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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp019c67wm900
Title: TARGETTING THE SUPPLY, NOT THE DEMAND: Discrepancies in U.S. Immigration Enforcement and Their Consequences
Authors: Olivero, Amy
Advisors: Tienda, Marta
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: The current undocumented immigrant population is estimated to be about 11.5 million and makes up 5.4 percent of the total domestic labor force in the United States. Despite multiple attempts at reform since 1986, the size of this population has continued to grow. This paper aims to look critically at the evolution of U.S. immigration legislation and how its policies have been applied. Immigration enforcement strategies can be broken down into two general classifications: tactics that target the demand-side include worksite sanctions and target the “job magnet” that attracts unauthorized labor; supply-side strategies cover border control and deportation (federal removal) procedures that focus on expelling the immigrants themselves. The purpose of this report is to demonstrate how immigration enforcement will only be a credible and effective deterrent to undocumented immigration when it is enforced consistently and targets both drives of the immigration flow. Discrepancies in immigration enforcement arise as the federal government tries to navigate between the demands of the domestic labor market and political pressures. In light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, immigration enforcement is used as a political tool to signal a commitment to public security. As exemplified by the record number of deportations administered under the Obama administration, the general trend has been toward “get tough” policies that place a much higher priority on supply-side tactics. The differences in the Congress-controlled enforcement budget support a national agenda focused on keeping out and expelling undocumented immigrants rather than targeting the source that attracts them to the country. As demonstrated by stories like the 1999 Operation Vanguard, worksite enforcement is a politically unpopular option; over recent past decades, it has been applied inconsistently and at low levels. Meanwhile, federal policies continue to support criminalization of immigration violations and a militarization of the border control, both of which had contributed to the rise in removals. Programs like Secure Communities, 287(g), and the Criminal Alien Program increase state authority in regulating immigration, a responsibility that previously had always been regarded as a federal responsibility. Consequently, the recent trends in immigration enforcement have produced some unintended effects. There is a growing mistrust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. Removal of the primary wage earner in an immigrant family ironically can lead to a greater dependence on the U.S. welfare system for the rest of the family. The complexities of U.S. immigration policy also extend beyond geographic borders. With over 80 percent of undocumented immigrants coming from Latin America, any major change in U.S. immigration policy would have repercussions for the rest of the hemisphere. A case study of El Salvador reveals both positive and negative results from remittances, Although remittances can reduce poverty by meeting short-term consumption demands, they have not been found to sustain long-term economic development. Ultimately, any U.S. policy reform requires careful consideration of measures aimed at both the supply-side and demand-side drives of immigration. The two approaches should be implemented to function complementarily: fewer unauthorized immigrants in search of labor (whether by having no prospect of employment or being granted legal visas) means more resources directed toward the true threats to U.S. borders: drug trafficking and terrorism.
Extent: 128 pages
URI: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp019c67wm900
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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