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

  • Florian Kaufmann
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_151-200/WP187.pdf
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    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp187.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp187
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    1. 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.
    2. Angelucci, Manuela, 2005. "U.S. Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 1642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6798, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Hanson, G.H. & Spilimbergo, A., 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," Working Papers 449, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    5. Hanson, G.H. & Robertson, R. & Spilimbergo, A., 1999. "Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers from Illegal Immigration?," Working Papers 438, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    6. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
    7. 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.
    8. 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).
    9. Susan M. Richter & J. Edward Taylor & Antonio Naude, 2005. "Impacts of Policy Reforms on Labor Migration From Rural Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 11428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Robert E.B. Lucas, 2005. "International Migration and Economic Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3826.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
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