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Report · July 2002

Holding the Line? The Effect of Recent Border Build-up on Unauthorized Immigration

Hans Johnson, Belinda Reyes, and Richard Van Swearingen

Controlling unauthorized immigration along the U.S.-Mexican border has become an increasingly important national objective. Despite initial bipartisan support for this strategy, concerns about its effectiveness are beginning to emerge. This report addresses the following questions:

  • Has increased border enforcement changed decisions to migrate?
  • Has it changed where and how people cross the U.S.-Mexican border?
  • Has it led to an increase in migrant deaths?
  • Has it altered how long immigrants stay once they arrive?
  • Has it reduced the total number of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S.?
  • What other policy options might help curb unauthorized immigration?