U.S. Border Enforcement and Mexican Immigrant Location Choice

42 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2013

See all articles by Sarah Bohn

Sarah Bohn

Public Policy Institute of California

Todd Pugatch

Oregon State University; IZA


We provide the first evidence on the causal effect of border enforcement on the full spatial distribution of Mexican immigrants to the United States. We address the endogeneity of border enforcement with an instrumental variables strategy based on administrative delays in budgetary allocations for border security. We find that 1,000 additional border patrol officers assigned to prevent unauthorized migrants from entering a state decreases that state's share of Mexican immigrants by 21.9%. Our estimates imply that border enforcement alone accounted for declines in the share of Mexican immigrants locating in California and Texas of 11 and 6 percentage points, respectively, over the period 1994-2011, with all other states experiencing gains or no change.

Keywords: unauthorized immigration, border enforcement, Mexico, residential location choice

JEL Classification: J15, J61

Suggested Citation

Bohn, Sarah and Pugatch, Todd, U.S. Border Enforcement and Mexican Immigrant Location Choice. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7842, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2372551

Sarah Bohn (Contact Author)

Public Policy Institute of California ( email )

500 Washington Street
Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States

Todd Pugatch

Oregon State University ( email )

Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/toddpugatch/

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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