U.S. Policy of Massive Migrant Removal: Impacts on Salvadoran Migrants

Nestor P. Rodriguez, University of Texas at Austin
Jacqueline Hagan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) in 1996 dramatically increased the number of formal removals (deportations) from the country. After the passage of IIRIRA, deportations went from about 50,000 annually before 1996 to 272,000 in 2006. Department of Homeland Security officials claim that deportations are removing criminals and other dangerous elements from the country. A random survey of deportees from the United States conducted in El Salvador finds that the majority of Salvadoran deportees had legally-resident spouses and children in the United States, spoke English, had held U.S. jobs for over five years and were deported for non-criminal reasons. The U.S. policy of massive deportations has spurred a new pattern of international migration, as deportee variables of being younger than 42, having a spouse in the United States, having U.S. children younger than 18 and having been previously deported increase the odds of planning to re-migrate.

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Presented in Session 122: Impact of Return Migration on Origin Areas