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Attracting Undocumented Immigrants: The Perverse Effects of U.S. Border Enforcement

Author

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  • Florian Kaufmann

Abstract

This working paper examines how U.S. migration management techniques affect the flow of undocumented migrants from Mexico and Mexican migrants’ degree of socio-economic reorientation. The findings support the hypothesis that stricter U.S. border enforcement increases migrants’ detachment from their place of origin, and that this in turn leads to a net increase in the volume of illegal Mexican migration. Estimates suggest that the increase in border enforcement in the 1990s induced between 245,000 and 360,000 Mexicans per year to migrate illegally. The results also suggest that narrowing the U.S. – Mexican wage gap would reduce both the extent of illegal Mexican migration and the degree of migrants’ detachment from their place of origin. In addition, the results indicate that guest-worker programs, which facilitate continuing attachment to the migrant’s place of origin, might be a desirable option in the short-term.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Kaufmann, 2008. "Attracting Undocumented Immigrants: The Perverse Effects of U.S. Border Enforcement," Working Papers wp187, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp187
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    File URL: https://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_151-200/WP187.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Political economy, sectoral shocks, and border enforcement," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(3), pages 612-638, August.
    2. Antonio Spilimbergo & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1337-1357, December.
    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. Katharine Donato & Jorge Durand & Douglas Massey, 1992. "Stemming the tide? Assessing the deterrent effects of the immigration reform and control act," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(2), pages 139-157, May.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Gathmann, Christina, 2004. "The Effects of Enforcement on Illegal Markets: Evidence from Migrant Smuggling along the Southwestern Border," IZA Discussion Papers 1004, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Robert E.B. Lucas, 2005. "International Migration and Economic Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3826.
    11. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
    12. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
    13. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    International Migration; Border Enforcement; Migration Strategies; Assimilation;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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