Fear by association: Perceptions of anti-immigrant policy and health outcomes

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The United States is experiencing a renewed period of immigration and immigrant policy activity as well as heightened enforcement of such policies. This intensified activity can affect various aspects of immigrant health, including mental health. We use the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2015 Latino National Health and Immigration Survey (n = 1,493) to examine the relationship between immigration and immigrant policy and Latino health and well-being. We estimate a series of categorical regression models and find that there are negative health consequences associated with Latinos' perceptions of living in states with unfavorable anti-immigration laws, including reporting poor health and problems with mental health. This article builds on the work of public health scholars who have found a link between this heightened policy environment and the mental health of immigrants, yet expands on this research by finding that the health consequences associated with immigration policy extend to Latinos broadly, not just immigrants. These findings are relevant to scholars of immigration and health policy as well as policy makers who should consider these negative effects on the immigrant community during their decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-483
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of health politics, policy and law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-immigrant sentiment
  • Health disparities
  • Immigration policy
  • Latino populations
  • Perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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