Mexican Immigrant Families Under Siege: The Impact of Anti-Immigrant Policies, Discrimination, and the Economic Crisis


  • Cecilia Ayón Arizona State University
  • David Becerra Arizona State University



Latino families, immigration policy, discrimination, economic crisis


Latino immigrants have historically faced many challenges living in the United States (U.S.). The economic crisis combined with new anti-immigration policies and harsh enforcement strategies may exacerbate the stress and anxiety Latino immigrant families already endure as a result of discrimination and financial hardships. The purpose of this study was to understand the current challenges Latino immigrant families encounter within an anti-immigrant social-political environment. Fifty-two first generation immigrants participated in focus group sessions, which lasted between 90 and 120 minutes. The findings reveal that the economic crisis, anti-immigration policies, and enforcement strategies have deleterious effects on Latino immigrant families’ well-being. Participants stated that their limited English proficiency status and racial profiling were the basis for discriminatory practices they endured. Discrimination is experienced through instances of micro-aggression, as well as horizontal discrimination and institutional discrimination. Implications for social policy, social work practice, and research are discussed.

Author Biographies

Cecilia Ayón, Arizona State University

MSW, Ph.D., Assistant Professor School of Social Work

David Becerra, Arizona State University

MSW, Ph.D., Assistant Professor School of Social Work


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