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Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers From Illegal Immigration?

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  • Gordon H. Hanson
  • Raymond Robertson
  • Antonio Spilimbergo

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the impact of enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico border on wages in U.S. and Mexican border regions. The U.S. Border Patrol polices U.S. boundaries, seeking to apprehend any undocumented entrants. It concentrates its efforts on the Mexican border. We examine labor markets in border areas of California, Texas, and Mexico. For each region, we have high-frequency data on wages and person-hours the U.S. Border Patrol spends policing the border. For a range of empirical specifications and definitions of regional labor markets, we find little impact of border enforcement on wages in U.S. border cities and a moderate negative impact of border enforcement on wages in Mexican border cities. These findings are consistent with two hypotheses: border enforcement has a minimal impact on illegal immigration, and illegal immigration from Mexico has a minimal impact on wages in U.S. border areas. © 2002 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 84 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 73-92

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:84:y:2002:i:1:p:73-92

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  1. George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1995. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means- Tested Entitlement Programs," NBER Working Papers 5372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1.
  3. Antonio Spilimbergo & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1337-1357, December.
  4. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Rachel M. Friedberg & J. Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Working Papers, Brown University, Department of Economics 95-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "On the Labor Market Effects of Immigration and Trade," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 213-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Randall Filer, 1992. "The Effect of Immigrant Arrivals on Migratory Patterns of Native Workers," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 245-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Godfrey, L G, 1994. "Testing for Serial Correlation by Variable Addition in Dynamic Models Estimated by Instrumental Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 550-59, August.
  12. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Immigrants, minorities, and labor market competition," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(3), pages 382-392, April.
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  15. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
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