Immigration Demand and the Boomerang of Deportation Policies

54 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2019

See all articles by Christian Ambrosius

Christian Ambrosius

Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Institute of Latin American Studies

David A. Leblang

University of Virginia; University of Virginia - College of Arts and Sciences; University of Virginia - Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics; University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Date Written: November 22, 2019

Abstract

What causes the demand for migration into the United States? We argue for, and demonstrate the existence of, a vicious cycle of US immigration policy and migration between the United States and countries from Latin America and the Caribbean. Our argument is simple: deportation of convicts from the United States leads to violence in the deportees’ home country which, in turn, increases the demand for that country’s natives to seek entry into the United States. We test this argument utilizing a nested research design based on cross-country panel data for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as subnational administrative and individual survey data from the case of El Salvador. At the cross-country level, we first estimate the effect of deportations on home country violence and find a strong positive effect of the lagged inflow of convicts on violence, but not for the inflow of non-convicts. In the second step, we show that the predicted level of home country violence helps explain the demand for entry into the United States. Municipal level and survey data from El Salvador complement the cross-country study and illustrate the export of gangs from the United States as one specific mechanism of how the deportation boomerang works. In the first step regression, we predict the contagion of gangs along migration corridors following large-scale deportations to El Salvador. In the second step regression, we use survey data to explain migration intentions as well as high rates of actual migration as a result of gang-related violence in El Salvador.

Keywords: deportations, violence, homicides, gangs, migration, nested research design, Latin America and the Caribbean, El Salvador, two-step regression

JEL Classification: F22, J68, K37

Suggested Citation

Ambrosius, Christian and Leblang, David A., Immigration Demand and the Boomerang of Deportation Policies (November 22, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3491522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3491522

Christian Ambrosius

Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Institute of Latin American Studies ( email )

Ruedesheimer Str. 54-56
Berlin, 14197
Germany

David A. Leblang (Contact Author)

University of Virginia ( email )

PO Box 400787
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
United States

University of Virginia - College of Arts and Sciences ( email )

VA
United States

University of Virginia - Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics ( email )

PO Box 400787
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
United States

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States

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