State restrictions on immigration: a surprising finding

A study published on November 3 assesses whether state-level laws enacted between 2005 and 2010 that seek to crack down on illegal immigration have deterred immigrants, both unauthorized and authorized, from residing in those states.

(By Bárbara Gómez-Aguiñaga,Stepping into the Vacuum: State and Cities Act on Immigration, But Do Restrictions Work? published by the Migration Policy Institute.)

from the study:

Slightly more than 3,000 immigration-related laws and resolutions were enacted by states between 2005 and 2015. Of the 868 policies between 2005 and 2010, 441 were classified as restrictive with an additional 423 as immigrant-friendly, and four as neutral.

….Restrictive state immigration laws do not have a statistically significant correlation with the percentage change of the unauthorized immigrant population or the overall immigrant population. However, the economic variable measured—median household income—had a positive and significant correlation with the percentage change of both the overall immigrant population and the unauthorized immigrant population alone.

The results indicate that an increase of 1 percentage point in the median household income of a state is correlated with a 0.739 percent increase in the overall immigrant population of a given state and a 1.699 percent increase in the unauthorized immigrant population. On a larger scale, the results suggest that a 10 percentage point increase in the median household income of a state would correspond to a 7.39 percent increase in the overall immigrant population and a 16. 99 percent increase in the unauthorized immigrant population.

Economic conditions themselves, rather than the restrictive immigration-related legislation that arose during this period, are the main predictor for changes in the immigrant population of individual states, even after the end of the recession.

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