Skip to main content

Immigration Policies and Group Identity: How Immigrant Laws Affect Linked Fate among U.S. Latino Populations

  • Edward D. Vargas (a1), Gabriel R. Sanchez (a2) and Juan A. Valdez (a3)

Immigrant sentiment, measured by the number of state laws enacted to curb the flow of undocumented immigration or expand rights to immigrants, have been on a steady incline since September 11, 2001. Despite the increased attention to unauthorized immigration, little research has examined how immigrant policies are affecting group identity (i.e., linked fate). Linked fate is a form of collective group identity that develops when a group of people experience discrimination and marginalization. Using a unique database that merges the 2012 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (n = 934 Latinos) with the sum of state-level immigration policies enacted from 2005 to 2012, this study is the first to examine the direct relationship between immigrant climate and linked fate. Results from our multinomial logistic regressions indicate that the linked fate among Latinos increases as the number of punitive immigration laws in a state increases, controlling for a vector of control variables. Consistent with our theory regarding differential impact, our findings also suggest that immigration laws have a more pronounced influence on the linked fate of foreign-born Latinos.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Immigration Policies and Group Identity: How Immigrant Laws Affect Linked Fate among U.S. Latino Populations
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Immigration Policies and Group Identity: How Immigrant Laws Affect Linked Fate among U.S. Latino Populations
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Immigration Policies and Group Identity: How Immigrant Laws Affect Linked Fate among U.S. Latino Populations
      Available formats
Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Edward D. Vargas, Center for Women's Health and Health Disparities Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 310 N. Midvale Blvd, Suite 201, 1180 Observatory Drive, RM 3467, Madison, WI 53705. E-mail:
Hide All
Alba, Richard D., and Nee, Victor. 2003. “Assimilation Theory, Old and New.” In Remaking the American Mainstream Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2835.
Barreto, Matt, and Collingwood, Loren. 2015. “Group-Based Appeals and the Latino Vote in 2012: How Immigration Became a Mobilizing Issue.” Electoral Studies 40, 490–99.
Barreto, Matt, Natalie, Masuoka, and Sanchez, Gabriel. 2008. “Discrimination and Group Consciousness Among Muslim Americans.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Manchester Hyatt, San Diego, California.
Barreto, Matt, Manzano, Sylvia, Ramírez, Ricardo, and Rim, Kathy. 2009. “Immigrant Social Movement Participation: Understanding Involvement in the 2006 Immigration Protest Rallies.” Urban Affairs Review 44 (5): 736–64.
Beltran, Cristina. 2010. The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 433.
Bernal, Martha E., George, P. Knight, Camille, A. Garza, Katheryn, A. Ocampo, and Marya, K. Cota. 1990. “The Development of Ethnic Identity in Mexican-American Children.” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 12 (1): 324.
Branscombe, Nyla R., Schmitt, Michael T., and Harvey, Richard D.. 1999. “Perceiving Pervasive Discrimination among African Americans: Implications for Group Identification and Well-being.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77 (1): 135–49.
Brettell, Caroline B., and Nibbs, Faith G.. 2011. “Immigrant Suburban Settlement and the ‘Threat’ to Middle Class Status and Identity: The Case of Farmers Branch, Texas.” International Migration 49 (1): 130. doi:10.1111/j.1468–2435.2010.00611.x
Bump, M. 2005. “Temporary Picking to Permanent Plucking: Hispanic Newcomers, Integration, and Change in the Shenandoah Valley.” In Beyond the Gateway: Immigrants in a Changing America, eds. Gozdziak, E. and Martin, S. F.. Lanham: Lexington Books, 137–75.
Central Alabama Fair Housing Center, Et Al. Julie Magee, V., Et Al. 2011. 2:11-cv-00982-MHT-CSC.
Chavez, Jorge M., and Provine, Doris M.. 2009. “Race and the Response of State Legislatures to Unauthorized Immigrants.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 623 (1): 7892. doi: 10.1177/0002716208331014.
Chavez, Leo. 2008. The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Collingwood, Loren, Barreto, Matt, and García-Rios, Sergio. 2014. “Revisiting Latino Voting: Cross-Racial Mobilization in the 2012 Election.” Political Research Quarterly 67: 4.
Conover, Pamela Johnston. 1984. “The Influence of Group Identification on Political Perception and Evaluation.” The Journal of Politics 46 (3): 760–85.
Dawson, Michael C. 1994. Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
De Casanova, Erynn Masi. 2012. “Organizing Identities: Immigrant New Yorkers Negotiating Latinidad.” Sociological Forum 27 (2): 419–40.
Félix, Adrián. 2008. “New Americans or Diasporic Nationalists?: Mexican Migrant Responses to Naturalization and Implications for Political Participation.” American Quarterly 60 (3): 601–24.
Fraga, Luis R., Garcia, John A., Hero, Rodney E., Jones-Correa, Michael, Martinez-Ebers, Valerie, and Segura, Gary M.. 2006a. “Su Casa Es Nuestra Casa: Latino Politics Research and the Development of American Political Science.” American Political Science Review 100 (4): 515–21.
Fraga, Luis R., Garcia, John A., Hero, Rodney, Jones-Correa, Michael, Martinez-Ebers, Valerie, and Segura, Gary M.. 2006b. Latino National Survey (LNS). ICPSR20862-v6. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013–06- 05.
Galindo, René. 2011. “The Nativistic Legacy of the Americanization Era in the Education of Mexican Immigrant Students.” Educational Studies 47 (4): 323–46.
Galindo, René, and Vigil, Jami. 2006. “Are Anti-Immigrant Statements Racist or Nativist? What Difference Does It Make?Latino Studies 4 (4): 419–47.
Garcia, John. 2003. “Latino Politics in the United States.” In Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations, ed. Cashmore, Ellis. New York: Routledge, 255–76.
Gravlee, Clarence C., Dressler, William W., and Bernard, H. Russell. 2005. “Skin Color, Social Classification, and Blood Pressure in Southeastern Puerto Rico.” American Journal of Public Health 95 (12): 2191–97.
Gulasekaram, Pratheepan, and Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick. 2013. “Immigration Federalism: A Reappraisal.” New York University Law Review NYU Law Review 88: 2074–145.
Gulasekaram, Pratheepan, and Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick. 2015. The New Immigration Federalism. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hackel, Leor M., Looser, Christine E., and Van Bavel, Jay J.. 2014. “Group Membership Alters the Threshold for Mind Perception: The Role of Social Identity, Collective Identification, and Intergroup Threat.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 52: 1523.
Hopkins, Daniel. 2010. “Politicized Places: Explaining Where and When Immigrants Provoke Local Opposition.” American Political Science Review 104 (1): 4060.
Huddy, Leonie. 2001. “From Social to Political Identity: A Critical Examination of Social Identity Theory.” Political Psychology 22 (1): 127–56.
Johnson, Kevin R. 2012. “Immigration and Civil Rights: State and Local Efforts to Regulate Immigration. (Symposium: Civil Rights or Civil Wants?).” Georgia Law Review 46 (3): 609–38.
Klonoff, Elizabeth A. and Landrine, Hope. 2000. “Is Skin Color a Marker for Racial Discrimination? Explaining the Skin Color-Hypertension Relationship.Journal of Behavioral Medicine 23 (4): 329–38.
Leighley, Jan E. 2001. Strength in Numbers?: The Political Mobilization of Racial and Ethnic Minorities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Lien, Pei, Conway, M. Margaret and Wong, Janelle. 2004. The Politics of Asian Americans: Diversity and Community. New York: Routledge.
Magaña, Lisa. 2013. “SB 1070 and Negative Social Constructions of Latino Immigrants in Arizona.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 38 (2): 1151–61.
Marks, Mara, Nuno, Stephen, and Sanchez, Gabriel R.. 2009. “Look Back in Anger: Voter Opinions of Mexican Immigrants in the Aftermath of the 2006 Immigration Demonstrations.” Urban Affairs Review 44 (5): 695717.
Massey, Douglas S., and Sanchez R, Magaly. 2010. Brokered Boundaries: Creating Immigrant Identity in Anti-Immigrant Times. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.
Masuoka, Natalie. 2006. “Together They Become One: Examining the Predictors of Panethnic Group Consciousness among Asian Americans and Latinos.” Social Science Quarterly 87 (5): 9931011.
Mcclain, Paula D., Johnson Carew, Jessica D., Walton, Eugene, and Watts, Candis S.. 2009. “Group Membership, Group Identity, and Group Consciousness: Measures of Racial Identity in American Politics?Annual Review of Political Science 12: 471–85.
Miller, Arthur H., Gurin, Patricia, Gurin, Gerald, and Oksana, Malanchuk. 1981. “Group Consciousness and Political Participation.” American Journal of Political Science 25 (3): 494511.
Monogan, James III. 2013. “The Politics of Immigrant Policy in the 50 U.S. States. 2005– 2011.” Journal of Public Policy 33 (1): 3564.
Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Omi, Michael, and Winant, Howard. 2014. Racial Formation in the United States. Routledge, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Padilla, Felix. 1985. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: The Case of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago. 1st ed. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.
Perreira, Krista M. 2011. “Mexican Families in North Carolina: The Socio-historical Contexts of Exit and Settlement.” Southeastern Geographer 51 (2): 260–86.
Przeworski, Adam. 1985. Capitalism and Social Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ramirez, Ricardo. 2013. Mobilizing Opportunities: The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press.
Ricourt, Milagros, and Danta, Ruby. 2003. Hispanas De Queens: Latino Panethnicity in a New York City Neighborhood. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Sanchez, G. R. 2006. “The Role of Group Consciousness in Latino Public Opinion.” Political Research Quarterly 59 (3): 435–46.
Sanchez, G. R., and Masuoka, N.. 2010. “Brown-Utility Heuristic? The Presence and Contributing Factors of Latino Linked Fate.” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 32 (4): 519–31.
Selden, David A., Pace, Julie A., and Nunn-Gilman, Heidi. 2011. “Placing S.B. 1070 and Racial Profiling into Context, and What S.B. 1070 Reveals about the Legislative Process in Arizona.” Arizona State Law Journal 43 (2): 523–61.
Simien, Evelyn. 2005. “Race, Gender, and Linked Fate.” Journal of Black Studies 35 (5): 529–50.
Tajfel, Henri. 1981. Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press.
Tate, Katherine. 1991. “Black Political Participation in the 1984 and 1988 Presidential Elections.” The American Political Science Review 85 (4): 1159–76.
Tate, Katherine. 1993. From Protest to Politics: The New Black Voters in American Elections. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Torres, Rebecca Maria, and Wicks-Asbun, Melissa. 2013. “Undocumented Students’ Narratives of Liminal Citizenship: High Aspirations, Exclusion, and “In-Between” Identities.” The Professional Geographer 66 (2): 195204.
Vargas, Edward D. 2015. “Immigration Enforcement and Mixed-Status Families: The Effects of Risk of Deportation on Medicaid Use.” Children Youth Services Review In Press.
Vélez, Veronica, Perez Huber, Lindsay, Benavides Lopez, Corina, De La Luz, Ariana, and Solórzano, Daniel. 2008. “Battling for Human Rights and Social Justice: A Latina/o Critical Race Media Analysis of Latina/o Student Youth Activism in the Wake of 2006 Anti-Immigrant Sentiment.” Social Justice 727.
Verba, Sidney, and Nie, Norman H.. 1972. Participation in America: Political Democracy and Social Equality. New York: Harper & Row.
Wallace, Sophia J. 2014. “Papers Please: An Analysis of State Level Anti-Immigrant Legislation in the Wake of Arizona's SB 1070.” Political Science Quarterly 129 (2): 261–91.
Winders, Jamie. 2011. “Representing the Immigrant: Social Movements, Political Discourse, and Immigration in the U.S. South.” Southeastern Geographer 51 (4): 596614.
Wiley, Shaun, Figueroa, Jessica, and Lauricella, Taylor. 2014. “When Does Dual Identity Predict Protest? The Moderating Roles of Anti-Immigrant Policies and Opinion-Based Group Identity.” European Journal of Social Psychology 44: 209–15.
Ybarra, Vickie D., Sanchez, Lisa M., and Sanchez, Gabriel R.. 2016. “Anti-Immigrant Anxieties in State Policy: The Great Recession and Punitive Immigration Policy in the American States, 2005–2012.” State Politics and Policy Quarterly 16 (3): 313–39.
Zepeda-Millan, Chris. 2014. “Framing of Illegality: Explaining (non)Participation in New York's 2006 Immigrant Protests.” Political Research Quarterly 67 (4): 880–88.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2056-6085
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-race-ethnicity-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed