In Their Own Words: A Nationwide Survey of Undocumented Millennials (Working Paper # 191)


Tom K. Wong, Assistant Professor of Political Science, UCSD

with Carolina Valdivia, PhD Student, Harvard

About The Survey

In Their Own Words: A National Survey of Undocumented Millennials is one of the largest surveys to date on any segment of the undocumented population in the U.S. The survey provides new insights related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, life after DACA, and the experience of “coming out” as undocumented, as well as a first-of-its-kind look at the civic engagement and political incorporation of undocumented youth, among several other important topics. Please visit for more information.

Download Working Paper 191


Open doors (for almost all): visa policies and ethnic selectivity in Ecuador (Working Paper #188)

Luisa Feline Freier, London School of Economics (LSE)

Abstract: There is broad consensus that immigration policies moved from prevalent negative ethnic selectivity towards widespread ethnic neutrality after World War II. This assessment is biased because it neglects visa policy-making. Travel visas are important immigration management tools, and overt selection by national origin persists in this policy field. The paper analyses the extreme case of recent Ecuadorian visa policy-making, from the annulment of all visa requirements in 2008 to the partial reintroduction of visas for ten African and Asian countries in 2010. The Ecuadorian government justifies the restrictive response to the increase in south-south flows as security policy. Qualitative research reveals that alleged security concerns are closely intertwined with ethnic prejudice of both domestic and international political actors.

Working Paper #188»

Contagious Disease, Epidemics, National Security, and U.S. Immigration: Historical Policy Responses (Working Paper #187)

Robbie Totten, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Abstract: What is the relationship between epidemics, national security, and U.S. immigration policy? This question is important because epidemics have posed perhaps the largest security threat to humankind through history, with several of them claiming lives at a faster pace than the even great wars of the twentieth century.  Extant literature in the area correctly and importantly brings attention to the danger of leaders misusing epidemic risk to justify xenophobic migration policies, but a greater understanding of the relationship between epidemics, national security, and U.S. immigration policy is required to protect against catastrophic events and bring transparency to the area to hold officials accountable for responsible policy decisions.  This working paper does this by reviewing epidemics in American and world history, using the International Relations (IR) and Security Studies literatures to specify the danger of epidemics for nation-states, and identifying and providing examples using primary source evidence of three broad immigration policy measures that American leaders have utilized from the colonial period to the present-day to protect against contagions.  This study has implications for American Political Development, IR, and migration research and can assist contemporary analysts and officials with forming prudent migration policies that maximize human safety.

Working Paper #187»

Beyond Assimilation: The Second Generation in France (Working Paper #186)

Patrick Simon, Institut National d’Etudes Demographiques –National demographic institute

Abstract: This presentation assesses the normative model of integration, the so-called republican model, and what it means for the prospects of the second generation of immigrants in France.  It shows that the salience of race and ethnicity for minority members in contemporary France is challenging the expectations of a convergence in norms, values and practices among the second generation.  Data come from a new survey, Trajectories and Origins: a survey on population diversity in France, which is the largest survey ever done in France on immigrants and second generation. Promoted by INED and the French National Statistical Institute (INSEE), the survey gathered information via a long questionnaire administered in face-to-face interviews to 22,000 respondents from 5 specific sub-samples: Immigrants (8300), descendents of Immigrants (8200), Overseas French (700), descendents of Overseas French (700) and “mainstream population” (3900).

Working Paper #186 (Powerpoint)»

From Sheriff’s Deputies to Immigration Officers: Screening Immigrant Status in a Tennessee Jail (Working Paper #185)

Amada Armenta, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Abstract: This paper contributes to emerging literature documenting the devolution of immigration enforcement authority by focusing on the implementation of the 287(g) program in Davidson County, Tennessee. It outlines how deputized immigration officers do their work, as well as the ways they come to think about their roles in the larger immigration bureaucracy. Immigration officers see themselves as objective administrators whose primary responsibilities are to identify and process immigrants for removal, but who are not responsible for their subsequent deportation. While immigration officers never waiver about their obligation to uphold the rule of law, alternate narratives emerge depending on how they feel about the immigrants they encounter. These frames range from pride at identifying “criminal aliens”, to guilt for processing immigrants who were arrested for very minor violations. Ultimately, this work shows deputized immigration officers act as extensions of the federal government, rather than independent agents.

Working Paper #185»

Managing labour migration in Europe: Ideas, Knowledge and Policy Change (Working Paper #184)

Alex Balch, University of Sheffield

Abstract: Since the late 1990s many European countries have embraced the concept of managing labour migration for their national economic benefit. The last 10 years have seen dramatic changes in patterns and flows of migration into and within Europe, where overall numbers have risen markedly. The UK and Spain – one ‘old’ and one ‘new’ country of migration – are examples of this trend, where new policies have led to a complete overhaul of systems of migration management since 2000. This paper is concerned with why such changes took place and why they occurred when they did. It develops an approach that focuses on the role of ideas and knowledge in the policy process. It is based on research including interviews with key actors in the policy communities of both the UK and Spain. It demonstrates how new ideas about immigration and its effects came to be adopted in the policy process and compares this approach with established accounts of immigration policy that emphasize the role of interests and institutional effects.

Working Paper #184 »

Immigrant Retirement Prospects: From Bad to Worse? (Working Paper #183)

Derek Hum, University of Manitoba

Wayne Simpson, University of Manitoba

Abstract: We compare the retirement prospects of immigrant men with their native-born Canadian counterparts. Using data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), we show a substantial gap that is concentrated in the private portion of pension income and contributions. Furthermore, this gap is larger for more recently arrived immigrant cohorts. We link these findings to the now substantial evidence on earnings differences from Census microdata. We present new estimates of the lifetime earnings trajectories of immigrant cohorts and compare them to trajectories for both random and matched samples of the native born. We calculate the implications of these estimates for the pension gap and reconcile the results with the evidence from SLID. Our results suggest that a continuing failure to integrate immigrants into the workforce will incur long run costs for Canada’s retirement programs.

Working Paper #183 »

Central American Migration to Mexico and the United States: The Influence of Gender on Destinations and Destinies (Working Paper #182)

Carmen Fernández Casanueva, Research Fellow, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Mexico); Guest Scholar, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Abstract: This article explores the role gender plays on the development of migratory trajectories of Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran labour migrants crossing the Guatemala-Chiapas border. It aims to assess the way gender influences the migration processes of those crossing either to work in the borderland of Chiapas and/or with the intention of travelling northwards to enter the United States of America. By using elements of structuration theory, it contributes to the study of migration by incorporating gender as a constitutive element in the migratory process of Central Americans crossing and living in the southern border area of Mexico; an important and understudied borderland within the North American system of migration.

Working Paper #182 »

Estimates of the Cyclical Inflow of Undocumented Migrants to the United States (Working Paper #181)

Scott Borger, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Abstract: This paper constructs estimates for the inflow of undocumented migrants to the United States using survey-based micro estimates of the probability of apprehension per attempt and aggregate apprehensions data reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The robustness of the constructed data is considered by comparing the implied stock from the constructed series with previous estimates of undocumented migrants in the United States. The estimates are within the unenumerated-correction margin of error of the post-2000 Census estimates in the literature. Moreover, the estimated inflow implies a strong correlation with the  business cycle in the United States and Mexico with larger influxes associated with economic conditions in Mexico.

Working Paper #181»