Legal Status of Mexican Immigrants and their Children’s Educational Attainment

Pat Goldsmith, Nadia Flores, Elizabeth Cruz, Juan Salinas, Bruce Reese

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In this research project, we adopt a structural violence and binational perspective to examine migrant legality and children’s educational attainment. This perspective suggests that Mexican immigrants’ legality is a structure affecting of their children. Consistent with this prediction, data from the Mexican Migration Project shows that heads’ years of legal experience are positively associated with the educational attainment of their children, but years of unauthorized US experience rarely associated with it. Net of controls, the probability of graduating from high school for a child of a typical legal migrant is .63. For the child of the typical unauthorized migrant, the probability is .31. Part of the reason for these contrasting effects occurs because of how they influence the children’s place of birth and children’s migration.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Jan 21 2014


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