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Mass deportation can have far-reaching effects, according to new research from BYU. (Credit: Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

Between 2005 and 2013, more than three million undocumented workers were deported from the US. During that same time, an increasing rate of foreclosures contributed to a housing crisis. BYU sociology professor Jacob Rugh, in a study published today in Sociological Science, assessed the link between the two phenomena. 

"This is the first research we are aware of to establish an empirical link between the deportation crisis and the foreclosure crisis, both of which affected Latinos more than any other group in the US," Rugh said. "Given the potential for another wave of mass deportations starting next year, this work remains quite relevant to the policy conversation, not just the theoretical academic literature on immigrant incorporation."

Rugh's research is already receiving national attention, as seen today on The Upshot from the New York Times.


Matt Hall from Cornell University coauthored the study with Rugh. The researchers specifically looked at data from counties who signed agreements with the federal government's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency under the 287(g) program. The program allowed the federal government to delegate immigration enforcement powers to state and local officers.

Rugh and Hall compared what happened in the counties that participated in the 287(g) program with those that did not. Those who participated from 2005-12 had nearly five million Latinos living there. That was one quarter of the undocumented population in the country at the time. Before counties joined the program, no difference was seen in Hispanic foreclosure rates. But when counties joined the program, foreclosure rates rose in those counties.

Rugh points out that those deported were contributing members of households. From the 2005-13 timeframe, 85 percent of those deported from the US were working Latino men. When those men were deported, the remainder of their households were left scrambling to pay the bills.

The study urges lawmakers and policymakers to consider the far-reaching effects of mass deportation.

Writer: Jon McBride