Mixed-status Families: Diverse immigration statuses are prevalent even within the same household.

Insights and Analyses

  • Immigration enforcement policies targeting undocumented individuals have ripple effects for families, including children, many who are U.S. citizens. In 2018, 20% of all individuals under 18 in California were living in mixed-status families, meaning they were undocumented themselves or living with someone who was.
  • Across California, in 2018, 2,385,941 U.S. citizens and 767,043 LPRs were living with an undocumented family member.
  • Among those living in families, Latinos and Asian Americans were the groups with the largest shares of individuals who were undocumented themselves or living with someone who was. That figure was nearly 30% of Latinos and 13% of Asian Americans statewide in 2018.
  • Changes to the definition of public charge, along with ongoing litigation, have created “chilling effects” for immigrant communities, meaning that many immigrants and their families are dissuaded from accessing public services due to fear of facing negative consequences, even when changes to this rule will not impact them. Estimates by Manatt, on the “chilled population” or the number of people impacted by this rule, including noncitizens and their dependents, shows that in California the total “chilled population” stood at 38,654,206 in 2016.

The attempt to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has threatened the livelihood of 185,000 young undocumented immigrants in California who are DACA recipients. 

Implemented in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this program allows a fraction of undocumented youth in the U.S. to defer their deportation, apply for a work permit, and apply for a travel abroad permit under specific circumstances. Existing research shows that DACA has allowed young undocumented individuals to participate in and contribute to the labor market, pursue higher education, and contribute to the local, regional, and national economy. In 2017, the program was rescinded; however, legal interventions have temporarily halted the termination of DACA. As of June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court evaluated the termination of DACA, ruling that the Trump administration’s efforts to end the program violated federal law. In light of this decision, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would have had to begin to accept new applications, allow current DACA recipients to apply for a travel permit, and continue to allow current DACA recipients to renew their status. However, in response to this decision, on July 30, 2020 DHS released a memo outlining limitations for the program. These limitations include denying new applications and limiting the provisions of the program for current DACA recipients. As of October 2020, the DACA program continues with these limitations but its future remains uncertain as the Trump administration is still considering further changes to the DACA program, or its full termination. In addition, legal challenges to the program by Texas and a number of other states are pending. While granting temporary relief, the program does not lead to a pathway toward legal permanent status or citizenship, leaving many youth in limbo. In addition, it is important to consider the pool of young undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for the program and those who are eligible for the program but are barred from applying. Beyond the fight to preserve the DACA program, immigrant families have also been advocating for comprehensive solutions that lead to permanent legal status and citizenship for all. To access CSII’s interactive maps on DACA eligible individuals, DACA recipients, and the economic contributions by U.S. Congressional District, visit our site. For updates on the status of the program and policy proposals visit the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).

Source: USC Equity Research Institute analysis of 2018 5-year American Community Survey microdata from IPUMS USA. Note: Data represent a 2014-2018 average. Overall population numbers may be slightly higher than in usually reported statistics because of adjusted weights used to account for undercount of undocumented Californians.

Photo credit: United We Dream

Schools are playing an important role in countering federal immigration enforcement policies in an effort to ensure the safety of students and their families. 

Teachers and school administrators statewide are seeing the adverse impact of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies on students and their families. Educators surveyed by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles reported that U.S. immigration enforcement is not only affecting immigrant students, but students who have parents, family members, or friends who are immigrants. Survey respondents said that many students are facing challenges like behavioral or emotional difficulties, concerns over immigration enforcement issues in schools, increases in absences, and decreases in students’ academic performance. Current federal and state laws assert that students should be provided with a safe and welcoming educational environment, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, and other identities. As a result, organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California have initiated Sanctuary Schools Campaigns to provide resources and recommendations to support advocacy efforts around better protections for students and their families in school districts. In 2017, the Coachella Valley School Board, Riverside Unified School District, and Los Angeles Unified School District all adopted or passed a similar version of ACLU’s Sanctuary School Board Policy aimed at protecting all immigrant students and their families.  To read the Civil Rights Project’s full report visit their site. To learn more about the ACLU of California’s Sanctuary Schools Campaign visit their site.

Photo credit: Carissa Rogers

Related Indicators