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How Do Tougher Immigration Measures Impact Unauthorized Immigrants?

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes


    (San Diego State University)

  • Thitima Puttitanun


    (San Diego State University)

  • Ana Martinez-Donate


    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The recent impetus of tougher immigration-related measures passed at the state-level raises concerns about the impact of such measures on the migration experience, trajectory and future plans of unauthorized immigrants. In a recent and unique survey of Mexican unauthorized immigrants interviewed upon their voluntary return or deportation to Mexico, almost a third reports experiencing difficulties in obtaining social or government services, finding legal assistance or obtaining health care services. Additionally, half of them report fearing deportation despite all of them being unauthorized. When we assess how the enactment of punitive measures against unauthorized immigrants, such as E-Verify mandates, has impacted their migration experience, we find no evidence of a statistically significant association between these measures and the difficulties reported by unauthorized immigrants in accessing a variety of services. However, the enactment of these mandates infuses deportation fear and reduces inter-state mobility among voluntary returnees during their last migration spell, and helps curb deportees’ intent to return to the United States in the near future.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1302.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1302
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  1. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6798, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Sherrie Kossoudji, 1992. "Playing Cat and Mouse at the U.S.-Mexican Border," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, May.
  3. 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.
  4. Patrick A. Rivers & Fausto G. Patino, 2006. "Barriers to health care access for Latino immigrants in the USA," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(3), pages 207-220, March.
  5. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
  6. Pia M. Orrenius, 2001. "Illegal immigration and enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border; an overview," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q I, pages 2-11.
  7. Davila, Alberto & Pagan, Jose A. & Soydemir, Gokce, 2002. "The short-term and long-term deterrence effects of INS border and interior enforcement on undocumented immigration," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 459-472, December.
  8. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak & Allan A. Zebedee, 2014. "On the Effectiveness of SB1070 in Arizona," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1424, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  9. 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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