Migration and Development

Alícia Adserà • Rafaela Dancygier • Tod G. Hamilton • Douglas S. Massey • Alejandro Portes • Magaly Sanchez-R • Marta Tienda


Alícia Adserà’s article entitled, “The Future Fertility of Highly Educated Women: The Role of Educational Composition Shifts and Labor Market Barriers,” was published in the Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 2017. Her research evidences that childbearing patterns of highly educated women will be a key factor in the evolution of fertility – not only in developed countries, but in rapidly developing economies, where fertility rates are quickly declining to below replacement levels, and here educational attainment is rising rapidly as well. The reasons are likely a function of multiple factors that are related, among other things, to fertility preferences, couple formation dynamics, labor market institutions, and gender roles. Adserà’s focus is on three points: (1) who the college-educated are today; (2) what we know about the fertility preferences and the actual fertility of highly educated women, and about whether the mismatch between fertility preferences and realized fertility differs depending on educational attainment; and (3) whether highly-educated women experience barriers in achieving their fertility goals, or their personal target.


The study entitled, "Age at Migration, Family Instability, and Timing of Sexual Onset," written by Rachel Goldberg (University of California, Irvine), Marta Tienda, and Alícia Adserà, was published in Social Science and Research. This study builds on and extends previous research on nativity variations in adolescent health and risk behavior by addressing three questions: (1) whether and how generational status and age at migration are associated with timing of sexual onset among U.S. adolescents; (2) whether and how family instability mediates associations between nativity and sexual debut; and (3) whether and how these associations vary by gender. They find that first- and second-generation immigrant youth initiate sexual activity later than native youth. Foreign-born youth who migrate after the start of adolescence exhibit the latest sexual onset; boys’ sexual behavior is particularly sensitive to age at migration. Parental union stability is protective for first- and second-generation youth, especially boys; however, instability in co-residence with parents accelerates sexual debut for foreign-born girls, and dilutes protections from parental marital stability. Use of a non-English language at home delays sexual onset for immigrant girls, but not boys.


Rafaela Dancygier’s book, Dilemmas of Inclusion, states as Europe’s Muslim communities continue to grow, so does their impact on electoral politics and the potential for inclusion dilemmas. In vote-rich enclaves, Muslim views on religion, tradition, and gender roles can deviate sharply from those of the majority electorate, generating severe trade-offs for parties seeking to broaden their coalitions. Dilemmas of Inclusion explains when and why European political parties include Muslim candidates and voters, revealing that the ways in which parties recruit this new electorate can have lasting consequences.

Drawing on original evidence from thousands of electoral contests in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain, Rafaela Dancygier sheds new light on when minority recruitment will match up with existing party positions and uphold electoral alignments and when it will undermine party brands and shake up party systems. She demonstrates that when parties are seduced by the quick delivery of ethno-religious bloc votes, they undercut their ideological coherence, fail to establish programmatic linkages with Muslim voters, and miss their opportunity to build cross-ethnic, class-based coalitions. Dancygier highlights how the politics of minority inclusion can become a testing ground for parties, showing just how far their commitments to equality and diversity will take them when push comes to electoral shove.

Providing a unified theoretical framework for understanding the causes and consequences of minority political incorporation, and especially as these pertain to European Muslim populations, Dilemmas of Inclusion advances our knowledge about how ethnic and religious diversity reshapes domestic politics in today’s democracies.


Tod Hamilton and Tiffany L. Green’s (Virginia Commonwealth University) article, “Intergenerational Differences in Smoking among West Indian, Haitian, Latin American, and African Blacks in the United States,” was published in Social Science & Medicine – Population Health is titled. Due in large part to increased migration from Africa and the Caribbean, black immigrants and their descendants are drastically changing the contours of health disparities among blacks in the United States. While prior studies have examined health variation among black immigrants by region of birth, few have explored the degree of variation in health behaviors, particularly smoking patterns, among first- and second- generation black immigrants by ancestral heritage. Using data from the 1995–2011 waves of the Tobacco Use Supplements of the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS), they examine variation in current smoking status among first-, second-, and third/higher- generation black immigrants. Specifically, they investigated these differences among all black immigrants and then provide separate analyses for individuals with ancestry from the English-speaking Caribbean (West Indies), Haiti, Latin America, and Africa—the primary sending regions of black immigrants to the United States. They also explore differences in smoking behavior by gender. The results show that, relative to third/higher generation blacks, first-generation black immigrants are less likely to report being current smokers. Within the first-generation, immigrants who migrated after age 13 have a lower probability of smoking relative to those who migrated at or under age 13. Disparities in smoking prevalence among the first-generation by age at migration are largest among black immigrants from Latin America. The results also suggest that second-generation immigrants with two foreign-born parents are generally less likely to smoke than the third/higher generation. They found no statistically significant difference in smoking between second-generation immigrants with mixed nativity parents and the third or higher generation. Among individuals with West Indian, Haitian, Latin American, and African ancestry, the probability of being a current smoker increases with each successive generation. The intergenerational increase in smoking, however, is slower among individuals with African ancestry. Finally, with few exceptions, the results suggest that intergenerational gaps in smoking behavior are larger among women compared to men. As additional sources of data for this population become available, researchers should investigate which ancestral subgroups are driving the favorable smoking patterns for the African origin population.


Douglas Massey published his book, Comprender las Migraciones Internacionales: Teorías, Prácticas y Políticas Migratorias (Understanding International Migration: Theory, Practice and Immigration Policies). There are few works in the social sciences that help to understand so deeply the traits and challenges of international migration in the globalized world of the 21st century as the texts of Douglas S. Massey included in this book, texts already classical in sociology and the demography. The first part of the book presents a coherent synthesis of migratory theories and an integrated model to study them that is only possible from the previous critical review and the systematic evaluation of these theories, and with the contributions of Massey on the cumulative causation of migrations and the importance of social networks in migratory processes.

The second part analyzes various aspects of migration in the contemporary world, especially the situation of Latin American migrants in the United States. The third part shows the unexpected effects of migration policies, the real features of the immigration "crisis" today, and some hints of the desirable policies to manage the migration phenomenon.

This book shows how Massey has built over the last few years one of the most solid, coherent and comprehensive works to understand contemporary international migrations.


Douglas Massey’s chapter, “Migration and Categorical Inequality: Migration to the City and the Birth of Race and Ethnicity” was published in Immigration and Categorical Inequality. Migration to the City and the Birth of Race and Ethnicity, edited by Ernesto Castaneda (American University). The book explains the general processes of migration, the categorization of newcomers in urban areas as racial or ethnic others, and the mechanisms that perpetuate inequality among groups. Inspired by the pioneering work of Charles Tilly on chain migration, transnational communities, trust networks, and categorical inequality, renowned migration scholars apply Tilly’s theoretical concepts using empirical data gathered in different historical periods and geographical areas ranging from New York to Tokyo and from Barcelona to Nepal. The contributors of this volume demonstrate the ways in which social boundary mechanisms produce relational processes of durable categorical inequality. This understanding is an important step to stop treating differences between certain groups as natural and unchangeable. This volume will be valuable for scholars, students, and the public in general interested in understanding the periodic rise of nativism in the United States and elsewhere.


Douglas Massey wrote the introduction, “The Origins and Future of Global Latinos,” in “Global Latin(o) Americanos: Transoceanic Diasporas and Regional Migrations” published by New York: Oxford University Press. Global Latin(o) Americanos addresses and reframes a central issue of our time: the challenge of incorporating immigrants into Western societies and economies, which too often frame immigrants as "the problem.” How Latino immigrants respond and exercise agency under familiar and unfamiliar global conditions is of critical importance on several fronts, including the health of democratic societies and the diverse expressions of citizenship across the Latino diaspora.

Building on the scholarship of new migratory destinations of people from Latin America and the Caribbean, Global Latin(o) Americanos moves toward studies of diasporic citizenship; this shift not only de-centers U.S.-dominant interpretations, but also places less emphasis on the nation-state and its economic systems as units of analysis. The book includes work by leading scholars of migration in Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the United States. It examines a wide range of intraregional and transoceanic migratory flows and addresses critical themes from several disciplinary perspectives.


Douglas Massey, Jorge Durand (Universidad de Guadalajara), and Karen Pren published, “Why Border Enforcement Backfired,” in American Journal of Sociology. In this article they undertake a systematic analysis of why border enforcement backfired as a strategy of immigration control in the United States. They argue theoretically that border enforcement emerged as a policy response to a moral panic about the perceived threat of Latino immigration to the United States propounded by self-interested bureaucrats, politicians, and pundits who sought to mobilize political and material resources for their own benefit. The end result was a self-perpetuating cycle of rising enforcement and increased apprehensions that resulted in the militarization of the border in a way that was disconnected from the actual size of the undocumented flow. Using an instrumental variable approach, they show how border militarization affected the behavior of unauthorized migrants and border outcomes to transform undocumented Mexican migration from a circular flow of male workers going to three states into an eleven-million person population of settled families living in 50 states.


“The Counterproductive Consequences of Border Enforcement,” written by Douglas Massey was published in Cato Journal. From 1986 to 2008 the undocumented population of the United States grew from three million to 12 million persons, despite a five-fold increase in Border Patrol officers, a four-fold increase in hours spent patrolling the border, and a 20-fold increase in the agency’s nominal budget. Whether measured in terms of personnel, patrol hours, or budget, studies indicate that the surge in border enforcement has had little effect in reducing unauthorized migration to the United States. The strategy of enhanced border enforcement was not without consequences, however, for although it did not deter Mexicans from heading northward or prevent them from crossing the border, it did reduce the rate of return migration and redirected migrant flows to new crossing points and destinations, with profound consequences for the size, composition, and geographic distribution of the nation’s unauthorized population. Here Massey draws on results from a recent study to explain how and why the unprecedented militarization of the Mexico-U.S. border not only failed to reduce undocumented migration but also actually backfired by turning what had been a circular flow of male workers, going mainly to three states, into a large and growing population of families in 50 states.


Magaly Sanchez-R and Douglas Massey published, “The International Migration of Highly Skilled and Educated Venezuelans to the United States,” in Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. The magnitude of HSE emigration from Venezuela in recent decades indicates the drastic effect of HSE migration on the country’s human capital composition, which has serious repercussions for Venezuelan societal progress. Many factors influence the decisions of HSE professionals to migrate abroad. HSE immigrants generally seek to improve their welfare by balancing professional aspirations, such as greater occupational mobility and higher earnings, with quality of life considerations. In addition to these obvious motivations for migration, declining security and worsening living conditions at home increasingly influence HSE professionals’ migration decisions today. This trend is exemplified in Venezuela, where rising rates of crime, increasing political tensions, and growing criminal and political violence have led to the mass departure of HSE workers. The outflow of HSE professionals from Venezuela underscores the failure of the Chavista/Madurista model, a political and socio-economic model instituted in Venezuela eighteen years ago, which has left the nation and its institutions in a state of near-total ruin and enmeshed its citizens in a tangle of political, governmental, and humanitarian crises.


Robert Schenkkan is a playwright and screenwriter of, “The Real Purpose of the Border Wall.” The play is accompanied by commentary from three prominent scholars: Timothy Patrick McCarthy (Harvard University), Douglas Massey, and Julian E. Zelizer on the real purpose of the border wall, our dark nativist history of restricting immigration, and the tradition of political protest in art.

Written in a “white-hot fury” on the eve of the 2016 election, the stunning new play by Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award–winning dramatist Robert Schenkkan is creating a nationwide sensation. Bypassing the usual development path for plays, it has been signed up to open in five theaters across America in a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, starting in Los Angeles (March) and Denver (April) and continuing in the Washington, DC, area, Tucson, and Miami, with more productions to follow, including in Santa Fe and New York City.

Building the Wall lays out in a harrowing drama the consequences of Donald Trump’s anti-immigration campaign rhetoric turned into federal policy. Two years from now, that policy has resulted in the mass round-up of millions of illegal aliens, with their incarceration overflowing into private prisons and camps reminiscent of another century. The former warden for one facility is awaiting sentencing for what happened under his watch. In a riveting interview with a historian who has come seeking the truth, he gradually reveals how the unthinkable became the inevitable, and the faceless illegals under his charge became the face of tragedy.


Douglas Massey was the featured speaker in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs Blog, Politics & Polls #30: Immigration & Border Control with Doug Massey. In this episode, Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang take a deep dive into immigration and border control with Massey. Throughout the discussion, Massey shatters many myths, including the question of whether the effect of a border wall is to keep people out of the United States - or cage them inside.

A federal appeals court has blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order issuing an immigration ban barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Trump also has made moves toward building a border wall with Mexico, which recent figures suggest may cost an estimated $21 billion. If implemented, what would an immigration ban and a border wall accomplish?


Douglas Massey’s argument, “Trump’s Plan for a Massive Deportation is Cruel, Unjust, and Economic Suicide” was published online for Foreign Policy. This article discusses President Donald Trump’s promise to deport more than one million children raised in the United States. Shortly after the election, he said he planned immediately to deport two to three million undocumented immigrants; but on the day of his inauguration, he told Illinois Senator Richard Durbin that “we don’t want to hurt those kids,” referring to the beneficiaries of former President Barack Obama’s executive order deferring deportation for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children—often referred to as “Dreamers”.

The Republican Party platform on which Trump ran states that “the executive amnesties of 2012 and 2014 are a direct violation of federal law and usurp the powers of Congress … [and] must be immediately rescinded by a Republican president.” Although the 2014 executive order was blocked in Federal Court, and never implemented, the 2012 order was carried out. Known by the acronym DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), it provides relief from deportation for some 1.3 million undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors, representing a small subset of the total undocumented population.

With the loss of deferred action status, DACA recipients revert to being unlawful aliens, a category of persons that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is legally obliged to remove from the United States. Unlike most undocumented immigrants, however, ICE knows exactly who these people are and where they live, making a massive roundup and removal easy. In the process, however, it will unleash a humanitarian tragedy and let loose an unprecedented violation of human rights. Innocent young people and their families will be torn apart and communities rendered asunder, all to placate a xenophobic fringe of the U.S. population.

In addition to immiserating millions of young people and their families, the U.S. economy will be undermined as productive people are removed from jobs, colleges, and universities, making it impossible for U.S. taxpayers to capitalize on the public investments they have made in their health and education. According to estimates by the Cato Institute, the fiscal cost of deporting DACA recipients would exceed $60 billion, and their departure would reduce economic growth by $280 billion over the next decade.

In his 10-point plan on immigration reform, Trump promised to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties. All immigration laws will be enforced — we will triple the number of ICE agents.” If Trump follows through on this promise, great damage will be done to the fabric of American society and its standing in the world.


Alejandro Portes and Jean C. Nava published, “Institutions and National Development: A Comparative Study,” in Revista Española de Sociología. They review the theoretical and empirical literature leading to the “institutional turn” in the economics of development. Sociologists have welcomed this turn as a vindication of their own ideas, but have overlooked two major shortcomings in the economics literature: First, a failure to define “institutions” rigorously and to distinguish them from the real-life organizations that they govern; second, a tendency to use nations as units of analysis in cross-national studies, neglecting intra-national differences. The authors tackle these limitations through a comparative study of institutions in Latin America and Southern Europe. In total, twenty-nine existing institutions were subjected to year-long study in six countries. Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), they examine the combination of causes leading to institutionally adequate and developmentally effective organizations. Differences across countries and among institutions are highlighted and discussed. Implications of the complex causal set leading to effective developmental institutions, as identified by QCA methodology, are examined.


Alejandro Portes and Ariel C. Armony’s (University of Pittsburgh) article “Recovering Ancestral Values and Creating New Bonds: Chinese Transnationalism in Latin America,” published in Migración y Desarrollo reviews the evolution of the economic and political relationships between China and Latin America, with particular attention given to the growing power and presence of the People's Republic of China throughout all countries of the continent and the revitalization of Chinese communities and their organizations in response to this presence. Currently, China not only exports industrial goods and capital to Latin America, but also businesspeople, students and merchants. This dual Chinese presence "from above", through inter-State relations, and "from below" via migration and the strengthening of transnational organizations, has had a growing effect upon the receiving societies that have not always cast a welcoming eye upon this simultaneous incursion. Together they describe the key results of the articles in this issue based on intensive studies carried out on the Chinese communities and organizations in four Latin American countries.


Magaly Sanchez-R continues her work on the project “International Migration of Talent and Highly Skilled and Educated to the United States.” The project is known in its abbreviated form as the Highly Skilled and Educated (HSE) Immigrants Project. HSE was organized as a sub-project of the Latin American Migration Project (LAMP). Its design included two separate data collection efforts: the application of the LAMP’s ethno survey questionnaire to a selected sample of Venezuelan immigrants and in-depth interviews conducted with a sizeable number of HSE immigrants from Venezuela and several other sending nations.

Magaly Sanchez-R is in the process of writing a book aimed at sharing the experience of the Venezuelan Highly Skill Educated Immigrants in the United States. In a Venezuelan context of collapse, deep humanitarian crisis, hyperinflation extended criminal violence, and authoritarian political regime, the analysis combines the data from the LASA ethno survey as well as data from in-depth interviews with Venezuelan immigrants in the United States. The work also considers the major humanitarian migration crisis in the region that relates to massive and forced migration of Venezuelans to the south of the continent, representing 2,500,000 Venezuelans’ who crossed the border of Colombia between 2015 and 2018, a process that continues and is an unprecedented crisis in the history of the region.

In the fall 2017, Douglas Massey and Magaly Sanchez R co-taught a reading course, “International Migration from Venezuela: from Highly Skilled and Educated to others Waves of Migration.”


Magaly Sanchez-R and Douglas Massey published, “The International Migration of Highly Skilled and Educated Venezuelans to the United States,” in Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. Understanding the process of international migration offers insights into how and why societies can change. The dynamics of contemporary international migration connect the agency of migrants, the socioeconomic and structural constraints they face, and the influence of political decisions and policy on societies. The international migration of Highly Skilled and Educated (HSE) workers affects knowledge advancement in the global economy and technological innovation in science and engineering that address today’s challenges. The magnitude of HSE emigration from Venezuela in recent decades indicates the drastic effect of HSE migration on the country’s human capital composition, which has serious repercussions for Venezuelan societal progress. Many factors influence the decisions of HSE professionals to migrate abroad. HSE immigrants generally seek to improve their welfare by balancing professional aspirations, such as greater occupational mobility and higher earnings, with quality of life considerations. In addition to these obvious motivations for migration, declining security and worsening living conditions at home increasingly influence HSE professionals’ migration decisions today. This trend is exemplified in Venezuela, where rising rates of crime, increasing political tensions, and growing criminal and political violence have led to the mass departure of HSE workers.


At the International Congress of Latin American Studies Association (LASA) 2017, Magaly Sanchez-R presented “Attack to the Private property, Intolerance to the other and Rupture of the Social Cohesion in Venezuela” (Ataque a la Propiedad Privada, Intolerancia del otro y Ruptura del Tejido Social en Venezuela) on the Panel titled, Golpistas, Apátridas y Disociados. Rol de los Discursos en la Instauracion del Chavismo.

With a narrative and discourse attacking private property, as well as a growing intolerance to the “other”, promoted by Pte Chavez through the televised channels, the author argues that this legitimized and established the relations and effects of crime, robberies, and kidnapping in Venezuela. Under a subliminal “if the Pte do it, why not me?” the increase of violence, and the emergence of collective groups as paramilitary actors of coercion and terror, were considered essential factors that derive from the repetition of confrontation by the media, who had consequences on the social links ruptures. Lima Perú. April 27- May 2, 2017.


Magaly Sanchez-R was interviewed on the Program Perdidos en America. She discussed the violent events that occurred in Venezuela, after a sequence of several months of social demonstrations against the government that results in the most brutal and bloody repression with more than 120 students killed and hundreds of political prisoners.