Wage Effects of Irregular Migration: The Case of Spain as an Entry Point into the EU

The European Union has exported their policies outside of the boundaries of their member states. In a sense it has developed comprehensive pro-EU policy but also creating foreign accountability parameters making third countries have to oblige to these. Human rights is an issue to which the EU has paid additional attention to such as the 1949 Geneva Convention and the following provisions. Nevertheless, EU member states have been infringing some of these such as Italy in 2009 breaking non-refoulment international law. Other cases of EU countries infringing non-refoulment led these members to invest large sums of their state budgets in non-member third countries to develop their immigration enforcement infrastructure. EU countries have not followed non-refoulement by returning asylum-seekers to third countries where they would be prosecuted for who they are. Southern EU member-states have used the Mediterranean Sea as a quasi-neutral zone of blurred legal boundaries. By investing in Libya’s and Algeria’s immigration patrol and developing their infrastructure, EU member-states have become able to outsource their enforcement services. Concurrently, this has also allowed non-refoulment infringing member-states to bypass international human rights laws by carrying out the enforcement outside of EU grounds or waters and further deterring irregular migration.

Applying a macro-economic approach to the state motivations of investing in non-member states, I analyze the labor state of Spain specifically. My research questions include, (a) does outsourcing of immigration enforcement as a deterrence strategy protect the state’s labor market?, (b) does it protect their welfare state?, (c) is the deterrence method an economically viable investment? I use an economic model made of established labor economic indicators such as average wages, regional GDP growth rate, unemployment rates, and percentage of immigrants in regions.

U.S. 287(g) Local Immigration Enforcement; Database

ICE has used their 287(g) program to target immigration enforcement at the county level. This program authorizes local police officers to carry out federal immigration work to meet arrest and deportation quotas. This has eroded civil rights and led to the criminalization of minorities, particularly Latinos. While previous research has examined the theories behind local anti-immigration work and the social factors affecting anti-immigrant policy adoption more generally, no large-scale quantitative analyses has been conducted as to why some counties adopted 287(g) while others chose not to do so. Addressing this gap in the literature, I have developed a newly gathered data set of all 287(g) agreements signed since 2002 to examine geographic variation in local structural forces shaping adoption of the program.

Working papers related to this research topic:

“The Death and Life of ICE’s 287(g) Program.” [Working paper]
(with Dr. Austin Kocher)

“Racial Thread, Economics Resources, and Politics: Time-Series Evidence of 287(g) Adoption” [Research design stage]
(with Dr. Matthew Ward)

“How Local Law Enforcement Shape State Immigration Policy: New Evidence from Memorandums of Agreement.” [Research design stage]
(with Dr. Mark Brockway)