Latinos' Deportation Fears by Citizenship and Legal Status

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Research findings grouped by citizenship and legal status

Deportation has become more commonplace in the United States since the mid-2000s. Latin American noncitizens—encompassing undocumented and documented immigrants—are targeted for deportation. Deportation’s threat also reaches naturalized and US-born citizens of Latino descent who are largely immune to deportation but whose loved ones or communities are deportable. Drawing on 6 y of data from the National Survey of Latinos, this article examines whether and how Latinos’ deportation fears vary by citizenship and legal status and over time. Compared with Latino noncitizens, Latino US citizens report lower average deportation fears. However, a more complex story emerges when examining this divide over time: Deportation fears are high but stable among Latino noncitizens, whereas deportation fears have increased substantially among Latino US citizens. These trends reflect a growing national awareness of—rather than observable changes to—deportation policy and practice since the 2016 US presidential election. The article highlights how deportation or its consequences affects a racial group that the US immigration regime targets disproportionately.