Illegal Immigration: The Trump Effect
Recent years have witnessed the emergence of increasingly provocative anti-immigrant politicians in both Europe and the United States. We examine whether the 2016 election of Donald Trump, who made illegal immigration and border enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign, reduced illegal immigration into the U.S. We exploit the fact the election result was widely unexpected and thus generated a large, overnight change in expected immigration policy and rhetoric. We compare migration flows before and after the election and find that while it reduced immigration among deported Mexicans and at least temporarily among Central Americans, it had no effect on the overall inflow of unauthorized Mexican workers.
We would like to thank seminar participants at the University of Florida and the 2021 ASSA Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association for helpful comments and suggestions. Any errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.