HKS Authors

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We study the effects of Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program that dramatically increased interior removals of Hispanic non-citizens from the United States, on participation in means-tested social insurance programs among co-ethnic citizens. Exploiting county-level variation in the roll-out of enforcement together with its ethnic-specificity, we find that Hispanic-headed citizen households significantly reduced their participation in two large federal safety net programs. Our results are most consistent with network effects that propagate fear through minority communities rather than stigma or lack of benefit information.


Alsan, Marcella, and Crystal S. Yang. "Fear and the Safety Net: Evidence from Secure Communities." The Review of Economics and Statistics (September 2022): 1-45.