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Undocumented Latina Immigrants in Orange County, California: A Comparative Analysis

Leo R. Chavez, F. Allan Hubbell, Shiraz I. Mishra and R. Burciaga Valdez
The International Migration Review
Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 88-107
DOI: 10.2307/2547259
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2547259
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Undocumented Latina Immigrants in Orange County, California: A Comparative Analysis
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Abstract

This article examines a unique data set randomly collected from Latinas (including 160 undocumented immigrants) and non-Hispanic white women in Orange County, California, including undocumented and documented Latina immigrants, Latina citizens, and non-Hispanic white women. Our survey suggests that undocumented Latinas are younger than documented Latinas, and immigrant Latinas are generally younger than U.S.-citizen Latinas and Anglo women. Undocumented and documented Latinas work in menial service sector jobs, often in domestic services. Most do not have job-related benefits such as medical insurance. Despite low incomes and likelihood of having children under age 18 living with them, their use of public assistance was low. Undocumented and documented Latina immigrants lived in households that often contained extended family members; they were more likely than other women in the study to lack a regular source of health care, to utilize health clinics, public health centers, and hospital emergency rooms rather than private physicians or HMOs, and to underutilize preventative cancer screening services. Despite their immigration status, undocumented Latina immigrants often viewed themselves as part of a community in the United States, which significantly influenced their intentions to stay in the United States. Contrary to much of the recent public policy debate over immigration, we did not find that social services influenced Latina immigrants' intentions to stay in the United States.

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