It is increasingly recognized that immigration laws affect immigrants' integration. Most recently there has been growing attention to how immigration enforcement affects families through forced separations caused by deportations and long-term family separations across national borders stemming from unauthorized entry to the United States. However, beyond enforcement, there has been little systematic account of how other provisions of immigration law contribute to family separations. In this article we examine how four key provisions in immigration law, far from creating conditions for immigrant families to reunite, contribute to keeping families apart. As such, these provisions shape, in fundamental ways, the structure and composition of immigrant families. Relying on data from the American Community Survey and ethnographic interviews in Phoenix, Arizona, we find evidence consistent with the premise that immigration laws affect the formation, composition, and structure of immigrant families with potential long-term consequences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science