December 12, 2019
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Haines 215

The Family Working Group is pleased to present:

Erika Arenas (UCSB, Sociology): "Family separation across borders and the mental health of a recent cohort of Mexican migrants to the United States"

Over the last three decades, the adoption of more restrictive immigration policies in the United States has transformed what traditionally had been a circular migration flow from Mexico into permanent migrations (Massey, 2016). Under this new era, the likelihood of Mexican immigrants to settle, bring their spouses and children from Mexico, and form new families in the United States has increased. Even among those immigrants with no intention of permanently residing in the United States, higher costs of crossing the border have also lengthened the time immigrants remain separated from their family members in Mexico. In this paper, we ask whether family separation across national borders increases an immigrant’s likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms. We also examine whether sending remittances to those left behind attenuates this association. To conduct this study, we use novel panel data from the Mexican Family Life Survey, a study representative of the Mexican population in 2002. This is a unique study that tracks and interviews respondents across national borders, and also collects information about an immigrant’s families residing in Mexico. Given that there is no population-level information available on the family configurations of recent Mexican immigrants to the United States, this paper also provides representative estimates of the locations of family members of Mexican immigrants who settled in the United States between 2002 to 2010.