Mexican parent's undocumented status and the educational attainment of the children left behind. Academic Article uri icon


  • Research shows that having undocumented parents lowers the educational attainment of children that grew up in the United States, but we know less about how it affects the education of children left behind in their origin countries. We use fixed effects models and data from the Mexican Migration Project to examine this relationship. We find that having both parents documented increases the educational attainment of children left behind by over two years in comparison to similar children with mixed-status, undocumented, and nonimmigrant parents. The effect is especially robust for boys that migrate as teenagers. These findings reveal that US immigration laws that define most Mexican immigrants as undocumented have had a devastating effect on the education of Mexican children left behind.

published proceedings

  • Soc Sci Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Goldsmith, P. R., Flores-Yeffal, N. Y., Salinas, J., Reese, B., & Cruz, C. E.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Goldsmith, Pat Rubio||Flores-Yeffal, Nadia Y||Salinas, Juan||Reese, Bruce||Cruz, Cristina Elizabeth

publication date

  • January 2018