During the 2008 to 2012 period, the US Border Patrol enacted new sanctions on migrants apprehended while attempting to enter the United States illegally. Using
administrative records on apprehensions of Mexican nationals that include fingerprint-based IDs and other details, we detect if an apprehended migrant is subject to
penalties and if he is later reapprehended. Exploiting plausibly random variation in the rollout of sanctions, we estimate econometrically that exposure to penalties
reduced the 18-month reapprehension rate for males by 4.6 to 6.1 percentage points off of a baseline rate of 24.2 percent. These magnitudes imply that sanctions can
account for 28 to 44 percent of the observed decline in recidivism in apprehensions. Further results suggest that the drop in recidivism was associated with a reduction in
attempted illegal entry.
Bazzi, Samuel, Gordon Hanson, Sarah John, Bryan Roberts, and John Whitley.
"Deterring Illegal Entry: Migrant Sanctions and Recidivism in Border Apprehensions."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
Demographic Economics: Public Policy