Immigration Demand and the Boomerang of Deportation Policies
54 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 22, 2019
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: Suggested Citation