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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

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:84:y:2002:i:1:p:73-92
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, vol. 89(5), pages 1337-1357, December.
    2. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1991. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 201-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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, vol. 76(3), pages 550-559, August.
    5. George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604.
    6. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
    7. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "On the Labor Market Effects of Immigration and Trade," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 213-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Randall Filer, 1992. "The Effect of Immigrant Arrivals on Migratory Patterns of Native Workers," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 245-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
    10. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    11. George J. Borjas, 1986. "Immigrants, Minorities, and Labor Market Competition," NBER Working Papers 2028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    14. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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