Labor Market Policy as Immigration Control: The Case of Temporary Protected Status

Controlling immigration has become a central political goal in advanced democracies. Politicians across the world have experimented with a range of policies such as foreign aid in the hopes that aid will spur development in migrant origin countries and decrease the demand for emigration. We argue that internal policy tools are more effective, in particular, the use of policies that allow temporary migrants short-term access to host country labor markets. These policies provide migrants an opportunity to obtain higher wages, which, in turn, increases remittances back to home countries. This increase in financial flows to households decreases subsequent demand for migration into destination countries. We test this argument using data on migration to the United States and find that an increase in remittances from the United States decreases subsequent demand for entry in that country.

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David Leblang