The impact of immigration enforcement on agricultural employment: evidence from the US E-Verify policy

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Immigration enforcement often brings unintended consequences in domestic labor markets. Using the universe of administrative immigration data from 2005 to 2019, we uncover evidence that the E-Verify, an employment verification mandate, exacerbates the ongoing farm labor shortage in the US. Relying on the newly developed staggered difference-in-differences method, we find that the E-Verify policy restricts the employment of undocumented farmworkers. Our results indicate that domestic workers are not being replaced with declined undocumented workers wherein the inflow of the H-2A visa migrants still remains. Our finding advances a more nuanced picture of the US labor shortage driven by the E-Verify policy. This paper contributes to the rising policy debate on reforming nationwide E-Verify enactment and the H-2A visa program in the US.

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Applied Economics

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