Deportation Relief Project Updates

ISS’ Deportation Relief project explores how an immigrant’s legal status affects their employment, education, and other factors. Every year, during their 3-year term (2015-2018), the fellows provide updates on the progress and current direction of the project.


Term-End Project Report: Final Project Report

Capstone Lecture: On April 12, 2018, members of the Deportation Relief team presented their capstone lecture, titled “The Impact of Liminal Legality on the Work and Education Lives of Immigrants,” outlining the progress they have made as the project term comes to a close. A summary of the highlights of this event can be found in the Cornell Chronicle article, “Untangling How Deportation Relief Affects Immigrants.

Annual Summary:

2017-2018 is the final year of the Deportation Relief Project, co-led by Shannon Gleeson (Labor Relations, Law, and History) and Matthew Hall (Policy Analysis and Management). This project seeks to understand the patterns and impacts of temporary legal status for vulnerable immigrant populations in the U.S. The multi-disciplinary team is focused on using a range of methodological tools to evaluate how immigrant well-being, particularly in their educational and work lives, is shaped by the liminality of holding temporary relief from deportation.

This year, Gleeson and Kate Griffith in labor relations, law, and history published an article in the Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, which argues that different immigration status categories produce differing experiences within the criminal, employment, and administrative law regimes. In turn, these distinct legal institutional contexts affect how immigrants weigh the prospect of coming forward with a workplace law claim against their employers.  In March 2018, Gleeson and Griffith also presented their work at a symposium at the UC Davis Law School, which will appear in an edited volume (in progress). In Spring 2018, this research on the work experiences of Temporary Protected Status-holders was awarded a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation ($30,242). A larger proposal to the National Science Foundation, which would fund interviews with comparative samples of undocumented and legal permanent resident respondents, is currently under review. (This work grew out of a proposal development grant Gleeson, Griffith and Hall received from the Cornell Population Center).

Hall and Steven Alvarado (Sociology) continued work with graduate student Alex Currit on developing plausibly-causal estimates of the impact of TPS on adolescent educational success by leveraging variation between siblings in the same families in TPS eligibility. The estimates point to modest educational benefits of TPS for Salvadoran youth. These findings were presented by Alvarado at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, and by Hall at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Wisconsin.

Hall’s effort were also directed at understanding the local impacts of immigration and assessing how legality shapes family formation and child well-being. One project, with Frank Edwards (BCTR Postdoc), received funding from Project 2Gen to explore the connection between local enforcement policies and contact with child welfare systems.

Jordan Matsudaira (Policy Analysis & Management), and Hall, engaged with graduate student Julia Zhu on a study examining the relationship between immigration enforcement activities and employer hiring.

Key Publications

Gleeson and Griffith published a paper on “Precarity of Temporality” in Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal. Together Gleeson and Griffith have also (along with ILR colleagues Maria Cook and Larry Kahn) co-edited a forthcoming special issue of the ILR Review on “The Impact of Immigrant Legalization Initiatives: International Perspectives” and have co-authored an Introduction to this special issue.  Gleeson’s edited volume (with Xóchitl Bada) on Enforcing Rights Across Borders is forthcoming with University of Texas Press. Griffith also published in the UC Davis Law Review (2017) and the Cornell Law Review (forthcoming).  Relevant work by Hall appeared in Social Problems, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, and Social Science Research. Alvarado’s new research on neighborhood inequality was also published in Social Science Research, and work by Matsudaira appeared in Economics of Education Review.


Together with Filiz Garip (Sociology), Gleeson and Hall organized a conference on the criminalization of immigrants that brought together a multidisciplinary group of researchers. The proceedings will appear in an upcoming issue of the American Behavioral Scientist.  Gleeson and Griffith also participated in a conference (and edited volume workshop) on “21st Century Coolies?: Migrant Labor and the Law.” at  U.C. Davis School of Law, 3/15/18.  Hall discussed the impacts of immigration at CaRDI’s Community Development Institute conference (September, 2017) and the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement in May 2018.

2017 Summary

Co-led by Shannon Gleeson in the Department of Labor Relations, Law, and His-tory and Matthew Hall in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, this mixed-methods project is examining how having temporary protected status (TPS) shapes immigrants’ experiences at work and school, as well as immigrants’ long-term goals and sense of belonging.

In 2016-17, Gleeson and Kate Griffith, also in the Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History, oversaw research assistants working with legal aid providers, as they interviewed 55 immigrants, primarily from Haiti and Central America. They collected information about workplace experiences, such as immigrants’ ability to contest workplace abuses, for analysis and publication.

Gleeson continued her work with Xóchitl Bada (University of Illinois, Chicago) on a project researching how the Mexican Consulate protects the rights of immigrant workers, and the roles that enforcement agencies and nonprofit advocates play in assisting immigrants. With Els de Graauw (Baruch College, City University of New York), Gleeson analyzed the 2012 implementation of the federal program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Meanwhile, Hall investigated the key contributors to immigrants incorporation into mainstream social, political, and economic institutions. He also examined the factors driving competition in the job market between immigrants and natives.

Steven Alvarado in the Department of Sociology, and Hall, along with graduate student, Alex Currit, used the U.S. Census to understand how having TPS shapes the educational outcomes of child immigrants from El Salvador. Chil-dren with TPS are more likely to stay in school, according to findings Currit presented at the Population Association of America’s April 2017 annual meeting in Chicago.

Jordan Matsudaira in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, and Hall, engaged with graduate student Julia Zhu on a study examining the relationship between immigration enforcement activities and employer hiring.

The University of California Press published Gleeson’s book, Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States, in 2016.

“The Power of a Presumption: California as a Laboratory for Unauthorized Immigrant Workers’ Rights,” written by Kate Griffith, was published in UC Davis Law Review. Griffith’s piece, “Protecting Immigrant Workers’ Rights,” was featured in the San Francisco Daily Journal. Hall coauthored, “Deporting the American Dream: Immigration Enforce-ment and Latino Foreclosures,” published in Sociological Science in 2016.

2016 Summary

Co-led by Shannon Gleeson in labor relations, law, and history at the ILR School, and Matthew Hall in poli-cy analysis and management, this mixed-methods project is examining how temporary protected status (TPS) is affecting immigrants in the United States.

During the project’s first year, Hall and project member Steven Alvarado, along with graduate student Alex Currit, designed a study examining the impact of temporary protected status on Salvadoran child migrants. In November 2016, these findings were presented at the Annual Upstate Population Workshop of the Cornell Population Center, and the Center for Aging and Population Studies at Syracuse University.

In January 2016, workers’ rights attorney Joshua Stehlik from the National Immigration Law Center held a workshop, Issues Faced by Dacamented and Other Immigrant Workers, to educate project members about the rights of beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In April 2016, the project brought legal expert Shoba Sivaprasad Wad-hia to campus to discuss the role of prosecutorial discretion in immi-gration cases and the constitutionality of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans Program. Steven Yale Loehr, a member of the ISS’ Immigration Project (2010-13), participated in the discussion with Professor Wadhia that was open to the Cornell community. During Spring 2016, Kate Griffith and Shannon Gleeson prepared a review of the literature on the impacts of temporary protected status. They also applied for outside funding and sought Institutional Review Board approval of a qualitative interview instrument of TPS recipients in New York City, which commenced in summer 2016.

Throughout the academic year, Hall and project member Jordan Matsudaira worked to access various elements of federal administrative data on immigration enforcement and workforce characteristics.