Kosher food, illegal immigrants and low birth weight

An analysis after the arrest of nearly 400 illegal immigrant workers at a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa has led scholars to link immigration raid worry to low-birth weight babies. The Postville raid of 2008 was, at the time, the largest single-site federal immigration raid in US history.

Nicole Novak, epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and colleagues compared infants born in the 37 weeks following the raid to those born in the same 37 week period the previous year- 2007. Though the sample was small and the associations were weak, the fact that infants born to immigrant and U.S.-born Latina mothers had a 24% greater risk of being born at a low birth weight when compared to the same period earlier. No such change was observed among infants born to non-Latina white mothers. Furthermore, analyses revealed a higher risk of moderate premature birth (32 to <37 weeks) after the raid among Latina mothers.

Nonetheless, they conclude that enforcement of immigration policies could put even the health of U.S.-born Latina mothers facing no risk of deportation at significant risk.