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Demography

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 437–450 | Cite as

Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca

  • Pia M. Orrenius
  • Madeline Zavodny
Article

Abstract

This article examines whether mass legalization programs reduce future undocumented immigration. We focus on the effects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to nearly 2.7 million undocumented immigrants. We report that apprehensions of persons attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally declined immediately following passage of the law but returned to normal levels during the period when undocumented immigrants could file for amnesty and the years thereafter. Our findings suggest that the amnesty program did not change long-term patterns of undocumented immigration from Mexico.

Keywords

Ordinary Little Square Illegal Immigration Undocumented Immigrant Filing Period Mexico Border 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia M. Orrenius
    • 1
  • Madeline Zavodny
    • 2
  1. 1.Research DepartmentFederal Reserve Bank of DallasDallas
  2. 2.Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Occidental CollegeLos Angeles

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