This article examines whether mass legalization programs reduce future undocumented immigration. We focus on the effects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to nearly 2.7 million undocumented immigrants. We report that apprehensions of persons attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally declined immediately following passage of the law but returned to normal levels during the period when undocumented immigrants could file for amnesty and the years thereafter. Our findings suggest that the amnesty program did not change long-term patterns of undocumented immigration from Mexico.

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