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The effects of tougher enforcement on the job prospects of recent Latin American immigrants

  • Pia M. Orrenius
  • Madeline Zavodny

Attempts to enforce immigration laws in the U.S. interior have proliferated in recent years, yet the effects of these laws on immigrants are largely unknown. This paper examines whether increases in immigration-related law enforcement since 2001 have adversely affected the labor market outcomes of low-education male immigrants from Latin America, a group that comprises the bulk of undocumented workers in the U.S. The crackdown on the use of fraudulent Social Security numbers, increased requirements for government-issued identification, and other changes associated with greater focus on national security likely lowered the demand for undocumented foreign-born workers in the years following the 9|11 terrorist attacks. Using Current Population Survey data and a difference-in-differences estimation technique, we find strong evidence of worse labor market outcomes among recent Latin American immigrants in the post-9|11 period relative to natives and prior Latin American immigrants. The results indicate a decline in employment, hours worked, and earnings among recent male Latin American immigrants relative to similarly low-skilled black and Hispanic natives and vis-�-vis Latin American immigrants who have been in the U.S. longer. Our findings are consistent with firms increasingly substituting legal workers for undocumented labor in the years following 9|11. © 2009 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20425
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 239-257

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:239-257
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  1. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner & Cordelia Reimers, 2007. "Labor Market Effects of September 11th on Arab and Muslim Residents of the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  2. Davila, Alberto & Pagan, Jose A, 1997. "The Effect of Selective INS Monitoring Strategies on the Industrial Employment Choice and Earnings of Recent Immigrants," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(1), pages 138-50, January.
  3. Erica L. Groshen & Simon Potter, 2003. "Has structural change contributed to a jobless recovery?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Aug).
  4. 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.
  5. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Cynthia Bansak, 2005. "The Differential Wage Impact of the Immigration Reform and Control Act on Latino Ethnic Subgroups," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(s1), pages 1279-1298.
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