New from IMR

Immigrant Skills, Decision Making, and Transnational Connections

New from IMR: Immigrant Skills, Decision Making, and Transnational Connections

The Spring 2020 edition of the International Migration Review (IMR) is now available online and in print through paid or institutional subscription. This edition is thematically sorted into four sections. The first section has articles about immigration policy, immigrant skills, and generational dynamics. The second section explores immigrant mobility, aspirations, and decision-making. The third section is about understanding transnational connections including networks, diasporas, and relations. Lastly, this edition has four book reviews, which are free to access.

Modeling American Migration Aspirations: How Capital, Race, and National Identity Shape Americans’ Ideas about Living Abroad
Helen Marrow, Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels

Most research on the interaction between actual migration and the aspiration to migrate concentrates on the Global South, despite the relevance of this interaction in the Global North as well. Drawing on a nationally representative online survey that the authors commissioned in 2014 in the United States, their bivariate analysis shows that fully one-third of Americans surveyed revealed some aspiration to live abroad, primarily for the purpose of exploration. Furthermore, their multivariate analysis suggests that certain elements of cultural and social capital, including the networks Americans have with prior and current US citizen migrants abroad, structure these aspirations, in tandem with the strength of national attachment. Lastly, this research shows that both cultural and economic aspects of class, race, and national attachment shape where those Americans aspiring to migrate envision going and why. In its main, this article enriches the migration literature by examining Americans’ migration aspirations from the point of origin, thus connecting the literature on Global North migration flows to that on migration aspirations.

The Complex Sources of Immigration Control
Darshan Vigneswaran

What factors determine how governments enforce immigration laws? While immigration policymakers can empower or compel officials and non-state actors to enforce immigration laws, this article suggests that non-immigration policymakers also may play an important role in complex ways. As it shows, policies designed to control the movement of people in other ways, including transportation, crime control, and segregation, can determine the amount of resources a given country devotes to immigration enforcement and the effectiveness of enforcement efforts. When officials ban—or invent new—forms of movement control, they can, in the process, determine how much resources are allocated to enforce immigration laws, whether these resources are used for immigration enforcement, and how effective they are. In this article, the authors demonstrate this potential power of non-immigration policy through an in-depth case study of South Africa’s unexpected capacity to control migration. As one of the world’s most prolific deporters of foreign nationals but not a very strong state, South Africa’s decisions to ban segregation and invent new internal policing methods impacted its capacity to deport foreign nationals. Using these findings, this article calls for more detailed research into the complex relationships between immigration enforcement and other movement control policies and for greater attention to formerly neglected cases in the developing world.

The Academic Performance of Undocumented Students in Higher Education in the United States
Amy Hsin, Holly Reed

This article examines the effect of legal status on GPA and graduation among the estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrant college students in the United States. By utilizing student administrative data from a large public university, which accurately identify legal status and include pre-enrollment characteristics, the authors find that undocumented students are hyper-selected relative to peers and that failing to account for this difference underestimates the effect of legal status on academic outcomes. The findings presented here also highlight the ways that legal status interacts with institutional settings and race/ethnicity to affect educational outcomes.


Class Background, Reception Context, and Intergenerational Mobility: A Record Linkage and Surname Analysis of the Children of Irish Immigrants
Dylan Shane Connor

Migration Policy and Immigrants’ Labor Market Performance
Massimiliano Tani

The Decline in Earnings of Childhood Immigrants in the United States
Hugh Cassidy


Modeling American Migration Aspirations: How Capital, Race, and National Identity Shape Americans’ Ideas about Living Abroad
Helen Marrow, Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels

Are Movers More Egalitarian than Stayers? An Intergenerational Perspective on Intra-Household Financial Decision-Making
Sebnem Eroglu

The Return of Citizenship? An Empirical Assessment of Legal Integration in Times of Radical Sociolegal Transformation
Chris Moreh, Derek McGhee and Athina Vlachantoni


Social Networks and Transnational Social Fields: A Review of Quantitative and Mixed-Methods Approaches
Miranda Jessica Lubbers, Ashton M. Verdery, José Luis Molina

Macroeconomic Fluctuations in Home Countries and Immigrants’ Well-Being: New Evidence from Down Under
Ha Trong Nguyen, Alan S. Duncan

Origin-Country Culture, Migration Sequencing, and Female Employment: Variations among Immigrant Women in the United States
Qian He, Theodore P. Gerber


The Complex Sources of Immigration Control
Darshan Vigneswaran

The Academic Performance of Undocumented Students in Higher Education in the United States
Amy Hsin, Holly Reed


Shifting Boundaries: Immigrant Youth Negotiating National, State and Small-Town Politics
Alexis M. Silver
Reviewed by Paul N. McDaniel

Making Immigrant Rights Real: Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco
Els De Graauw
Reviewed by Kristi Andersen

Raising Global Families: Parenting, Immigration, and Class in Taiwan and the US
Pei-Chia Lan
Reviewed by Catherine Doherty

Lawyering an Uncertain Cause: Immigration Advocacy and Chinese Youth in the US
Michelle Statz
Reviewed by Chiara Galli