County-Level Relationships Between Foreign-Born Residents, Latinos, Immigration Enforcement, and Child Maltreatment Report Rates in the United States, 2015−2018

Hyun Jung Kim, Hyunil Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


U.S. Latino and foreign-born populations show lower child maltreatment report (CMR) rates despite their low socioeconomic positions, perhaps due to protective cultural factors within these populations. However, discriminatory Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities may attenuate such protection. We examined how ethnic and foreign-born compositions and local ICE activities were associated with community CMR rates, overall and within racial/ethnic groups (i.e., White, Black, Latino), and how these associations changed over time. We used national county-level data linking multiple administrative/archival data sources (i.e., CMR, Census, and ICE data) longitudinally for 2015 to 2018 across the United States. Multilevel (county-years, counties, and states) models estimated how percentages of Latino, percentages of foreign-born, and ICE arrest rates were related to overall and race/ethnicity-specific CMR rates among counties while adjusting for a range of demographic, socioeconomic, child care burden, health insurance, residential mobility, and urbanicity factors. Higher percentages of foreign-born residents within counties were significantly associated with lower CMR rates, both overall and within all racial/ethnic groups. These protective associations became significantly stronger over the study period. Higher percentages of Latino residents were significantly associated with lower total and White CMR rates but not with Black or Latino CMR rates. The interaction between the percentage of Latino residents and year was not significant. ICE arrest rates showed no significant associations with CMR rates. Our findings suggest that communities with more foreign-born and Latino residents may be more protective against CMRs. While the foreign-born and Latino concentrations were both independently predictive of decreased CMR rates, the protective associations of the foreign-born concentration were more consistent within racial/ethnic groups and grew stronger over time. These findings suggest the need to investigate community-level protective mechanisms that may explain these results. The null findings for ICE activity also require further research with alternative measures of discriminatory state action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10309-10332
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Issue number17-18
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • child abuse
  • cultural contexts
  • neglect
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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