NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Illegal Immigration, State Law, and Deterrence

Mark Hoekstra, Sandra Orozco-Aleman

NBER Working Paper No. 20801
Issued in December 2014
NBER Program(s):Law and Economics, Labor Studies

A critical immigration policy question is whether state and federal policy can deter undocumented workers from entering the U.S. We examine whether Arizona SB 1070, arguably the most restrictive and controversial state immigration law ever passed, deterred entry into Arizona. We do so by exploiting a unique data set from a survey of undocumented workers passing through Mexican border towns on their way to the U.S. Results indicate the bill’s passage reduced the flow of undocumented immigrants into Arizona by 30 to 70 percent, suggesting that undocumented workers from Mexico are responsive to changes in state immigration policy. In contrast, we find no evidence that the law induced undocumented immigrants already in Arizona to return to Mexico.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20801

Published: Mark Hoekstra & Sandra Orozco-Aleman, 2017. "Illegal Immigration, State Law, and Deterrence," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 228-252, May. citation courtesy of

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