A recently released economic analysis suggests that counties that enact 287(g) programs lose immigrant agricultural workers and suffer decreased farm profitability, but state level 287(g) agreements don’t have the same impact. Genti Kostandini, Elton Mykerezi, and Cesar Escalante, The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on the Farming Sector (2012).
The authors, economists at the University of Georgia and University of Minnesota, examined data from the American Community Survey and Census of Agriculture for states and counties, respectively, that entered into local immigration policing agreements with DHS pursuant to INA § 287(g) or in which ICE has conducted immigration raids in recent years. They concluded that counties that enacted a 287(g) agreement were home to fewer noncitizens after adoption. Kostandini et al. at 18. I
Interestingly, they also found that these counties hired fewer workers after adopting the 287(g) agreement in comparison to adjacent counties and counties generally that didn’t adopt a 287(g) agreement, while simultaneously paying more per hired worker. Kostandini et al. at 19. They acknowledge that the increased labor cost may be attributable to higher wages or perhaps because individual workers are putting in more hours. Kostandini et al. at 19.
There is a certain amount of common sense to this: if there are fewer workers, each remaining worker would command more money—either through a higher wage or longer hours worked. Clearly there’s a significant difference between these two options, but the authors acknowledge that more research is necessary to tease out the impact of local immigration policing on farm labor.
The bottom line, according to the authors, is that their findings are “consistent with labor shortages being created by county level 287(g) agreements.” These types of local immigration policing actions, it would seem from this study, are pushing out immigrants.
They are not, however, being pushed out in the same way by state level 287(g) agreements or ICE raids. As the paper summarizes the data analyses of state level 287(g) agreements and counties where ICE raids have occurred: “we find no program effects on immigrant shares or farm wages in states adopting 287(g) programs at the state level or counties that had been subject to ICE raids.”
I’ll leave it others to parse the study’s methodology. What is certain is that this study contributes to our understanding of the real-world impact of harsh immigration policing strategies pursued in recent years.