June 2017

IZA DP No. 10850: Immigration Enforcement and Foster Care Placements

Tougher immigration enforcement has been responsible for approximately 1.8 million deportations between 2009 and 2013 alone. Children enter the foster care system when their parents are apprehended, deported and unable to care for them. We find that the average increase in interior immigration enforcement over the 2001 through 2015 period contributed to raising the share of Hispanic children in foster care anywhere between 15 and 21 percent. The effects appear to be driven by the implementation of police-based local initiatives linked to deportations, as in the case of the Secure Communities program. Given the revival of police-based immigration enforcement by President Donald Trump, further analyses of its consequences on families are well warranted.