Latinos and Environmental Justice: Examining the Link between Degenerative Policy, Political Representation, and Environmental Policy Implementation

2018-06-25T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Jiaqi Liang
The theory of social construction and policy design is insightful for exploring the circumstances in which the allocation of policy benefits and burdens is attributed to the feed‐forward effect of degenerative policy that institutionalizes bias and reinforces the prevailing categorization and embedded social meaning regarding target populations. However, this theoretical framework has not been broadly adopted to analyze the environment‐related phenomena. With a nationwide, block‐group‐level sample, this study examines the extent to which degenerative policies pertaining to immigrants influence state agencies' environmental regulatory outputs for predominantly Latino communities. Results show that in the states with moderately to most restrictive immigrant policy and high levels of Latino representation in legislatures, the rigorousness of government agencies' compliance monitoring activities decreases for Latino neighborhoods of environmental justice concern, as states' policy stance toward immigrants becomes more unfavorable. More Latino elected officials do not bolster policy implementation efforts for the vulnerable communities or offset the backlash effect of immigrant policy.