Dissertations and Theses

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DPH)


Health Policy and Management


Sean J. Haley

Committee Members

Dylan Roby

Alice Sardell

Hongbin Zhang

Subject Categories

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Health | Social Justice


immigration, structural racism, immigration policy, critical race theory, health determinants, California, political environment


Immigration policy was a marquee issue in the US presidential administration of Donald Trump. Trump’s administration employed both policy and rhetoric related to immigrants to mobilize voters, alter immigration policies and practices, and sustain a narrative of a nation under attack by immigrants. Administration officials were able to undertake these approaches because of existing immigration law, but they did so in more explicitly punitive ways than in recent administrations. The goal of this dissertation is to explore the health impacts of the administration’s practices and their effects. Paper 1 analyzes the immigration rhetoric and policies of US president Donald Trump and his administration using critical race theory (CRT) perspectives and finds that Trump’s political ascendency illustrates several core tenets of CRT. Paper 2 demonstrates the adverse effects of punitive immigration policies and rhetoric, and explores their variable effects among white, Asian, and Latino/a immigrants, by income levels, and by immigration status. Paper 3 tests the impact of exposure to the political environment characterized by an anti-immigrant federal policy environment following the election within the general population, and by exploring whether those effects varied by race and ethnicity. We find that many different kinds of people in California experienced heightened distress, that all low-income immigrants experienced disruptions in access to food, and that certain groups of both immigrant and US-born populations reported less confidence in having access to a doctor following the election. These findings support the case that immigration policies that are punitive or restrictive undermine efforts to improve public health.

Permission for EPHS document.pdf (182 kB)
Instructions on citing Essential Public Health Services from the Public Health Services Futures Initiative Task Force



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.