Boiling Pot

Kevin Lewis

February 14, 2020

A Market for Work Permits
Michael Lokshin & Martin Ravallion
NBER Working Paper, December 2019


It will be politically difficult to liberalize international migration without protecting host-country workers. The paper explores the scope for efficiently managing migration using a competitive market for work permits. Host-county workers would have the option of renting out their citizenship work permit for a period of their choice, while foreigners purchase time-bound work permits. Aggregate labor supply need not rise in the host country. However, total output would rise and workers would see enhanced social protection. Simulations for the US and Mexico suggest that the new market would attract many skilled migrants, boosting GDP and reducing poverty in the US.

The Paradox Between Integration and Perceived Discrimination Among American Muslims
Nazita Lajevardi et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming


Muslim Americans are increasingly integrated into American life, displaying high socioeconomic status, political participation, and adherence to American values. However, they are evaluated more negatively than many other racial, ethnic, and religious minorities and are frequent targets of discrimination. This article examines the mismatch between the integration of Muslims and their poor reception. Drawing on theories of cultural fluency and cognitive dissonance, we argue that cultural integration can exacerbate, rather than mitigate, perceived discrimination because integrated individuals are socialized to expect fair treatment and can recognize and decode even subtle forms of discrimination due to high levels of cultural and language fluency. Using three nationally representative surveys and an opt‐in, online study of American Muslims between 2007 and 2017, we find that integrated Muslims are consistently more likely than their counterparts to report individual‐ and group‐level societal and political discrimination. The paradox between adopting the host culture and feeling marginalized poses a challenge to the assumption that integration naturally leads to a sense of belonging among minorities, with important implications for liberal democracies.

States Taking the Reins? Employment Verification Requirements and Local Labor Market Outcomes
Shalise Ayromloo, Benjamin Feigenberg & Darren Lubotsky
NBER Working Paper, January 2020


We estimate the impact of state-level “E-Verify” legislation that mandates employment eligibility verification for private-sector workers. We document declines in formal sector employment and employment turnover after mandate passage, with effects concentrated among those likeliest to be work-ineligible. Using newly available data, we show that larger firms are far more likely to comply with mandates. Heterogeneity in adherence leads to substantial within-state employment spillovers from larger to smaller firms, as well as a reduction in the number of large firms. We find no evidence that work-ineligible populations relocate or that native-born workers’ labor market outcomes improve in response to mandates.

Trump-induced anxiety among Latina/os
Bradford Jones et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming


During the 2016 election, Donald Trump castigated unauthorized immigrants as “murderers and rapists.” During his presidency, he continued the use of this rhetoric, explicitly linking unauthorized migrants to threatening narratives. Here, we consider three questions: Did Donald Trump and his immigration positions serve as an “anxiety trigger” for Latina/os? Are individuals with contextually stigmatized attributes especially sensitive to Trump and his policy proposals? Is Spanish language itself, an attribute negatively stigmatized in the context of the immigration issue, sufficient to increase deportation anxiety? Utilizing survey experiments of Latina/os, we demonstrate that exposure to a Trump immigration cue is sufficient to increase anxiety about deportation. We also demonstrate that stigmatized attributes predict anxiety, but do not moderate the effect of the Trump cue. Lastly, we provide evidence that survey language affects anxiety among Latina/os. In Studies 1 (n = 736) and 2 (n = 1,040), we show that exposure to information about Trump’s immigration agenda significantly increases reports about deportation anxiety. In Study 3 (n = 1,734), we show that the Trump exposure condition induces heightened anxiety but that Latina/o attributes (language proficiency and use, immigration status, assessed phenotype) and identity strength have an independent effect on deportation anxiety. In Study 4 (n = 775), we randomized bilingual respondents into Spanish or English language survey protocols and found that comparable bilinguals exposed to Spanish language report higher levels of anxiety compared to English-language survey takers.

How Interior Immigration Enforcement Affects Trust in Law Enforcement
Tom Wong et al.
Perspectives on Politics, forthcoming


The day-to-day behaviors of undocumented immigrants are significantly affected when local law enforcement officials do the work of federal immigration enforcement. One such behavior, which has been widely discussed in debates over so-called sanctuary policies, is that undocumented immigrants are less likely to report crimes to the police when local law enforcement officials work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on federal immigration enforcement. However, the mechanism that explains this relationship of decreased trust in law enforcement has not yet been systematically tested. Do undocumented immigrants become less trusting of police officers and sheriffs when local law enforcement officials work with ICE on federal immigration enforcement? To answer this, we embedded an experiment that varied the interior immigration enforcement context in a survey (n = 512) drawn from a probability-based sample of undocumented immigrants. When local law enforcement officials work with ICE on federal immigration enforcement, respondents are statistically significantly less likely to say that they trust that police officers and sheriffs will keep them, their families, and their communities safe; will protect the confidentiality of witnesses to crimes even if they are undocumented; will protect the rights of all people equally, including undocumented immigrants; and will protect undocumented immigrants from abuse or discrimination.

Do Foreigners Crowd Natives out of STEM Degrees and Occupations? Evidence from the US Immigration Act of 1990
Tyler Ransom & John Winters
ILR Review, forthcoming


This article examines effects of the US Immigration Act of 1990 on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and labor market outcomes for native-born Americans. The Act increased the inflow and stock of foreign STEM workers in the United States, potentially altering the relative desirability of STEM fields for natives. The authors examine effects of the policy on STEM degree completion, STEM occupational choice, and employment rates separately for black and white men and women. The novel identification strategy measures exposure to foreign STEM workers of age 18 native cohorts immediately before and after the policy change via geographic dispersion of foreign-born STEM workers in 1980, which predicts subsequent foreign STEM flows. The Act affected natives in three ways: 1) black male students moved away from STEM majors; 2) white male STEM graduates moved away from STEM occupations; and 3) white female STEM graduates moved out of the workforce.

Immigration and the pursuit of amenities
David Albouy, Heepyung Cho & Mariya Shappo
Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming


Immigrants to the United States live disproportionately in metropolitan areas where nominal wages are high, but real wages are low. This sorting behavior may be due to preferences toward certain quality‐of‐life amenities. Relative to U.S.‐born inter‐state migrants, immigrants accept lower real wages to locate in cities that are coastal, larger, and offer deeper immigrant networks. They sort toward cities that are hillier and also larger and networked. Immigrants come more from coastal, cloudy, and safer countries - conditional on income and distance. They choose cities that resemble their origin in terms of winter temperature, safety, and coastal proximity.

Can Sanctuary Polices Reduce Domestic Violence?
Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Monica Deza
University of California Working Paper, December 2019


Domestic violence remains a serious public problem, especially in Hispanic communities, where one in three women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. Yet, less than 50 percent of Hispanic women report the incidents, indicating lack of confidence in the police and fear they might be asked about their immigration status or that of relatives and friends as two main motives for not reporting. We examine the extent to which the adoption of sanctuary policies, which limit the cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities, affect domestic homicide rates - a crime rarely unreported. We find that sanctuary policies lower domestic homicide rates among Hispanic women, but have no effect on white-non Hispanic women or men. The impact is particularly large in counties with higher immigration enforcement and in those with more female officers. On the other hand, sanctuary policies are less effective in counties with mandated arrest laws in place. These findings are suggestive of the important role of policies that increase community trust in the police in curtailing domestic violence, whether it is by promoting the early reporting of incidents, inhibiting potential offenders or increasing women's economic independence.

Ethnic Attrition, Assimilation, and the Measured Health Outcomes of Mexican Americans
Francisca Antman, Brian Duncan & Stephen Trejo
NBER Working Paper, February 2020


The literature on immigrant assimilation and intergenerational progress has sometimes reached surprising conclusions, such as the puzzle of immigrant advantage which finds that Hispanic immigrants sometimes have better health than U.S.-born Hispanics. While numerous studies have attempted to explain these patterns, almost all studies rely on subjective measures of ethnic self-identification to identify immigrants’ descendants. This can lead to bias due to “ethnic attrition,” which occurs whenever a U.S.-born descendant of a Hispanic immigrant fails to self-identify as Hispanic. In this paper, we exploit information on parents’ and grandparents’ place of birth to show that Mexican ethnic attrition, operating through intermarriage, is sizable and selective on health, making subsequent generations of Mexican immigrants appear less healthy than they actually are. Consequently, conventional estimates of health disparities between Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites as well as those between Mexican Americans and recent Mexican immigrants have been significantly overstated.

Jailing Immigrant Detainees: A National Study of County Participation in Immigration Detention, 1983-2013
Emily Ryo & Ian Peacock
Law & Society Review, March 2020, Pages 66-101


Hundreds of county jails detain immigrants facing removal proceedings, a civil process. In exchange, local jails receive per diem payments from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Immigration detention thus presents a striking case of commodification of penal institutions for civil confinement purposes. Yet we know very little about the counties participating in this arrangement and the predictors of their participation over time. Our study offers the first systematic analysis of immigration detention in county jails using new and comprehensive panel data on jails across the United States. First, we find that the number of counties confining immigrant detainees steadily increased between 1983 and 2013, with the largest growth concentrated in small‐ to medium‐sized, rural, and Republican counties located in the South. Second, our regression analyses point to a number of significant predictors of county participation in immigration detention: (a) worsening labor market conditions, combined with growing excess bed space for the criminal inmate population; (b) an increasing Latino population up to a certain threshold level; and (c) increasing Republican Party strength. These findings have important implications for current debates raging across the United States about the proper role of local communities in detaining immigrants.

Changing "us” and hostility towards “them” ‐ Implicit theories of national identity determine prejudice and participation rates in an anti‐immigrant petition
Christina Bauer & Bettina Hannover
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming


National identity definitions determine who belongs to the national ingroup (e.g., “us Germans”) versus the “foreign” outgroup prone to hostile outgroup bias. We conducted five studies in two countries investigating if viewing the ingroup’s national identity as fixed exacerbates the perceived divide between in‐ and outgroup and thus increases anti‐immigrant hostility, while a malleable view blurs the divide and reduces anti‐immigrant hostility. In a Prestudy (58 participants), an Implicit Theory of National Identity Scale was developed. In Studies 1 (154 participants) and 2 (390 participants), our scale predicted individuals’ prejudice and participation rates in a hypothetical referendum and a real petition against immigrants. In Studies 3 (225 participants) and 4 (225 participants), experimental evidence was obtained. Leading participants to believe that the definition of “a true compatriot” changes over time (rather than remaining the same) resulted in lower levels of prejudice and participation rates in an anti‐immigrant petition.

Is Immigration Enforcement Shaping Immigrant Marriage Patterns?
Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Esther Arenas-Arroyo & Chunbei Wang
University of California Working Paper, December 2019


This paper identifies intermarriage (between non-citizens and citizens) as an important response mechanism to intensified immigration enforcement, particularly among Mexican non-citizens. Exploiting the temporal and geographic variation in the implementation of interior immigration enforcement from 2005 to 2017, we find that a one standard deviation increase in enforcement raises Mexican non-citizens' likelihood of marrying a U.S. citizen by 3 to 6 percent. Our results show that this effect is driven by a change in spousal preference. Both police-based and employment-based enforcement contribute to this impact. The analysis adds to a growing literature examining how immigrants respond to tightened enforcement and, importantly, sheds light on the recent growth of intermarriage among Mexican immigrants.


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