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

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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

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International Migration; Border Enforcement; Migration Strategies; Assimilation;
    All these keywords.

    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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