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Assessing the Effect of Increased Deportations on Mexican Migrants’ Remittances and Savings Brought Home

  • Weber, Rosa
  • Massey, Douglas S.
Publication Date
Mar 02, 2023
DOI: 10.1007/s11113-023-09772-4
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Beginning in the 1990s and intensifying after the events of September 11, deportations in the United States increased to record levels under President Obama and continued at high levels under President Trump. Although a growing literature addresses how migrants respond to the shifting context of reception, empirical evidence on how migrants’ remitting and saving behavior changed as a result of immigration enforcement remains limited. Using detailed individual-level data from the Mexican Migration Project (MMP, N = 6787) for the years 1970–2019, this study examines how deportations relate to Mexican migrants’ joint decisions to remit and/or save, and how this relationship differs by documentation status. Results from multinomial logistic regressions reveal that rising deportations are associated with an increase in the transnational economic engagement of undocumented migrants. This is largely due to an increase in remittances; savings brought back decrease with rising deportations, likely because keeping savings in the United States is riskier than sending money back directly. Among documented migrants, the remitting and saving behavior does not appear to change as deportations rise. Analyzing these behaviors together is important to gain a more complete understanding of migrants’ transnational economic ties and links to the country of destination.

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