REPORT: The Immigration Dragnet and the Dispossession of Household and Community Wealth in the United States

Oct 24, 2019
9:49 AM

On Wednesday, the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute released a new report that uses new data to summarize the financial costs experienced by established U.S. households as a direct outcome of an immigration arrests.

“The Immigration Dragnet and the Dispossession of Household and Community Wealth in the United States” report was based on interviews of 125 households representing individuals living in Pima County, Arizona.

Here are some of the report’s findings, according to a media release from the Binational Migration Institute:

  • An immigration arrest costs a U.S. household an average of more than $24,000 in direct financial costs, lost income, and lost income opportunity.
  • 80% of households in the research sample had at least one US citizen or lawful permanent resident, while 73% of total household members were either a US citizen or LPR. This means that the financial hardships generated by an immigration arrest principally impact on US citizens and those lawfully present in the country.
  • 56% of the immigration arrests documented in the report were initiated by a local law enforcement agency. More than 78% of arrests initiated by local law enforcement were the result of some routine interaction involving no allegation of criminal activity.
  • The daily costs of detention (including lost wages, the costs involved in visitation, and direct monetary support) absorbed by a family increase by roughly 200% when a loved one is held in detention for longer than 72 hours.
  • 73% of households took on long-term debt to cope with costs associated with an immigration arrest, while close to half of households (47%) liquidated accumulated savings, or assets such as homes and vehicles (44% of households).
  • The financial costs of an immigration arrest have long-term, multigenerational impacts. Subjects reported: reduced educational performance or attainment of a higher degree (34% of households); anxiety, depression or stress-related mental health issues (75% of households); health impacts that included the aggravation of chronic illness or an inability to access necessary medical care (15% of households); eviction or housing instability (24% of households); and divorce or the loss of child custody (9% of households).

An Spanish-language executive summary of the report is here.