The Lobby That Cried Wolf
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This thesis examines the effects of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) on the American agricultural industry. This industry prospered throughout the 20th century regardless of favorable immigration reform. IIRIRA contained a particularly strong combination of border security and workplace provisions which posed the most serious policy threat yet to the industry‘s immigrant labor supply. However, the history of American immigration policy suggests that the legislation would not be sufficiently implemented to achieve its intended effects. Interrupted time series analysis of farm worker employment data demonstrates a sharp increase in wage and hours per week growth after the implementation of IIRIRA. Mexican migrant data corroborates the hypothesized IIRIRA influence by demonstrating a shift out of agricultural occupations and away from traditional state destinations. Additional specifications do not support alternative explanations based on changes in minimum wage or welfare legislation. Thus, all evidence strongly suggests that IIRIRA is the first piece of American immigration legislation with adverse consequences for the U.S. agricultural industry.
DepartmentPublic Policy Studies
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers