Hans Lueders is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science, where he researches migration and political representation. His dissertation examines the political consequences of domestic migration in Germany. He further studies unauthorized immigration in the United States. Financial support from the Center for American Democracy at IRiSS will help him conduct a survey experiment among likely unauthorized immigrants that seeks to explore how unauthorized immigrants decide where to settle in the United States.
Proposals about how to respond to the estimated 11 million immigrants residing in the United States without authorization abound. Some argue that unauthorized immigrants are unlikely to leave and should thus be integrated into American society. Others, in turn, claim that inclusive policies will only attract more unauthorized immigrants. Yet, while state and local governments have recently implemented very different policies toward unauthorized immigrants, we know very little about their effects. Do welcoming policies attract more unauthorized immigrants? And do exclusionary policies encourage them to leave? Or are other factors more important in shaping unauthorized immigrants' migration decisions? My research answers these questions by conducting one of the first survey experiments among likely unauthorized immigrants in the United States. The survey examines the relative importance of local policies vis-à-vis other factors—such as employment opportunities or social networks—in shaping unauthorized immigrants’ locational choice.