This paper exploits the temporal and geographic variation in the implementation of local and state immigration enforcement measures to identify their impact on undocumented immigrants’ fertility. Using data from the 2005 through 2014 American Community Survey, we find that a one standard deviation increase in the intensity of immigration enforcement lowers the childbearing likelihood of likely undocumented women by 6.3 percent. This effect appears driven by police-based measures and, the fact that is present among intact families, families headed by a likely undocumented couple, as well as among the poorest families, suggests the importance of limited income resources, along with increased uncertainty emanating from an intensified fear of deportation, on likely unauthorized women’s fertility. Given immigrants’ critical contribution to the sustainability of the welfare state and the spread-out embracement of a piece-meal approach to immigration enforcement, further exploration of this impact is warranted and recommended.
Fertility Immigration Enforcement Undocumented Immigration United States