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Term Paper ( Political Economy of International Migration)

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In the United States, a statistical methodology called residual method is employed to estimate the number and economic effects of undocumented immigration in the country. Under this method, the number of foreign-born US residents (but not US citizens) is estimated. From this figure, the total number of legally present immigrants is subtracted using administrative data and assumptions. The residual represents the size of the unauthorized immigrant population. This paper will identify a specific issue related to immigration and develop a possible policy recommendation to address the identified issue. US immigration history While analyzing the US immigration history, it is identified that people increasingly immigrated to the country over the last centuries which in turn made US an agglomeration of different cultures. As Borjas points out, the number of documented immigrants permitted in the country by the Federal government was increased from 2.5 million in 1950s to 9.1 million in 1990si. and n the meantime, the US also experienced a significant increase in the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country (2). …
As Borjas reports, as a result of such liberal policies, the size of unauthorized immigrant population in the US reached roughly 5 million in 1996 and it grew to 10.3 million by 2004 in spite of strict cross border enforcement (2). Illegal Mexican immigration has played a crucial role in increasing the size of undocumented population in the US over the years. In 1950s, Mexican immigrants accounted for 12 percent of the total immigration flow to the US whereas they represented 25 percent of the total immigration by the beginning of 1990s. In 2004, illegal Mexican immigrants residing in the US were estimated to be 57 percent of the total unauthorized immigrant population at that time. Other major groups of immigrants in US are from Latin American and Asian countries. Effects of undocumented immigration on wages and employment The unauthorized immigration to the US can have devastating effects on the country’s economy. In his book ‘Mexican immigration to the United States’, Borjas reflects the view that the illegal immigration flow would worsen the economic status of the poor whereas it may benefit middle class and upper class Americans. Since the illegal immigrants are ready to work at cheap rates, US corporations are likely to exploit them more and this situation in turn would reduce the wage rates of working class American population, broadening the socioeconomic gap between rich and poor. In the words of professor emeritus Unger, University of Columbia, when there are illegal immigrants cheaply available for work, employers are likely to exploit them instead of increasing wage rates to attract legal citizens. As a result, wage rates for certain sectors of US population are kept depressed