Economic, Social, and Health Effects of Discrimination on Latino Immigrant Families

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Ayón, Cecilia
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Published Date
09-30-2015 3:54 PM
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Anti-immigrant sentiment has been fueled in recent years by the consideration in some states of measures designed to crack down on illegal immigration. As a result, the experiences of immigrants (or those perceived to look foreign born) with discrimination have increased. Latino immigrant families' day-to-day interactions often involve hostile interactions with community members and social institutions. The cumulative effects of such interactions place Latino families and their children at increased risk for a range of negative outcomes such as emotional stress, limited financial opportunities, and increased social isolation. Such forms of discrimination at the individual level may heighten recipients' risk for health and mental-health problems. The purpose of this report is to examine Latino immigrant families' experiences with discrimination, and the economic, social, and health-related consequences. Such consequences are likely to affect the nation as a whole, considering the size of the Latino population. Latino families and children comprise nearly 17 percent of the U.S. population. This report sheds light on the many challenges immigrant families face as a result of discrimination, including those related to family structure, parenting, and health risks. Evidence suggests that a strong and positive ethnic identity buffers the effects of discrimination. The author, while calling for more research on the long-term consequences of chronic exposure to discrimination and families' coping strategies, suggests that parental efforts to inculcate pride in Latino culture and language should be encouraged.
Immigrant Students
Home Environment and Language Practices
Family and Community Involvement
Administration and Leadership