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Most economists who saw it no doubt reacted with skepticism to the recent assertion (by an organization pushing for stricter enforcement of migration restrictions) that undocumented workers are leaving the United States in record numbers because of increased Citizenship and Immigration Services enforcement. A far more likely cause is the housing market debacle and the resulting decline of jobs in construction and other housing-related sectors, where immigrant jobs are concentrated.

Pointing this out in an article in the Washington Post (On Immigration, It's the Economy, Stupid), Marcela Sanchez cites a new CGD working paper by Michael Clemens, Claudio Montenegro and Lant Pritchett: The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers across the U.S. Border. Don't miss it: the paper's careful analytics tell an incredible tale of a global non-market in labor.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.