American University
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Three essays on the impacts of sanctuary policies in the United States

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posted on 2023-08-04, 11:59 authored by Brittany Blizzard

In the last decade, 11 states and the District of Columbia implemented sanctuary policies to provide protection for immigrants residing in their jurisdictions while others have adopted prohibitions against sanctuary. This dissertation explores how sanctuary policies at the state level affect multiple aspects of life for immigrants to the United States, their children, and their surrounding communities. In the first essay, I address the central question of whether sanctuary policy protections induce an inflow of immigrants to states with pro-sanctuary policies. Results from this study demonstrate that sanctuary policy adoption attracts immigrant movers, and the effects increases over time. In my second essay, my co-author Jocelyn Johnston and I take a mixed methods approach to examining why and how in some anti-sanctuary states certain counties are fighting back against state legislation in order to protect their local immigrant communities. Results show that an increasing percentage of local employment in sectors that traditionally employ immigrants in conjunction with a larger Hispanic population make counties more likely to deviate from state policy. Lastly, I examine the relationship between sanctuary policies and immigrant population health. This investigation presents new evidence that sanctuary policies affect health outcomes among immigrants, particularly in terms of access to health care. Showing the most significant improvements among the more vulnerable groups, effects are heterogeneous across immigrant groups. These three papers pose questions about why state and local jurisdictions break from the status quo to protect immigrants and what happens when they do. Immigration policies affect not only migration outcomes, but they also impact state and local economies and health outcomes, among others, because of the direct impact that immigration policies have on the number and type of people who live in an area.





Degree Awarded: Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy. American University


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