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Location choices of undocumented migrants: Does access to higher public education matter?

Richard Cebula (), Mpaza Kapembwa and Usha Nair‐Reichert

Growth and Change, 2021, vol. 52, issue 1, 167-194

Abstract: We examine the impact of differences in state‐level higher education policies on location choices of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. using six years of available data over the period 2000 to 2012. The effect of greater access to higher education on the percentage of undocumented migrants residing in a state is positive, suggesting the existence of a “higher public education magnet” effect. Among states with favorable higher education policies, undocumented migrants prefer those states with larger networks, despite the likelihood of greater competition for admission to public institutions of higher education. However, undocumented migrants are reluctant to locate in states that have both large networks and unfavorable educational policies. This is possibly because the fear of attracting additional restrictive regulations dominates the positive cost‐saving effect of large networks.

Date: 2021
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