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Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers from Illegal Immigration?

Gordon Hanson (), Raymond Robertson and Antonio Spilimbergo ()

Working Papers from Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan

Abstract: In this paper, we examine the impact of government enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico border on wages in the border regions of the United States and Mexico. The U.S. Border Patrol polices U.S. boundaries, seeking to apprehend any individual attempting to enter the United States illegally. These efforts are concentrated on the Mexican border, as most illegal immigrants embark from a Mexican border city and choose a U.S. border state as their final destination. We examine labor markets in southern California, southwestern Texas, and Mexican cities on the U.S.-Mexico border. For each region, we have high-frequency time-series data on wages and on the number of person hours that the U.S. Border Patrol spends policing border areas. For a range of empirical specifications and definitions of regional labor markets, we find little impact of border enforcement on wages in U.S. border cities and a moderate negative impact of border enforcement on wages in Mexican border cities. These findings are consistent with two hypothesis: (1) border enforcement has a minimal impact on illegal immigration, or (2) illegal immigration from Mexico has a minimal impact on wages in U.S. border areas.

Keywords: WAGES; IMMIGRATION (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J60 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1999
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Journal Article: Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers From Illegal Immigration? (2002) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers from Illegal Immigration? (1999) Downloads
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