Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Committee Chair(s)

Christy Glass


Christy Glass


The devolution of immigration policy to the 50 states has resulted in the enactment of more than 1,500 state-level immigration since 2005. For the record 42 million immigrants living in the U.S., these laws have had tremendous consequences related to healthcare utilization and access, community relations with law enforcement, family dissolution, and the exacerbation of income inequalities. While the legislative arena has shifted to the states, our understanding of immigration policymaking remains unclear due to inconsistent and omitted predictors of immigration policy, subjective coding of immigration laws, and statistical modeling that does not take into account changes in key independent variables. Using data primarily from the Census Bureau’s American Factfinder, the Current Population Survey, and the National Council of State Legislatures, and other sources this research refines the quantitative determinants of immigration policy while using time-series analysis to highlight the factors linked to laws designed to integrate or exclude immigrations in the 50 states. Once empirical analysis is conducted, I delve into the details of state level immigration policymaking by interviewing state level bureaucrats within state health departments to determine the role that they, their data analysis, and the research play when it comes to influencing legislators and shaping immigration policy. This mixed methods approach combining statistical modeling and key informant interviews provides important findings that give a clear picture on why state institutional arrangements are crucial for understating immigration policy at the state level.



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