Heather Koball

Director of Family Economic Security, National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University
Chapter Member: New York City SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Heather

Koball’s primary research focuses on state-level, immigrant-related policies, including state immigration enforcement policies, state policies on providing public benefits to immigrants, and state immigrant integration policies. She examines the impact of these policies on immigrant families’ well-being, measured in a range of ways. For example, she recently completed an analysis of the impact of state immigration enforcement on the material hardship experienced by immigrant families. Koball also completed an analysis of the impact of state SNAP (i.e., food stamp) programs for unauthorized and recent immigrants on immigrant families’ receipt of SNAP and experiences of food insecurity. Her other areas of public policy expertise include, state variation in public benefit policies, state paid family leave, and education and employment programs for disconnected youth.

Koball helps raise funds for and collect food for the First Presbyterian Church (FPC) of Metuchen, NJ’s food pantry. And she currently serves on the justice committee at FPC, which is working toward become a sanctuary church for immigrants at risk of deportation.

In the News

Heather Koball quoted , "Deportations Orphan’s: Who Cares for Children When Parents are Ejected" CALmatters, April 19, 2017.
Heather Koball quoted by Henry Grabar, "If Mom and Dad are Deported" Slate, March 10, 2017.


"State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How They Impact Low-Income Households" (with Julia Gelatt, Hamutal Bernstain, Charmaine Runes, and Eleanor Pratt). Urban Institute (2017).

Estimates the impact of state level immigration enforcement policies on the material hardship of immigrant families. 

"Health and Social Service Needs of U.S. Citizen Children with Detained or Deported Immigrant Parents" (with Randolph Capps, Krista Perreira, Andrea Campetella, Sarah Hooker, Juan Pedroza, William Monson, and Sandra Huerta). Urban Institute (2015).

Documents the effect of a parent’s detention or deportation through immigration enforcement on their children’s well-being. It provides insights into how social and health services can better meet these children’s needs. 

"Uniting the Patchwork: Measuring State and Local Immigration Contexts" (with Julia Gelatt and Hamutal Bernstain). Urban Institute (2015).

Describes the range of ways that states and local areas regulate immigration and describes how best to measure the variation in state and local policy. 

"Food Insecurity and SNAP Use Among Immigrant Families with Children During the Economic Downturn," (with Albert Yung-Hsu, Seth Morgan, and Liz Clary), Economic Research Service, US Department of Argriculture, 2013.

Analyzes the impact of state SNAP policies for immigrants on the food insecurity and use of SNAP among immigrant families.