less than permanent status face risk of deportation, and depending on local and state-level laws, they may also find their social rights severely curtailed.
In several geographic areas throughout the country, enforcement has expanded to include a variety of public spaces, such as in traffic or on public transportation Armenta, ; Ellis et al. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that approximately 13 percent of undocumented immigrants will be considered enforcement priorities under the new program, compared to 27 percent under the previous guidelines for more details, see Rosenblum, Dual intent worker a H-1B, etc.
Indian tribe. Applicants must have originally enlisted in the U. Armed Forces outside the U. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS. The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to any one of the following temporary conditions in the country:.
During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases prima facie eligible. Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by the U. This period varies by country and is determined by DHS. Reregistration periods vary from 16 months to 3. Applicants who came to the U.
They are also eligible for work authorization. An applicant may request DACA if the individual. This expansion is currently blocked by federal court order. Applicants who are undocumented individuals living in the U. An applicant can request deferred action and employment authorization if the applicant:. Enforcement priorities include but are not limited to national security and public safety threats. This status is currently blocked by the federal court order.
In most cases, an employer must sponsor the individual. However, there is no cap for family members deriving status from the principal applicant, such as spouses, children, or other eligible family members. The first 20, petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities, a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap. Beginning in May , H-4 dependent spouses whose spouses had begun the process of seeking LPR status were permitted to apply for work authorization.
These visa categories are F-2, M-2, and J In addition, individuals in some of these categories may apply for nonimmigrant visas with regulatory pathways to lawful permanent residence.
As discussed in detail in Chapter 4 , only naturalized citizens are allowed to vote and fully participate in the U. Legal status also defines access to social services Capps et al. Undocumented immigrants and those who are less than permanent residents are ineligible for medical care coverage, except emergency care and childbirth services.
Immigrants in undocumented status or some temporary statuses, such as those who fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA , are not eligible for health care benefits through the Affordable Care Act 2 see Chapter 9. The barriers immigrants face in accessing health care affect their children Balcazar et al. Legal status also impacts housing, including ownership McConnell, , , which has consequences for the neighborhoods in which immigrants live and the schools their children attend, as well as for housing conditions and overcrowding Drever and Blue, ; McConnell, ; McConnell and Marcelli, Although all children in the United.
Legal status also dictates the kind of jobs immigrants can obtain and the wages they can earn Donato et al. Immigrants with postsecondary education or even professional degrees who are undocumented are often concentrated. Undocumented status in particular prevents them from acquiring jobs that are consistent with their expertise and degrees, potentially thwarting paths to socioeconomic mobility. The lack of labor rights associated with temporary visas and insecure legal status also negatively affects the occupational status and wages of immigrants Gentsch and Massey, Finally, all legal statuses short of citizenship are now subject to deportation due to changes in the law that make even LPRs deportable see Chapter 2.
The complexities of the immigration system may themselves be barriers to integration Table The effects of legal status on integration also vary as status intersects with other social markers, such as gender, age, and national origin. They also differ by geography because states and localities vary in both enforcement practices and restrictions on various social welfare and civic benefits imposed on immigrants see Chapter 2.
For instance, 91 percent of deportees are men Rosenblum and McCabe, Among Mexican nationals, 92 percent of those deported between who had lived in the United States for more than a year were male, and among these, 72 percent were heads of households Mexican Migration Monitor, Meanwhile, spouses of many temporary workers are prevented from accessing employment, a policy that disproportionately affects women.
National origin, as it intersects with enforcement practices, matters too. Ninety-one percent of the deported come from only four countries— El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico—even though nationals from these countries make up just 73 percent of the undocumented population Rosenblum and McCabe, In public discourse about immigration, undocumented immigrants are often conflated with Latinos, leading to racial profiling and discrimination that creates even higher barriers to integration Chavez, ; ; Stumpf, ; Heyman, Generation also matters, as young immigrants the 1.
These effects vary by state and local residence, as states and localities have some leeway when it comes to administering social welfare programs and limiting employment and educational opportunities for immigrants. The effects of legal status on immigrant integration reverberate beyond the individuals who hold these statuses, with consequences beyond the immigrant generation.
Mixed-status families take several forms. Many include undocumented parents and U. Mixed-status families also include unauthorized spouses of either citizens or LPRs who are barred from legal status because of the 3- and year bars set out in the IIRIRA for immigrants who entered the country without inspection Migration Policy Institute, In , 5.
The vast majority of these children—4. Children with undocumented parents constitute nearly one-third of all children of immigrant parents and about 8 percent of all U. Mixed-status families present a unique opportunity to gauge the effects of legal status on short- and long-term patterns of immigrant incorporation as well as to capture the ripple effects of legal status beyond individuals and into the second generation.
Children or spouses who are U. In this way, the U. Immigrant parents of U. By these means, the younger generation develops a sense of citizenship and provides paths for the rest of the family to advance their integration. However, when parents are undocumented, their U. Such negative effects include increased vulnerability of the parents and destabilization of the family Thronson, , increased risk of living in a one-parent household, and losses in income Dreby, ; Landale et al.
Thus, mixed-status families are also more likely to be impoverished than other families Fix and Zimmerman, Even after controlling for measured and unmeasured factors that select into legalization, the adult second generation, Mexican American children whose parents remained undocumented attained 1.
This substantially diminishes the life chances of higher generation Mexican Americans, because such deficits are intergenerationally transmitted to children. Research in the area of child development shows that the legal status of parents also affects the developmental context of U. By adolescence, having an undocumented parent is associated with higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms Potochnick and Perreira, These detrimental effects may occur through a variety of mechanisms.
Parents may not access means-tested programs for their citizen children due to concerns about showing proof of earnings, which might identify their employers.