Expert Commentary

Writing about immigration? 12 studies to check out

Overview of recent studies on U.S. immigration issues, including the demographic traits of unauthorized residents and the empirical truths about exclusionary attitudes.

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From White House executive action and Congressional pushback to child migrant increases and varying deportation figures, it can be hard to keep track of the news tick-tock on the immigration issue in the United States.

Likewise, it can be difficult to keep up with the myriad academic journals and reports, as a large network of social science researchers across the country continues to produce volumes of material on these issues.

Many aspects of U.S. immigration have been studied for decades. Others are just emerging. In any case, many of the latest studies represent the soundest evidence available in an atmosphere of overheated debate.

Below are 12 relatively recent reports and studies worth checking out, either for background or potential story angles:


  • Farm workers from Mexico: This 2016 study from researchers at the University of California, Davis indicates a drop-off in the agricultural labor supply from rural Mexico, a key source of hired workers for U.S. farms.
  • Migration and Remittances: A 2016 report from The World Bank looks at how much money migrants send to relatives in their home countries.
  • Immigration and crimeA 2016 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology suggests that communities with substantial increases in immigration experience a sharper reduction in crime than communities without such large increases in immigration.
  • Public attitudes toward immigration: A 2014 study from scholars at Stanford and Georgetown universities points out that attitudes toward immigration are seldom driven by economic factors and are more likely explained by cultural factors.


Keywords: crime, citizenship, INS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ESOL, ESL, welfare, housing


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