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Falling through the Cracks? Grade Retention and School Dropout among Children of Likely Unauthorized Immigrants


  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
  • Mary J. Lopez


We evaluate how intensified interior immigration enforcement impacts the likelihood that children of unauthorized immigrants will repeat a grade or drop out of school. Using a weighted index of the intensity of interior immigration enforcement at the MSA level, we find that increased enforcement has the largest impact on younger children ages 6 to 13. The estimates, which account for the non-random residential location of children and their families, reveal that increased enforcement raises young children's probability of repeating a grade by 6 percent and their likelihood of dropping out of school by 25.2 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Mary J. Lopez, 2015. "Falling through the Cracks? Grade Retention and School Dropout among Children of Likely Unauthorized Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 598-603, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:598-603
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151113

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:63-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:jopoec:v:32:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-018-0694-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0627-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. East, Chloe N. & Velasquez, Andrea, 2018. "The Effect of Increasing Immigration Enforcement on the Labor Supply of High-Skilled Citizen Women," IZA Discussion Papers 12029, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Arenas-Arroyo, Esther & Sevilla, Almudena, 2016. "Immigration Enforcement and Childhood Poverty in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 10030, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. repec:taf:oaefxx:v:5:y:2017:i:1:p:1268746 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population


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