The Myth of Immigrant Criminality

Public Perceptions of Immigrants and Crime *This essay originally appeared as a special report for the Immigration Policy Center, a division of the American Immigration Law Foundation. It is printed here with the permission of the IPC and the AILF. Myths and stereotypes about immigrants and crime often provide the underpinnings for public policies and […]

Labour Market Flooding? Migrant Destination and Wage Change during America’s Age of Mass Migration

Influential voices in the media and in public policy circles have sustained the impression and perhaps heightened the concern that high levels of immigration harm resident Americans by reducing their wages.  This perception of “labour market flooding” – sometimes billed as “common sense” (Brimelow, 1995) – is bolstered by the logic of introductory-level microeconomic theory.  […]

The United States and Mexico: Prospects for a Bilateral Migration Policy

On July 2, 2000, Vicente Fox became Mexico’s first democratically-elected opposition president, and almost made good on a campaign promise to re-examine US-Mexican migration relations by proposing that the countries of North America begin eliminating controls on regional labor flows. The idea of a common market fell on deaf ears within the United States, but […]

Do Surges in Less-Skilled Immigration Have Important Wage Effects?

Over the last three decades the U.S. has experienced a second great surge in immigration, comparable in many respects to the massive increase in foreign born workers in the Age of Mass Migration – the decades around the start of the last century. Between 1970 and 2005 the foreign-born share of the U.S. labor force […]

Impacts of Border Enforcement on Unauthorized Mexican Migration to the United States

Summary How have heightened border controls affected the decision-making of unauthorized Mexican migrants to the United States?[1. Testimony prepared for the House Judiciary Committee, Field Hearing on Immigration, San Diego, Calif., August 2, 2006.] My research findings, based on highly detailed, face-to-face interviews with 1,327 migrants and their relatives in Mexico during the last 18 months,[2. […]

Migration and Borders: The Space for Contradiction

United States Tolerance and the Mexican Omission In practice, the phenomenon of labor migration works as a system of complementary components. What for one country is a process for immigrant arrivals, for the other is a process of emigration and people in transit. In order for the system to work, the logic of how these […]

A Century of Informality on the United States-Mexico Border

The present situation on the United States-Mexico border is not exactly new, but nearly a century old, and largely of the U.S.’s own making.[1. This historical background is drawn from my book, A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, and New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006).]  Mexican labor […]

Mexican Migrant Civic Participation in the United States

In the spring of 2006, more than three million immigrants—most of them originally from Mexico—marched through the streets of Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Detroit, Denver, Dallas, and dozens of other U.S. cities to protest peacefully for a comprehensive reform that would legalize the status of millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.[1. This […]