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U.S. Border Enforcement and Mexican Immigrant Location Choice

  • Bohn, Sarah


    (Public Policy Institute of California)

  • Pugatch, Todd


    (Oregon State University)

We provide the first evidence on the causal effect of border enforcement on the full spatial distribution of Mexican immigrants to the United States. We address the endogeneity of border enforcement with an instrumental variables strategy based on administrative delays in budgetary allocations for border security. We find that 1,000 additional border patrol officers assigned to prevent unauthorized migrants from entering a state decreases that state's share of Mexican immigrants by 21.9%. Our estimates imply that border enforcement alone accounted for declines in the share of Mexican immigrants locating in California and Texas of 11 and 6 percentage points, respectively, over the period 1994-2011, with all other states experiencing gains or no change.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7842.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Demography, 2015, 52 (5), 1543-1570
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7842
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  1. 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.
  2. Fernando A. Lozano & Mary J. Lopez, 2013. "Border Enforcement and Selection of Mexican Immigrants in the United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 76-110, January.
  3. David Card & Ethan G. Lewis, 2007. "The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 193-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Pia M. Orrenius, 1999. "The role of family networks, coyote prices and the rural economy in migration from Western Mexico: 1965-1994," Working Papers 9910, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
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  7. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Pozo, Susan, 2014. "On the Intended and Unintended Consequences of Enhanced Border and Interior Immigration Enforcement: Evidence from Deportees," IZA Discussion Papers 8458, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," NBER Working Papers 5592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rendon, Silvio & Cuecuecha, Alfredo, 2007. "International Job Search: Mexicans In and Out of the US," IZA Discussion Papers 3219, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  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. Sarah Bohn & Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael, 2014. "Did the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act Reduce the State's Unauthorized Immigrant Population?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 258-269, May.
  13. Mary Kritz & June Nogle, 1994. "Nativity concentration and internal migration among the foreign-born," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(3), pages 509-524, August.
  14. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
  15. Brian C. Cadena & Brian K. Kovak, 2016. "Immigrants Equilibrate Local Labor Markets: Evidence from the Great Recession," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 257-90, January.
  16. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Susan Pozo, 2014. "On the Intended and Unintended Consequences of Enhanced U.S. Border and Interior Immigration Enforcement: Evidence From Mexican Deportees," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2255-2279, December.
  17. Cadena, Brian C., 2014. "Recent immigrants as labor market arbitrageurs: Evidence from the minimum wage," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 1-12.
  18. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bohn, Sarah & Pugatch, Todd, 2013. "U.S. Border Enforcement and Mexican Immigrant Location Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 7842, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Matthew Hall, 2013. "Residential Integration on the New Frontier: Immigrant Segregation in Established and New Destinations," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(5), pages 1873-1896, October.
  21. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Ziliak, James P, 1997. "Efficient Estimation with Panel Data When Instruments Are Predetermined: An Empirical Comparison of Moment-Condition Estimators," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(4), pages 419-31, October.
  23. Scanlon, Dennis P. & Chernew, Michael & McLaughlin, Catherine & Solon, Gary, 2002. "The impact of health plan report cards on managed care enrollment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 19-41, January.
  24. 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.
  25. Pablo Ibarraran & Darren Lubotsky, 2007. "Mexican Immigration and Self-Selection: New Evidence from the 2000 Mexican Census," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 159-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Robert Warren & John Robert Warren, 2013. "Unauthorized Immigration to the United States: Annual Estimates and Components of Change, by State, 1990 to 2010," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 296-329, 06.
  27. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
  28. Watson, Tara, 2013. "Enforcement and immigrant location choice," Working Papers 13-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  29. Brian C. Cadena, 2013. "Native Competition and Low-Skilled Immigrant Inflows," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 910-944.
  30. Gathmann, Christina, 2008. "Effects of enforcement on illegal markets: Evidence from migrant smuggling along the southwestern border," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1926-1941, October.
  31. Sherrie Kossoudji, 1992. "Playing Cat and Mouse at the U.S.-Mexican Border," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, May.
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