Since about 2000, a number of federal and state policies have been implemented in the United States with the intention of stemming the flow of illegal immigration. In this article, we focus on two initiatives: (1) Operation Streamline, as an example of increased border enforcement by the federal government; and (2) state-level omnibus immigration laws, as an illustration of enhanced interior enforcement by state governments. We investigate whether these policies have reduced the intentions of deported Mexican immigrants to attempt a new unauthorized crossing. Although state-level omnibus immigration laws reduce the proportion of deportees intending to attempt a new crossing, increased border enforcement has proven to be far less effective. In addition, we ascertain the human costs associated with these policies. Our findings are mixed in this regard. Noteworthy is how the adoption of more stringent interior enforcement seems to result in a “herding” or “ganging-up” effect, whereby the incidence of verbal and physical abuse rises with the number of states enacting such measures. Additionally, our estimates suggest that deportees are more likely to respond that they have risked their lives to cross into the United States as a result of enhanced border enforcement.

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