THE IMPACT OF PUNITIVE STATE IMMIGRATION POLICIES ON EMPLOYMENT AND POPULATION OUTCOMES FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS
Carter-Chau, April J
<bold>THE IMPACT OF PUNITIVE STATE IMMIGRATION POLICIES ON EMPLOYMENT AND POPULATION OUTCOMES FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS</bold><bold>ABSTRACT</bold>Illegal immigration is one of the most contentious issues of our times. The lack of comprehensive federal immigration reform has pushed states to enact provisions (e.g. Arizona’'s S.B. 1070 and Alabama’'s H.B. 56) intended to reduce their unauthorized immigrant populations. The question for policymakers is whether these bills are achieving their goals—--mainly to improve labor market outcomes for natives and to reduce the size of the unauthorized immigrant population. Employing data from the American Community Survey and the National Conference of State Legislatures, this analysis seeks to add to the very limited literature on the impact of recent state immigration legislation on the undocumented population. I analyze the relationship between punitive state law enforcement, omnibus, and labor immigration–-related laws and the share of workers in the low–-skilled sector who are undocumented immigrants. I also analyze the relationship between this legislation and the size of the undocumented immigrant population. The results show that law enforcement, omnibus, and labor legislation do not have a statistically significant relationship with the share of workers in the low–-skilled sector who are undocumented. The results also show that this legislation does not have a statistically significant relationship with the size of the undocumented immigrant population. However, there is weak evidence that law enforcement legislation is associated with a small decline in the size of the population of undocumented immigrants with less than a high school education. These findings suggest that, for policymakers seeking to improve employment opportunities for natives or to reduce the size of the undocumented immigrant population, pursuing law enforcement, omnibus, and labor legislation may not be an effective approach.
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