Abstract

The 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program granted work authorization and protection from deportation to more than 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as minors. We estimate the association between this expansion of legal rights and birth outcomes among 72,613 singleton births to high school–educated Mexican immigrant women in the United States from June 2010 to May 2014, using birth records data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Exploiting the arbitrariness of the upper age cutoff for DACA eligibility and using a difference-in-differences design, we find that DACA was associated with improvements in the rates of low birth weight and very low birth weight, birth weight in grams, and gestational age among Mexican immigrant mothers.

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Supplementary data