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The impact of illegal immigration and enforcement on border crime rates

Author

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  • Coronado, Roberto

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

  • Orrenius, Pia M.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

Abstract

Border crime rates lie consistently below the national average. In the 1990s, however, while there as a large decline in property-related crime along the U.S.-Mexico border, violent crime rates began to converge to the national average. At the same time, legal and illegal immigration from Mexico surged and border enforcement rose to unprecedented levels. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between border county crime rates, immigration and enforcement since the early 1990s. We find that while the volume of illegal immigration is not related to changes in property-related crime, there is a significant positive correlation with the incidence of violent crime. This is most likely due to extensive smuggling activity along the border. Border enforcement meanwhile is significantly negatively related to crime rates. The bad news is that the deterrent effect of the border patrol diminishes over this time period, and the net impact of more enforcement on border crime since the late 1990s is zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Coronado, Roberto & Orrenius, Pia M., 2003. "The impact of illegal immigration and enforcement on border crime rates," Working Papers 0303, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:03-03 Note: Published as: Coronado, Roberto and Pia M. Orrenius (2007), " The Effect of Undocumented Immigration and Border Enforcement on Crime Rates along the U.S.-Mexico Border," Migraciones Internacionales 4 (1): 39-64.
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    File URL: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research/papers/2003/wp0303.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ehrlich, Isaac & Brower, George D, 1987. "On the Issue of Causality in the Economic Model of Crime and Law Enforcement: Some Theoretical Considerations and Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 99-106, May.
    2. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Cross-city evidence on the relationship between immigration and crime," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 457-493.
    3. McCormick, Robert E & Tollison, Robert D, 1984. "Crime on the Court," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 223-235, April.
    4. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
    5. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Recent Immigrants: Unexpected Implications for Crime and Incarceration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(4), pages 654-679, July.
    6. Wayne A. Cornelius, 2001. "Death at the Border: Efficacy and Unintended Consequences of US Immigration Control Policy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(4), pages 661-685.
    7. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amaranta Melchor del Río & Susanne Thorwarth, 2006. "Tomatoes or Tomato Pickers? - Free Trade and Migration in the NAFTA Case," Working Papers 0429, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2006.
    2. ?gel Solano Garc?, 2004. "Does illegal immigration empower rightist parties?," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 614.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    3. Pedro H. Albuquerque, 2005. "Shared Legacies, Disparate Outcomes: Why American South Border Cities Turned the Tables on Crime and Their Mexican Sisters Did Not," Law and Economics 0511002, EconWPA.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emigration and immigration; Labor supply; Crime;

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