The effects of immigration and sanctuary statutes on natives' labor market outcomes
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This study responds to three recent phenomena in immigration policy and the United States labor market: the growing ambiguity of localities' roles in immigration enforcement, the influx of lower-skilled immigrants, and the expansion of employment-preferences in immigrant admissions. Building on pre-existing labor market literature, this paper examines the impact of sanctuary statutes and citizenship on natives' average wages and unemployment rates in U.S. cities. "Sanctuary statutes" are city-level ordinances that ban municipal employees from gathering information about a resident's legal status and prohibit the use of city funds for federal immigration enforcement. These policies have given rise to a debate about the type of immigrants drawn to sanctuary cities and their subsequent impacts. Using Census data from 1980-2000, this study segments the foreign-born population into naturalized citizens and noncitizen immigrants. The findings indicate whether or not an immigrant has attained U.S. citizenship bears a greater impact upon native's labor market outcomes than the presence of sanctuary statutes. Moreover, the evidence suggests, on average, naturalized citizens serve as imperfect substitutes to natives while noncitizen immigrants act as complements. The policy implications are that: (a) sanctuary statutes can continue to be enacted on the basis that they cause no harm to natives' labor market performance; and (b) immigrant admissions criteria should be mindful of the differing effects produced by segments of the foreign-born population. Better data on subgroups of the foreign-born are necessary as is a more standardized process for analyzing sanctuary statute impacts.
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