Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #749

The Deterrence Effect of Immigration Enforcement in Transit Countries: Evidence from Central American Deportees

by Fernanda Martinez Flores

RUB, RWI, 04/2018, 34 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-870-7 DOI: 10.4419/86788870



Immigration enforcement cooperation between final destination and transit countries has increased in the last decades. However, the question whether these measures are successful in deterring undocumented migrants has not been previously explored by the empirical literature. This paper examines whether the Southern Border Plan, an immigration enforcement program implemented by the Mexican government in 2014, has curbed intentions of unauthorized migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to migrate to the United States. Combining surveys from Central American and Mexican deportees and using a DiD approach, I find that increased enforcement in Mexico decreases the likelihood of attempting repeated unauthorized crossings. The results indicate that in the short-run the cooperation between destination and transit countries could be effective in deterring undocumented migrants.

JEL-Classification: F22, K42, K37, O15

Keywords: Immigration enforcement; deportees; Central American migrants; unauthorized; undocumented; remigration; transit countries