Earnings and Occupational Trajectories of Newly-Legalized Immigrants

Magnus Lofstrom, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Laura Hill, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Joseph M. Hayes, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

This paper contributes to the literature examining whether receiving legal status improves the earnings and/or occupations of illegal immigrants. We use data that are newer and different than that of existing research to analyze labor market outcomes of individuals who have received Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status but previously worked without authorization. The New Immigrant Survey (NIS) gathered detailed employment and migration histories from a cohort of over 8,000 immigrants granted LPR status in 2003, affording a distinction between those who had been in the U.S. legally or illegally prior to earning their green cards. We use a difference-in-difference approach to identify possible labor market effects of receiving legal status. Importantly, the NIS data allow us to categorize different types of illegal immigration experience – e.g., crossing the border illegally or violating the terms of a visa – and to investigate whether there are different impacts of receiving legal status across these two groups.

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Presented in Session 80: The Consequences of Immigration for Receiving Countries