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U.S. Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration

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  • Angelucci, Manuela

    ()
    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of U.S. border enforcement on the net flow of Mexican undocumented migration. It shows how this effect is theoretically ambiguous, given that increases in border controls deter prospective migrants from crossing the border illegally, but lengthen the duration of current illegal migrations. It then estimates the impact of enforcement on 1972-1993 migration net flows by merging aggregate enforcement data with micro data on potential and current illegal Mexican migrants. The econometric model accounts for the endogeneity of border controls using the Drug Enforcement Administration budget as an instrumental variable. Both the inflow and outflow of illegal Mexican migration are highly sensitive to changes in border enforcement. The estimates of the enforcement overall effect on illegal migration's net flow range across different specifications, from a decline – about 35% of the size of the effect on the inflow – to an increase. Thus, they suggest that border enforcement may not be an effective means to reduce the level of the illegal alien population in the United States.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1642.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1642

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Keywords: border enforcement; illegal migration; Mexico;

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References

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  1. Wayne A. Cornelius, 2001. "Death at the Border: Efficacy and Unintended Consequences of US Immigration Control Policy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(4), pages 661-685.
  2. Chesher, Andrew & Lancaster, Tony, 1983. "The Estimation of Models of Labour Market Behavior," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 609-24, October.
  3. Dustmann, Christian, 1997. "Return migration, uncertainty and precautionary savings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 295-316, April.
  4. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," Research Department Publications 4036, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  5. DaVanzo, Julie, 1983. "Repeat Migration in the United States: Who Moves Back and Who Moves On?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 552-59, November.
  6. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, October.
  7. Oded Stark & Christian Helmenstein & Yury Yegorov, 1997. "Migrants' Savings, Purchasing Power Parity, and the Optimal Duration of Migration," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 307-324, July.
  8. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Splimbergo, 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 7315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
  10. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-85, May.
  11. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Kevin Lang, 1991. "Undocumented Mexican-born Workers in the United States: How Many, How Permanent?," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 77-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hill, John K., 1987. "Immigrant decisions concerning duration of stay and migratory frequency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 221-234, February.
  13. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond Robertson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2002. "Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers From Illegal Immigration?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 73-92, February.
  14. Costas Meghir & Edward Whitehouse, 1993. "Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK," IFS Working Papers W93/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Blundell, Richard W & Smith, Richard J, 1989. "Estimation in a Class of Simultaneous Equation Limited Dependent Variable Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 37-57, January.
  16. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  17. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration: The Host-Country Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 56-71, March.
  18. George J. Borjas, 1988. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dustmann, Christian, 2001. "Return Migration, Wage Differentials, and the Optimal Migration Duration," IZA Discussion Papers 264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Davila, Alberto & Pagan, Jose A & Grau, Montserrat Viladrich, 1999. " Immigration Reform, the INS, and the Distribution of Interior and Border Enforcement Resources," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 327-45, June.
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