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The Influence of a Change in Immigration Law on US Marriage Rates


  • Claudia Smith Kelly

    (Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University, 452C DeVos Center, 401 W. Fulton Street, Grand Rapids MI 49504, USA)


This article analyzes how a change in immigration law can affect the marriage behavior of immigrants. The Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act of 2000 provided a 4-month period in which certain undocumented immigrants could complete the legalization process without having to return to their countries of origin. Marriage to a US citizen or legal immigrant is one way undocumented immigrants can qualify for the immigration benefit provided by the LIFE Act of 2000. Examining marriage behavior before, during, and after the law change indicates that the immigration law change affected the marital decisions of immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Smith Kelly, 2010. "The Influence of a Change in Immigration Law on US Marriage Rates," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 500-522.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:36:y:2010:i:4:p:500-522

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