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Attracting Undocumented Immigrants: The Perverse Effects of U.S. Border Enforcement

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  • Florian Kaufmann
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    Abstract

    This working paper examines how U.S. migration management techniques affect the flow of undocumented migrants from Mexico and Mexican migrants’ degree of socio-economic reorientation. The findings support the hypothesis that stricter U.S. border enforcement increases migrants’ detachment from their place of origin, and that this in turn leads to a net increase in the volume of illegal Mexican migration. Estimates suggest that the increase in border enforcement in the 1990s induced between 245,000 and 360,000 Mexicans per year to migrate illegally. The results also suggest that narrowing the U.S. – Mexican wage gap would reduce both the extent of illegal Mexican migration and the degree of migrants’ detachment from their place of origin. In addition, the results indicate that guest-worker programs, which facilitate continuing attachment to the migrant’s place of origin, might be a desirable option in the short-term.

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    File URL: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_151-200/WP187.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp187.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp187

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    Related research

    Keywords: International Migration; Border Enforcement; Migration Strategies; Assimilation;

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    References

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    1. Manuela Angelucci, 2012. "US Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 311 - 357.
    2. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," IDB Publications 6798, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Sherrie Kossoudji, 1992. "Playing Cat and Mouse at the U.S.-Mexican Border," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, May.
    4. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond Robertson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1999. "Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers from Illegal Immigration?," NBER Working Papers 7054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Splimbergo, 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 7315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
    9. Gathmann, Christina, 2004. "The Effects of Enforcement on Illegal Markets: Evidence from Migrant Smuggling along the Southwestern Border," IZA Discussion Papers 1004, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Susan M. Richter & J. Edward Taylor & Antonio Yúnez-Naude, 2007. "Impacts of Policy Reforms on Labor Migration from Rural Mexico to the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 269-288 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
    12. Katharine Donato & Jorge Durand & Douglas Massey, 1992. "Stemming the tide? Assessing the deterrent effects of the immigration reform and control act," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 139-157, May.
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