Changes in the Probability of Being Ordered Removed From the U.S. Interior, 1988–2010

Margot Moinester , Harvard University

This paper combines administrative records of immigration court proceedings and immigration removals with census data to estimate year-to-year changes in noncitizens’ risk of being ordered removed from the U.S. interior between 1988 and 2010 and assess drivers of this trend. Results show that risk of being ordered removed roughly doubled in this period, from 404 orders of removal per 100,000 noncitizens in 1988 to 828 per 100,000 in 2010. Findings further indicate that despite the growth in immigration detention and the curtailment of immigration judges’ discretion and noncitizens’ due-process rights, it was an increase in risk of apprehension that primarily drove the observed increase in risk of being ordered removed from the interior. This result holds after accounting for the sizeable increase in the share of the noncitizen population that is undocumented, suggesting a substantive shift in this period in how the federal government polices noncitizens within its territory.

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 Presented in Session 224. Unauthorized and Irregular Migration