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Can Authorization Reduce Poverty among Undocumented Immigrants? Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program


  • Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina

    (University of California, Merced)

  • Antman, Francisca M.

    (University of Colorado, Boulder)


We explore the impact of authorization on the poverty exposure of households headed by undocumented immigrants. The identification strategy makes use of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided a temporary work authorization and reprieve from deportation to eligible immigrants. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we compare DACA-eligible to DACA-ineligible likely unauthorized immigrants, before and after the program implementation. We find that DACA reduced the likelihood of life in poverty of households headed by eligible individuals by 38 percent, hinting at the gains from even temporary authorization programs.

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  • Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Antman, Francisca M., 2016. "Can Authorization Reduce Poverty among Undocumented Immigrants? Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program," IZA Discussion Papers 10145, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10145

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tara Watson, 2014. "Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 313-338, August.
    2. Martha J. Bailey & Olga Malkova & Johannes Norling, 2014. "Do Family Planning Programs Decrease Poverty? Evidence from Public Census Data," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 60(2), pages 312-337.
    3. Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes & Elira Kuka, 2014. "Child Poverty and the Great Recession in the United States," Papers inwopa724, Innocenti Working Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gunadi, Christian, 2020. "Does immigrant legalization affect crime? Evidence from deferred action for childhood arrivals in the United States," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 327-353.
    2. Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub & Mazzonna, Fabrizio & Stella, Luca, 2021. "Immigration policy and immigrants’ sleep. Evidence from DACA," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 182(C), pages 1-12.
    3. Erin R. Hamilton & Caitlin Patler & Robin Savinar, 2022. "Immigrant Legal Status Disparities in Health Among First- and One-point-five-Generation Latinx Immigrants in California," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 41(3), pages 1241-1260, June.
    4. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Borra, Cristina & Rivera Garrido, Noelia, 2019. "Fertility Implications of Policy Granting Legal Status Based on Offspring's Nationality," IZA Discussion Papers 12641, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Wang, Jia & Winters, John V. & Yuan, Weici, 2022. "Can legal status help unauthorized immigrants achieve the American dream? Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    6. Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub, 2020. "The effects of DACA on health insurance, access to care, and health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    7. Anne R Pebley & Noreen Goldman & Theresa Andrasfay & Boriana Pratt, 2021. "Trajectories of physical functioning among older adults in the US by race, ethnicity and nativity: Examining the role of working conditions," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(3), pages 1-22, March.
    8. Bae Jung, 2020. "Immigration Relief and Insurance Coverage: Evidence from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(3), pages 1-37, July.
    9. Gihleb, Rania & Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub, 2021. "Dreaming of Leaving the Nest? Immigration Status and the Living Arrangements of DACAmented," IZA Discussion Papers 14887, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2019. "Do Immigrants Threaten U.S. Public Safety?," Working Papers 1905, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    11. Yvonne M. Luna & T. Mark Montoya, 2019. "“I Need this Chance to … Help My Family”: A Qualitative Analysis of the Aspirations of DACA Applicants," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 8(9), pages 1-15, September.

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    More about this item


    immigration; poverty; DACA;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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