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Kevin Lewis

January 30, 2015

Who “They” Are Matters: Immigrant Stereotypes and Assessments of the Impact of Immigration

Jeffrey Timberlake et al.
Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

We investigate the relationship between stereotypes of immigrants and assessments of the impact of immigration on U.S. society. Our analysis exploits a split-ballot survey of registered voters in Ohio, who were asked to evaluate both the characteristics of one of four randomly assigned immigrant groups and perceived impacts of immigration. We find that associations between impact assessments and stereotypes of Middle Eastern, Asian, and European immigrants are weak and fully attenuated by control covariates. By contrast, this relationship for Latin American immigrants is strong and robust to controls, particularly in the areas of unemployment, schools, and crime. Our findings suggest that public views of the impacts of immigration are strongly connected to beliefs about the traits of Latin American immigrants in particular.


Unauthorized Immigration and Electoral Outcomes

Nicole Baerg, Julie Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli
Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2014

Using a unique methodology for identifying undocumented workers across counties in the state of Georgia in the United States, we find a negative relationship between the share of unauthorized workers and the share of votes going to the Democrats in elections. Furthermore, we show that this effect is more pronounced for the presence of unauthorized immigrants than Hispanics; is stronger in counties with higher median household income; and is substantively larger in U.S. Congressional elections than Gubernatorial or Senatorial elections. We discuss which political economy theories are most consistent with this set of findings.


Recent Immigration to Canada and the United States: A Mixed Tale of Relative Selection

Neeraj Kaushal & Yao Lu
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Using large-scale census data and adjusting for sending-country fixed effect to account for changing composition of immigrants, we study relative immigrant selection to Canada and the U.S. during 1990–2006, a period characterized by diverging immigration policies in the two countries. Results show a gradual change in selection patterns in educational attainment and host-country language proficiency in favor of Canada as its post-1990 immigration policy allocated more points to the human capital of new entrants. Specifically, in 1990, new immigrants in Canada were less likely to have a B.A. degree than those in the U.S.; they were also less likely to have a high-school or lower education. By 2006, Canada surpassed the U.S. in drawing highly educated immigrants, while continuing to attract fewer low-educated immigrants. Canada also improved its edge over the U.S. in terms of host-country language proficiency of new immigrants. Entry-level earnings, however, do not reflect the same trend: Recent immigrants to Canada have experienced a wage disadvantage compared to recent immigrants to the U.S., as well as Canadian natives. One plausible explanation is that while the Canadian points system has successfully attracted more educated immigrants, it may not be effective in capturing productivity-related traits that are not easily measurable.


Illegal Immigration, State Law, and Deterrence

Mark Hoekstra & Sandra Orozco-Aleman
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

A critical immigration policy question is whether state and federal policy can deter undocumented workers from entering the U.S. We examine whether Arizona SB 1070, arguably the most restrictive and controversial state immigration law ever passed, deterred entry into Arizona. We do so by exploiting a unique data set from a survey of undocumented workers passing through Mexican border towns on their way to the U.S. Results indicate the bill’s passage reduced the flow of undocumented immigrants into Arizona by 30 to 70 percent, suggesting that undocumented workers from Mexico are responsive to changes in state immigration policy. In contrast, we find no evidence that the law induced undocumented immigrants already in Arizona to return to Mexico.


Contextualizing Intergroup Contact: Do Political Party Cues Enhance Contact Effects?

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov & Jens Peter Frølund Thomsen
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

This article examines intergroup contact effects in different political contexts. We expand on previous efforts of social psychologists by incorporating the messages of political parties as a contextual trigger of group membership awareness in contact situations. We argue that the focus among political parties on us-them categorizations heightens the awareness of group memberships. This focus in turn enhances the positive intergroup contact effect by stimulating majority members to perceive contacted persons as prototypical outgroup members. A multilevel analysis of 22 countries and almost 37,000 individuals confirms that the ability of intergroup contact to reduce antiforeigner sentiment increases when political parties focus intensively on immigration issues and cultural differences. Specifically, both workplace contact and interethnic friendship become more effective in reducing antiforeigner sentiment when intergroup relations are politicized. These findings demonstrate the need for widening the scope of the intergroup contact theory in order to cover macro-political conditions.


Explaining Undocumented Migration to the U.S.

Douglas Massey, Jorge Durand & Karen Pren
International Migration Review, Winter 2014, Pages 1028–1061

Using data from the Mexican Migration Project and the Latin American Migration Project, we find that undocumented migration from Mexico reflects U.S. labor demand and access to migrant networks and is little affected by border enforcement, which instead sharply reduces the odds of return movement. Undocumented migration from Central America follows primarily from political violence associated with the U.S. intervention of the 1980s, and return migration has always been unlikely. Mass undocumented migration from Mexico appears to have ended because of demographic changes there, but undocumented migration from Central America can be expected to grow slowly through processes of family reunification.


Blocked Acculturation: Cultural Heterodoxy among Europe’s Immigrants

Andreas Wimmer & Thomas Soehl
American Journal of Sociology, July 2014, Pages 146-186

Which immigrant groups differ most from the cultural values held by mainstream society and why? The authors explore this question using data from the European Social Survey on the values held by almost 100,000 individuals associated with 305 immigrant groups and the native majorities of 23 countries. They test whether distant linguistic or religious origins (including in Islam), value differences that immigrants “import” from their home countries, the maintenance of transnational ties and thus diasporic cultures, or legal and social disadvantage in the country of settlement shape acculturation processes. They find that only legally or socially disadvantaged groups differ from mainstream values in significant ways. For first generation immigrants, this is because the values of their countries of origin diverge more from those of natives. Among children of disadvantaged immigrants, however, value heterodoxy emerges because acculturation processes are blocked and the values of the parent generation partially maintained. From the second generation onward, therefore, cultural values are endogenous to the formation and dissolution of social boundaries, rather than shaping these as an exogenous force.


Open Trade, Closed Borders: Immigration in the Era of Globalization

Margaret Peters
World Politics, January 2015, Pages 114-154

This article argues that trade and immigration policy cannot be studied as separate policies but that instead scholars must take an integrated view of them. Trade and immigration policy are substitutes. The choice of trade policy affects immigration policy in labor-scarce countries through its effects on firms. Closure to trade increases the average firm-level demand for immigration, leading to immigration openness, and free trade decreases the average firm-level demand, leading to restricted immigration. To test this argument, the author develops a new data set on the immigration policies of nineteen states from the late eighteenth century through the early twenty-first century. This is one of a few data sets on immigration policy and, importantly, covers the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The data show that indeed, trade policy has the hypothesized effect on immigration: immigration policy cannot be fully understood without examining trade policy. This article, therefore, suggests that trade and immigration policies, and other foreign economic policies, should be examined in light of each other.


Has Opposition to Immigration Increased in the U.S. after the Economic Crisis? An Experimental Approach

Mathew Creighton, Amaney Jamal & Natalia Malancu
International Migration Review, forthcoming

We employ two population-level experiments to accurately measure opposition to immigration before and after the economic crisis of 2008. Our design explicitly addresses social desirability bias, which is the tendency to give responses that are seen favorably by others and can lead to substantial underreporting of opposition to immigration. We find that overt opposition to immigration, expressed as support for a closed border, increases slightly after the crisis. However, once we account for social desirability bias, no significant increase remains. We conclude that the observed increase in anti-immigration sentiment in the post-crisis U.S. is attributable to greater expression of opposition rather than any underlying change in attitudes.


Symptoms of anxiety on both sides of the US–Mexico border: The role of immigration

Guilherme Borges et al.
Journal of Psychiatric Research, February 2015, Pages 46–51

Home to about 15 million people, the US–Mexico border area has suffered stresses from increased border security efforts and a costly drug war in Mexico. Whether immigration patterns add to increasing levels of anxiety for the Mexican population and the Mexican-origin individuals living in the US–Mexico border and near the border is unknown. We used the US–Mexico Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (UMSARC), a cross-sectional survey (2011–2013) of individuals living in border and non-border cities of the US (n = 2336) and Mexico (n = 2460). In Mexico respondents were asked if they ever migrated to the US or have a family member living in the US (328) or not (2124), while in the US respondents were asked if they were born in Mexico (697), born in the US with no US-born parents (second generation, 702) or born in the US with at least one US-born parent (third generation, 932). The prevalence and risk factors for symptoms of anxiety using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (>=10) were obtained. Mexicans with no migrant experience had a prevalence of anxiety and adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) within the last month of 6.7% (PR = reference), followed by Mexicans with migration experience of 13.1% (PR = 1.8), Mexican-born respondents living in the US of 17.3% (PR = 2.6), US born Mexican-Americans of 2nd generation of 18.6% (PR = 3.3) and finally US born 3rd + generation of 25.9% (PR = 3.8). Results help to identify regions and migration patterns at high risk for anxiety and may help to unravel causal mechanisms that underlie this risk.


Border Effects on DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorders on Both Sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border

Cheryl Cherpitel et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Little epidemiological evidence exists on alcohol use and related problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, although the borderlands have been the focus of recent media attention related to the escalating drug/violence “epidemic”. In the present study, the relationship of proximity of living at the border and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is analyzed from the U.S.-Mexico Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (UMSARC).

Methods: Household surveys were conducted on 2,336 Mexican Americans in Texas (771 in a non-border city and 1,565 from three border cities located in the three poorest counties in the U.S.) and 2,460 Mexicans from the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in Mexico (811 in a non-border city and 1,649 from three cities which are sister cities to the Texas border sites).

Results: Among current drinkers, prevalence of AUD was marginally greater (p < 0.10) at the U.S. border compared to the non-border, but the opposite was true in Mexico (p < 0.001), and these trends continued on both sides across volume and 5+ drinking days. Prevalence was greater in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo relative to their respective sister city counterparts on the same side. Border effects appeared greater for males than females in the U.S. and the opposite in Mexico.

Conclusion: The data suggest that border proximity may affect AUD in both the U.S. and Mexico, but in the opposite direction, and may be related to the relative perceived or actual stress of living in the respective communities.


Trends in the Returns to Social Assimilation: Earnings Premiums Among U.S. Immigrants that Marry Natives

Delia Furtado & Tao Song
University of Connecticut Working Paper, November 2014

Previous studies show that immigrants married to natives earn higher wages than immigrants married to other immigrants. Using data from the 1980-2000 U.S. censuses and the 2005-2010 American Community Surveys, we show that these wage premiums have increased over time. Our evidence suggests that the trends cannot be explained by changes in the attributes of immigrants that tend to marry natives but are instead most likely a result of increasing returns to the characteristics of immigrants married to natives. Because immigrants married to natives tend to have more schooling, part of the increasing premium can be explained by increases in the returns to a college education. However, we find increasing intermarriage premiums even when allowing the returns to schooling as well as English-speaking ability to vary over time. We believe these patterns are driven by changes in technology and globalization which have made communication and management skills more valuable in the U.S. labor market.


Diverging Fortunes? Economic Well-Being of Latinos and African Americans in New Rural Destinations

Martha Crowley, Daniel Lichter & Richard Turner
Social Science Research, May 2015, Pages 77–92

The geographic diffusion of Latinos from immigrant gateways to newly-emerging rural destinations is one of the most significant recent trends in U.S. population redistribution. Yet, few studies have explored how Latinos have fared in new destinations, and even fewer have examined economic implications for other minority workers and their families. We use county-level data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey to compare the changing economic circumstances (e.g., employment and unemployment, poverty, income, and homeownership) of Latinos and African Americans in new Latino boomtowns. We also evaluate the comparative economic trajectories of Latinos in new destinations and established gateways. During the 1990s, new rural destinations provided clear economic benefits to Latinos, even surpassing African Americans on some economic indicators. The 2000s, however, ushered in higher rates of Latino poverty; the economic circumstances of Latinos also deteriorated most rapidly in new destinations. By 2010, individual and family poverty rates in new destinations were significantly higher among Latinos than African Americans, despite higher labor force participation and lower levels of unemployment. Difference-in-difference models demonstrate that in both the 1990s and 2000s, economic trajectories of African Americans in new Latino destinations largely mirrored those observed in places without large Latino influxes. Any economic benefits for Latinos in new rural destinations thus have not come at the expense of African Americans.


The Impact of Temporary Protected Status on Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes

Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny
Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2014

The United States currently provides Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to more than 300,000 immigrants from selected countries. TPS is typically granted if dangerous conditions prevail in the home country due to armed conflict or a natural disaster. Individuals with TPS cannot be deported and are allowed to stay and work in the United States temporarily. Despite the increased use of TPS in recent years, little is known about how TPS affects labor market outcomes for beneficiaries, most of whom are unauthorized prior to receiving TPS. This study examines how migrants from El Salvador who are likely to have received TPS fare in the labor market compared with other migrants. The results suggest that TPS eligibility leads to higher employment rates among women and higher earnings among men. The results have implications for recent programs that allow some unauthorized immigrants to receive temporary permission to remain and work in the United States.


Racial Discrimination, Multiple Group Identities, and Civic Beliefs Among Immigrant Adolescents

Wing Yi Chan & Robert Latzman
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

The present study tested the independent and interactive effects of multiple group identities (i.e., American and ethnic) and racial discrimination on civic beliefs among immigrant adolescents. Seventy-seven participants completed a questionnaire during after-school programs. Ethnic identity was positively associated with civic beliefs whereas racial discrimination was negatively related to civic beliefs, and racial discrimination moderated the relationships between multiple group identities and civic beliefs. Our findings highlight the importance of studying structural and individual factors jointly in the investigation of civic beliefs among immigrant adolescents.


The Impact of Local Immigration Enforcement Policies on the Health of Immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in the United States

Scott Rhodes et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2015, Pages 329-337

Objectives: We sought to understand how local immigration enforcement policies affect the utilization of health services among immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in North Carolina.

Methods: In 2012, we analyzed vital records data to determine whether local implementation of section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Secure Communities program, which authorizes local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws, affected the prenatal care utilization of Hispanics/Latinas. We also conducted 6 focus groups and 17 interviews with Hispanic/Latino persons across North Carolina to explore the impact of immigration policies on their utilization of health services.

Results: We found no significant differences in utilization of prenatal care before and after implementation of section 287(g), but we did find that, in individual-level analysis, Hispanic/Latina mothers sought prenatal care later and had inadequate care when compared with non-Hispanic/Latina mothers. Participants reported profound mistrust of health services, avoiding health services, and sacrificing their health and the health of their family members.

Conclusions: Fear of immigration enforcement policies is generalized across counties. Interventions are needed to increase immigrant Hispanics/Latinos’ understanding of their rights and eligibility to utilize health services. Policy-level initiatives are also needed (e.g., driver’s licenses) to help undocumented persons access and utilize these services.


The impact of the assimilation of migrants on the well-being of native inhabitants: A theory

Oded Stark
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

We present a theory that systematically and causally links the well-being of native inhabitants with variation in the extent of assimilation of migrants. Recent empirical findings are yielded as predictions of the theory.


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