Controlling International Migration through Enforcement: The Case of the United States

Frank D. Bean and David A. Spener

in International Migration

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199269006
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601309 | DOI:

Series: International Studies in Demography

 Controlling International Migration through Enforcement: The Case of the United States

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Seeks to ascertain the degree to which recent employer sanctions and border interdiction policies in the US have been effective in curtailing international migration in general and Mexican migration, in particular, to the country. Examples are respectively the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and Operations Hold‐the‐Line and Gatekeeper that involved the saturation of stretches of the border with Border Patrol officers. Evidence about effectiveness is mixed. Migration has continued despite sanctions, but the will and the resources required to enforce such provisions have largely been lacking, thus rendering ambiguous whether it is the ineffectiveness of sanctions per se or their lack of enforcement that fails to deter migration. Border interdiction efforts during the 1990s appear to have been partially successful in that crossings from Mexico have become more difficult and expensive. However, enforcement efforts will have to attain a degree of scale and comprehensiveness not heretofore attempted if they are to have any chance of working. And even then, as long as other channels of interchange between countries (commerce, tourism, etc.) remain open, alternative routes of entry are likely to provide substitute ways for unauthorized migrants to continue to come.

Keywords: alternative routes of entry; border interdiction; Border Patrol; enforcement; international migration; IRCA; Mexican migration; unauthorized migrants

Chapter.  9090 words. 

Subjects: Economic Systems

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