State Immigration Legislation and Immigrant Flows: An Analysis
Publication Date: March 2008
Author(s): Bryan Jonathan Balin
Keywords: Proposition 187; immigration regression analysis
Coverage: United States
In recent decades, states have attempted to discourage flows of immigrants--legal and illegal alike--through ballot measures that deny illegal entrants certain state services. Scholarly work on this issue has not come to a conclusion on whether such measures, such as California's Proposition 187, really do discourage immigration.
Using a multivariate ordinary least squared framework, this paper examines immigration flows to U.S. states between 2000 and 2006 to determine if the enactment or consideration of Proposition 187-like measures does indeed affect Mexican, Latin American, or total immigrant flows to a state. Its results show that the consideration or enactment of Proposition 187-like measures does not affect any type of legal immigrant flow to a state. On the other hand, the enactment of measures that give extra benefits to illegal immigrants--such as Maryland's licensing scheme--does indeed bring additional legal flows of Mexican, Latin American, and all immigrants to a state.