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Borders and Barriers: Studies on Migration and Integration in the Nordic and Mexico-U.S. Settings
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8422-7023
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

International migration engages large numbers of people. Men, women and children break up from their homes and move to another country temporarily or permanently. Depending on the country of origin and the destination, this comes with varying degrees of uncertainties about where to settle, how much to invest in building a new life abroad and how to retain ties to the country of origin. In recent years, policies have become increasingly salient for migrants’ experiences. They impact entry possibilities and the ease of travelling back home. Increased policing of migrants can interfere in the building of a new life abroad and contribute to stress and apprehension felt among both migrants and their children. To some extent counteracting this, family and friends may provide newly arrived migrants with information on job opportunities and facilitate the transition into the new country.

This dissertation analyses the links between migration and integration patterns and migrants’ ties to the home and destination country. It does this in two ultimately distinct settings when it comes to the borders and barriers that migrants face: the Nordic and Mexico-U.S. settings. Until recently, Swedish migration policy was among the most welcoming to migrants from different parts of the world. Migration within the Nordic countries, in particular, is characterised by open borders. By contrast, Mexico and the U.S. are separated by an increasingly militarised border and internal policing of migrants has risen dramatically. Consequently, these settings provide contrasting and interesting examples of the relationship between the policy context and migrants’ experiences.

Study 1 shows that many moves are temporary and short term in the Nordic setting of free mobility. Still, the threshold to the first move is notably higher than for subsequent moves. Study 2 reveals that rising deportations of Mexican migrants in the U.S. are associated with a shift from savings brought home to the sending of remittances. Afraid of a sudden arrest or deportation, migrants maintain transnational ties by sending remittances back to Mexico rather than carrying savings across the border. Study 3 investigates the different roles that social contacts play for male and female migrants’ integration into the Swedish labour market. Whereas friends provide men with benefits in the labour market, women’s job search is often constrained by factors linked to having family in Sweden. Study 4 shows that the implementation of local level immigration enforcement in the U.S. has a negative impact on district level average educational achievement among Hispanic students. This indicates that integration and resulting ethnic achievement gaps are shaped by increased policing and surveillance of migrants.

This dissertation reveals a series of complex relationships between migration, integration and policies. Family and kin influence migration decisions also when barriers to movement are low. In the new country, kin can assist migrants’ job search or slow it down when newly arrived migrants are expected to care for them. Policing of migrants makes it more difficult to return and may affect migrants’ abilities to invest in building a new life, as indicated by negative effects for educational outcomes among groups targeted by immigration enforcement. Taken together, these factors shape the experiences and life chances of both migrants and their children in the new country.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University , 2020. , p. 58
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 77
Keywords [en]
migration, integration, policy context, free mobility, circular migration, social capital, labour market entry, transnational ties, deportations, remittances, savings, educational achievement
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176113ISBN: 978-91-7797-875-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-876-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176113DiVA, id: diva2:1372569
Public defence
2020-01-17, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-12-18 Created: 2019-11-25 Last updated: 2019-12-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Circular migration in a context of free mobility: Evidence from linked population register data from Finland and Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Circular migration in a context of free mobility: Evidence from linked population register data from Finland and Sweden
2019 (English)In: Population, Space and Place, ISSN 1544-8444, E-ISSN 1544-8452, Vol. 25, no 4, article id e2230Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Circular migration in settings of free mobility has received increasing policy attention. However, due to data constraints, little is known about the mechanisms underlying it. Using linked Finnish and Swedish register data that allow us to follow Finnish migrants across national borders, we analyse whether the determinants of circular migration differ from those of the first and return move. People move freely between Sweden and Finland, as they are in the common Nordic labour market. Event history analysis shows that many moves are temporary and short term. Moreover, the patterns of circular migration reflect those of the first emigration and first return, respectively. Swedish speakers and individuals who are not married are more prone to emigrate for the first and second time, whereas Finnish speakers and married individuals have a higher risk of return migration. This implies that circular migration may amplify demographic features related to emigration and return migration.

Keywords
circular migration, commitment, free mobility, linked register data, temporary migration
National Category
Sociology Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171166 (URN)10.1002/psp.2230 (DOI)000474074800007 ()
Available from: 2019-08-13 Created: 2019-08-13 Last updated: 2019-11-25Bibliographically approved
2. Assessing the Effect of Increased Deportations on Mexican Migrants’ Remittances and Savings Brought Home
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing the Effect of Increased Deportations on Mexican Migrants’ Remittances and Savings Brought Home
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Beginning in the 1990s and intensifying after the events of September 11, deportations in the U.S. increased to record levels under President Obama and continue to be high today. Empirical evidence on how migrants respond to this shifting context of reception is limited. In this study, we examine how deportations affect Mexican migrants’ remittance and saving decisions. Migrant remittances and savings comprise a significant portion of foreign exchange within migrant-sending countries and foreign earnings play a central role in helping families to overcome budget constraints. Moreover, they are important indicators of integration and migrants’ levels of investment in the destination. Using detailed individual-level data from the Mexican Migration Project (MMP), we find that, among undocumented migrants, increases in deportations are associated with a shift from savings brought back to Mexico to the sending of remittances. At the same time, deportations reduce savings among documented migrants, with no corresponding increase in remittances.

Keywords
remittances, savings, immigration enforcement, deportations, transnational ties
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176111 (URN)
Available from: 2019-11-22 Created: 2019-11-22 Last updated: 2019-12-19Bibliographically approved
3. Gender and Contacts at Arrival among Refugee and Family Reunion Migrants: Resources and Constraints
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender and Contacts at Arrival among Refugee and Family Reunion Migrants: Resources and Constraints
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasing rates of immigration have led to rising concern about integration in Europe. Previous studies point to the importance of social contacts for migrants’ labour market integration, but the literature remains inconclusive as to whether contacts provide higher returns for men or for women. This paper contributes to existing knowledge by assessing gender differences in the association between pre-migration contacts, defined as family, friends, both family and friends or no contacts, and labour market entry. Results based on the Swedish Level of Living survey of Foreign-born and their Children reveal significant gender differences. Among men, friends appear to promote labour market entry and are associated with about a two-year shorter job search than no contacts. Among women, family is associated with a two-year longer job search. This indicates that friends provide men with an added bonus in the labour market. By contrast, women’s job searches are constrained by factors linked to having family at the destination.

Keywords
integration, social contacts, gender, labour market entry
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173656 (URN)
Available from: 2019-11-22 Created: 2019-11-22 Last updated: 2019-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Immigration Enforcement and Apprehension: The Impact of Secure Communities on Hispanic Students’ Educational Achievement in the United States
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Immigration Enforcement and Apprehension: The Impact of Secure Communities on Hispanic Students’ Educational Achievement in the United States
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

High educational achievement gaps by ethnicity are documented in many countries. However, little is known about how immigration enforcement impacts educational achievement among targeted minority groups. This paper analyses the effect of a specific policy implementation in the U.S. – Secure Communities – on district level achievement of Hispanic students and their white and black peers. The Secure Communities program is a national level immigration enforcement policy that was rolled out on a county-by-county basis. The program has been instrumental in increasing the risk of deportation and has led to rising apprehension and insecurity among undocumented migrants and their family members. Results from difference in differences estimations show that Secure Communities is related to a significant decrease in English language arts achievement among Hispanic students. Triple difference in differences models, moreover, reveal a negative differential impact of Secure Communities on Hispanic students’ district level achievement when compared to white students. Estimates are substantial in relation to time trends, but modest when compared to the total ethnic achievement gap. These findings indicate that immigration enforcement can have negative impacts on educational and social inequalities in the United States.

Keywords
immigration enforcement, achievement scores, educational inequalities
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176112 (URN)
Available from: 2019-11-22 Created: 2019-11-22 Last updated: 2019-12-06Bibliographically approved

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