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Understanding the Consequences of Immigration Policy

As the Biden administration moves to undo many of the Trump administration’s sweeping changes to federal immigration policy, the consequences for immigrant families and communities are still real.

Advocates, policymakers, service providers, and the research community are concerned the recent immigration policy climate has led immigrant families—including those with US citizen children—to forgo assistance that helps them meet their basic needs and to disengage with critical public services. This is particularly alarming in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, in which people of color have disproportionately suffered economic and health-related hardship.

There have been many reports of fear, confusion, and families avoiding assistance programs because of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy changes, and the long-term consequences for families and the ripple effects on communities and the economy have yet to be understood. Urban Institute researchers are investigating the short- and long-term consequences of evolving immigration policy on the well-being of immigrant families and the communities where they live.

Leveraging data and evidence to monitor impacts

Urban Institute researchers are leveraging data and evidence to investigate potential consequences of changes to the “public charge” rule and monitor its effects, such as how it could affect food insecurityhousing securityhealth insurance coverage, and preschool participation among immigrant families.

Urban Institute researchers are also using the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey to understand the health and well-being of immigrant families, including the effects of public charge and other immigration policy changes on their daily lives and their participation in safety net programs. The survey, which monitors changes in individual and family health and well-being in the context of a changing social safety net, will allow researchers to gain insights into how immigrant families are coping with immigration policy developments.

To learn more about Urban’s research initiatives on immigration, please go to the Program on Immigrants and Immigration.

Project Team

Project Team

Hamutal Bernstein, Principal Research Associate and Director, Program on Immigrants and Immigration

Dulce Gonzalez, Research Associate, Health Policy Center

Jennifer Haley, Senior Research Associate, Health Policy Center

Genevieve M. Kenney, Senior Fellow and Co-director, Health Policy Center

Sara McTarnaghan, Senior Research Associate, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center

Elaine Waxman, Senior Fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center

Stephen Zuckerman, Senior Fellow and Co-director, Health Policy Center