RB_702BRRB - Research Brief Public Policy Institute of...

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Has Increased Border Enforcement Reduced Unauthorized Immigration? Over the past two decades, controlling unauthorized immi- gration along the U.S.-Mexican border has become an increas- ingly important national objective. The current border enforce- ment policy was implemented in 1994, when Attorney General Janet Reno and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner Doris Meissner launched a nationwide strategy of “prevention through deterrence.” That multiyear strategy, which is meant to reduce illegal immigration and the unautho- rized population in the United States, blocks entry through major crossing areas and routes unauthorized trafFc through remote areas, where the INS has a tactical advantage. To imple- ment this strategy, the INS has provided the Border Patrol with additional personnel, equipment, and technology to deter, detect, apprehend, and remove unauthorized immigrants. The annual enforcement budget, which increased sevenfold between 1980 and 1995, tripled between 1995 and 2001 and now exceeds $2.5 billion. Despite the strategy’s initial bipartisan support, concerns about its effectiveness are beginning to emerge. It is not clear, for example, that the strategy has reduced unauthorized immi- gration. Although the stream of unauthorized immigrants may have slowed in some areas, it has increased in others. ±urther- more, there is evidence that increased border enforcement may encourage unauthorized immigrants to stay longer in the United States. In Holding the Line: The Effect of the Recent Border Build-up on Unauthorized Immigration , Belinda Reyes, Hans Johnson, and Richard Van Swearingen address the following questions about migration behavior: Has increased border enforcement changed decisions to migrate to the United States? Has it altered the length of time immigrants stay in the United States? Has it decreased the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States?
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This note was uploaded on 10/09/2011 for the course ANTHROPOLO 101 taught by Professor Scott during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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RB_702BRRB - Research Brief Public Policy Institute of...

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