Immigration Enforcement and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from North Carolina

This research team is estimating the effects of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities, specifically 287(g) programs and Secure Communities, on the maternal and infant health of Mexican-born immigrant mothers in North Carolina. The investigators are exploring how immigration enforcement activities affect the health and well-being of immigrant mothers and their newborns, and if changes in birth outcomes arise due to changes in maternal behaviors and access. Results from this study will provide a quantification of the likely human impact of both anti-immigrant sentiment and more direct policies that target undocumented populations and their communities, and, more generally, will inform policies that seek to mitigate or remediate disadvantage generated before birth.


Adequacy of prenatal care (measured using the Kotelchuck index), smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy, birth weight, gestational age, and small-for-gestational age.


Difference-in-difference approach comparing variation in birth outcomes (or maternal behavior) for immigrant mothers before and after the time when a county enacted increased enforcement with those of similar mothers residing in a county that did not change its enforcement regulation around the same time.

newborn baby
Grantee and Partner organizations

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy

Grant status
Principal investigators
Marcos Rangel, PhD
Christina Gibson-Davis, PhD
Start date
Award amount
$ 136,139
18 months

Stay Connected