Unauthorized Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent Inflows and Possible Future Scenarios

26 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2017

See all articles by Pia M. Orrenius

Pia M. Orrenius

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Agnes Scott College

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2017-01-02

Abstract

The U.S. economy has long relied on immigrant workers, many of them unauthorized, yet estimates of the inflow of unauthorized workers and the determinants of that inflow are hard to come by. This paper provides estimates of the number of newly arriving unauthorized workers from Mexico, the principal source of unauthorized immigrants to the United States, and examines how the inflow is related to U.S. and Mexico economic conditions. Our estimates suggest that annual inflows of unauthorized workers averaged about 170,000 during 1996-2014 but were much higher before the economic downturn that began in 2007. Labor market conditions in the U.S. and Mexico play key roles in this migrant flow. The models estimated here predict that annual unauthorized inflows from Mexico will be about 100,000 in the future if recent economic conditions persist, and higher if the U.S. economy booms or the Mexican economy weakens.

Keywords: Unauthorized immigrants, Illegal immigrants, Temporary foreign workers

JEL Classification: J15, J18, J61

Suggested Citation

Orrenius, Pia M. and Zavodny, Madeline, Unauthorized Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent Inflows and Possible Future Scenarios (2017-01-02). FRB of Dallas Working Paper No. 1701, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2896641 or http://dx.doi.org/10.24149/wp1701

Pia M. Orrenius (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States
214-922-5747 (Phone)
214-922-5194 (Fax)

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida ( email )

4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South
Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Agnes Scott College ( email )

United States

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