Location Choices of Undocumented Migrants: Does Access to Higher Public Education Matter?

Mardi | 2017-07-04
15h30-16h50 en SULLY5


Many states in the US have experienced a large influx of undocumented immigrants over the past two decades. This phenomenon has created new demands on the educational systems dealing with higher education at the state level, resulting in several state-level educational policy reforms. In several cases, these state-level policy reforms promote access to higher education for undocumented immigrants who have completed high school; however, in other cases, the state policy changes have sought either to not promote or limit this access for undocumented immigrants. Our research examines the impact of differences in state-level policies regarding higher public education (post-secondary) on the location choices of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Our results indicate that the effect of educational access on the percentage of undocumented workers in a state is mixed and very small in most specifications, indicating perhaps a trade-off between competing priorities in their choice of location. Interestingly, the interaction terms between the favorable educational access variables and the networks variable is negative, suggesting that even among states that have a favorable education policy, undocumented migrants prefer states where there is likely to be a smaller number of undocumented migrants competing for admission. Undocumented migrants are also reluctant to locate in states that have both large networks and unfavorable educational policies towards undocumented migrants – the negative restrictive effect of attracting even more stringent regulation dominates the positive cost saving effect of large networks.