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U.S. Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration

  • Angelucci, Manuela

    ()

    (University of Michigan)

This paper investigates the effect of U.S. border enforcement on the net flow of Mexican undocumented migration. It shows how this effect is theoretically ambiguous, given that increases in border controls deter prospective migrants from crossing the border illegally, but lengthen the duration of current illegal migrations. It then estimates the impact of enforcement on 1972-1993 migration net flows by merging aggregate enforcement data with micro data on potential and current illegal Mexican migrants. The econometric model accounts for the endogeneity of border controls using the Drug Enforcement Administration budget as an instrumental variable. Both the inflow and outflow of illegal Mexican migration are highly sensitive to changes in border enforcement. The estimates of the enforcement overall effect on illegal migration's net flow range across different specifications, from a decline – about 35% of the size of the effect on the inflow – to an increase. Thus, they suggest that border enforcement may not be an effective means to reduce the level of the illegal alien population in the United States.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1642.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1642.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1642
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  1. Sherrie Kossoudji, 1992. "Playing Cat and Mouse at the U.S.-Mexican Border," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, May.
  2. Meghir, Costas & Whitehouse, Edward, 1997. "Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 327-354, August.
  3. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, October.
  4. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-85, May.
  5. Dustmann, Christian, 2003. "Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 353-369, April.
  6. Davila, Alberto & Pagan, Jose A & Grau, Montserrat Viladrich, 1999. " Immigration Reform, the INS, and the Distribution of Interior and Border Enforcement Resources," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 327-45, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
  9. Oded Stark & Christian Helmenstein & Yury Yegorov, 1997. "Migrants' Savings, Purchasing Power Parity, and the Optimal Duration of Migration," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 307-324, July.
  10. Hanson, G.H. & Spilimbergo, A., 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," Working Papers 449, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  11. 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.
  12. Douglas Massey & Audrey Singer, 1995. "New Estimates of Undocumented Mexican Migration and the Probability of Apprehension," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 203-213, May.
  13. DaVanzo, Julie, 1983. "Repeat Migration in the United States: Who Moves Back and Who Moves On?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 552-59, November.
  14. Dustmann, Christian, 1997. "Return migration, uncertainty and precautionary savings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 295-316, April.
  15. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," Research Department Publications 4036, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  16. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  17. Blundell, Richard W & Smith, Richard J, 1989. "Estimation in a Class of Simultaneous Equation Limited Dependent Variable Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 37-57, January.
  18. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  19. Hill, John K., 1987. "Immigrant decisions concerning duration of stay and migratory frequency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 221-234, February.
  20. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration: The Host-Country Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 56-71, March.
  21. Chesher, Andrew & Lancaster, Tony, 1983. "The Estimation of Models of Labour Market Behavior," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 609-24, October.
  22. 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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