Did Employer Sanctions Lose Their Bite? Labor Market Effects of Immigrant Legalization

49 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2010

See all articles by Magnus Lofstrom

Magnus Lofstrom

Public Policy Institute of California; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Laura E. Hill

Public Policy Institute of California

Joseph J. Hayes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Taking advantage of the ability to identify immigrants who were unauthorized to work prior to obtaining Legal Permanent Resident status, we use the New Immigrant Survey to examine whether lacking legal status to work in the U.S. constrains employment outcomes of illegal immigrants. With the exception of high-skilled unauthorized immigrants, the data fail to reveal evidence of improved employment outcomes attributable to legal status. In light of evidence that unauthorized immigrants experienced increased wages as a result of receiving amnesty through the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act during the 1990s, we interpret the results as evidence of ineffective employer sanctions.

Keywords: unauthorized, illegal, undocumented, immigration, legalization, amnesty

JEL Classification: J8, J15, J18, J31, J61

Suggested Citation

Lofstrom, Magnus and Hill, Laura E. and Hayes, Joseph J., Did Employer Sanctions Lose Their Bite? Labor Market Effects of Immigrant Legalization. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4972. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1631107

Magnus Lofstrom (Contact Author)

Public Policy Institute of California ( email )

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

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+49 228 3894 210 (Fax)

Laura E. Hill

Public Policy Institute of California ( email )

500 Washington Street
Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States

Joseph J. Hayes

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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