Method: This cross-sectional study employed a convenience sampling approach to recruit 137 Latinx immigrants residing in California. Two measures were developed for the purpose of the study. The first measure assessed immigrant integration through five indicators: Language, Sense of Belonging, Access to Resources, Financial Security, and Civic Engagement and Advocacy. Following EFA, CFA was completed using 15 items - 3/indicator. Fit indices for the second-order factor model, assessing Immigrant Integration as a higher order construct, indicated a good fit of the proposed model (CFI=.951, TLI=.940, RMSEA=.057, SRMR=.088). The integration measure used a 5-point Likert-type scale, with higher scores representing higher levels of integration (α =.85). Next, participants' knowledge of CA state-level immigration policies was assessed through fifteen items with the options True/False/Don’t know. A higher score indicated greater knowledge/awareness of policies (M=5.02, SD=3.429, R=0-14). Health was assessed with the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (six items, 5-point Likert-type scale, α=.94); and a single item to self-rate physical health. Three subscales (discrimination, social exclusion, and threat of deportation) from the Perceived Immigration Policy Effects Scale (PIPES), measured on a 5-point Likert-type scale, were used to assess participants’ perceptions of restrictive immigration policies/enforcement (α=.82-.92).
Analysis and Results: Hierarchical regression analysis was used to evaluate the contribution of variables in sequential blocks (B). While controlling for demographics (B1: age, gender, marital status, and education), immigration characteristics (B2: immigration status, deportation of family members, and time in the US), we assessed the relationship of CA immigration policy knowledge (B3) on Immigrant Integration. The findings revealed that knowledge/awareness of CA policies was associated with higher levels of integration (R²=.336, F(5, 97)=4.866, p<.001; R² change = .090, p<.001). For the health outcomes, we included demographics variables, immigration characteristics; B3 added CA immigration policy knowledge and Immigrant Integration; B4 added subscales for the PIPES. For Self-rated health, the final model revealed that integration and threat of deportation were significant predictors (R²=.206, F(3,78)=2.857, p<.001; R² change=0.73, p<.001), integration was associated with improved self-rated health while threat of deportation lowered self-rated health. For the Kessler, immigrant integration was associated with lower levels of distress, but after accounting for the restrictive immigration climate in B4, it was no longer significant (R²=.296, F(3,78)=2.953 p<.001;R² change=.067, p<.001).
Implications: Awareness of state-level immigration policies is associated with immigrants’ sense of integration. More efforts are needed to increase immigrants’ awareness of integration policies. While immigrants’ sense of integration has the potential to be protective of health, anti-immigrant enforcement (federal level) still threatens their health. Advocacy is needed to change policies and reduce the harmful effects of enforcement practices.