Deputize and Deport: The Effect of Immigration Enforcement on Policing

78 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2020

See all articles by Marcel Roman

Marcel Roman

University of California-Los Angeles, Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 9, 2020

Abstract

Does expanding the role of the police to include immigration enforcement reduce their effectiveness? I use a regression discontinuity design and daily data on over 17 million traffic stops to evaluate the effect of a policy directive increasing Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Highway Patrol presence near the border in the predominantly Latinx counties of Hidalgo and Starr for the purposes of anti-human and drug trafficking. I find the directive substantially increased the number of traffic stops in its area of operations, increased the rate of unnecessary stops, and decreased the stop-and-search hit rate for recovering relevant contraband (e.g. drugs, weapons). Moreover, the directive appears to have had limited effectiveness in detecting human smuggling, finding undocumented immigrants, and reducing crime. These effects are not driven by an influx of inexperienced troopers, but rather lower thresholds for initializing a traffic stop motivated by the directive, consistent with qualitative accounts of profiling and unwarranted policing in the South Texas region.

Keywords: Immigration, policing, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Roman, Marcel, Deputize and Deport: The Effect of Immigration Enforcement on Policing (September 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3689985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3689985

Marcel Roman (Contact Author)

University of California-Los Angeles, Department of Political Science ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

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