Do not give me your tired, your poor! Determinants of legislator voting on immigration issues

Do not give me your tired, your poor! Determinants of legislator voting on immigration issues

Gonzalez, Jorge G


For many years Emma Lazarus’ famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty served as the guiding principle for the United States immigration policy. This nation of immigrants had its arms open to welcome newcomers. However, economic insecurity, fears of an ever-growing population, government budget constraints, and, in some instances, ethnic intolerance have convinced many U.S. citizens that their country cannot continue to keep its doors open to immigrants.

Perhaps the clearest expression of this anti-immigrant sentiment was the passage of California’s Proposition 187, which aimed to deny almost all benefits to illegal aliens.1 The controversy over Proposition 187 sparked a national debate on the subject of immigration and probably influenced the move, in 1995, by Senator Alan Simpson and Representative Lamar Smith to implement a comprehensive package of restrictions on both legal and illegal immigration. Various provisions in this package were opposed by the Clinton Administration, including those aimed at curbing legal immigration and denying public education to the children of illegal immigrants. After much debate, the House and Senate voted to separate legal and illegal immigration and passed the Immigration in the National Interest Act of 1996 (INIA), a watered-down version aimed mostly at curbing illegal immigration.2

This paper examines the vote on INIA by the House of Representatives of the 1041 Congress. Public choice theory suggests that the voting behavior of legislators is influenced by the interests of their constituencies, special interest politics, and their ideological preferences. The purpose of this paper is to investigate which of these factors are driving legislators to close the doors on immigration.

The organization of the paper is as follows. The next section reviews the literature on the political economy of immigration restrictions. This is followed by a discussion of the methodology of this study. Empirical results are presented next. Finally conclusions and ideas for future works are provided.


The costs and benefits of immigration have been debated in Congress ever since the borders of the United States were drawn. U.S. immigration policy has resulted from the balancing of competing economic, social, and humanitarian goals. One of the earliest significant immigration bills enacted by Congress was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Since that time, the U.S. Congress has approved nine other major immigration bills of which INIA is most recent.3 The provisions of this bill include increased funding for the Border Patrol; harsher sanctions for illegal immigrants; higher income requirements for sponsorship of immigrants; and limiting public assistance to both legal and illegal immigrants. It also provides for the creation of a voluntary pilot program that allows employers to verify the immigration status ofjob applicants .4

Although the public choice literature is rich with studies of determinants of legislator voting on many different issues, few authors have concentrated on the factors affecting legislative behavior on immigration issues.5 Goldin[1994] studies the effects that opposing lobby groups had on the changing immigration policies of the United States from 1890 to 1921. She concludes that the main factors that explain the restrictive immigration laws of 1921 were the declining political clout of foreignborn citizens, the declining real wages for lower-skilled workers, and the negative impact of immigration on the wages of skilled workers. It appears that by 1921 the only constituencies that were still pro-immigrant were concentrated among the owners of capital and in big cities, while the rest of the nation was ready to shut the door on immigrants. Lowell, Bean, and De la Garza [1986] evaluate the legislative voting patterns on the 1984 Simpson-Mazzoli bills They use four sets of variables to try to explain this vote: nationalism, economic interests, ethnic minority interests, and regionalism. They conclude that economic distress was a major source of the support for this bill. The opposition to this immigration bill was centered in ethnic and regional interests. Representatives from districts with significant Hispanic populations were likely to oppose the bill, as were legislators from southwestern states.

Instead of focusing on the development of immigration policy and the impact of interest groups on legislators, Shughart, Tollison, and Kimenyi [1986] concentrate on the interactions between constituencies and regulators in the enforcement of the immigration laws. They use the interest group theory of government to show how the enforcement of these laws is a way to balance the interests of competing groups. Because producers push for higher labor supply during economic expansions and the labor lobby demands lower supply during recessions, the immigration enforcement efforts turn out to be countercyclical. This pattern results in stricter enforcement during economic downturns and relaxed application of the law during periods of growth. In another study of the enforcement of the immigration laws, Moehring [1988] finds the following seemingly puzzling result: when legislators vote to restrict illegal immigration, they also reduce the growth rate of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) budget. He argues that this outcome may be explained by the vote-maximizing behavior of legislators facing interest groups with opposing views. Legislators may vote to restrict immigration to appease those opposed to it while at the same time making it harder for the INS to enforce these laws, to cater to the interests of pro-immigrant groups.


This paper utilizes public choice theory to identify the factors that were important in explaining the vote of members of the U.S. House of Representatives on INIA. Public choice theory postulates that when legislators vote on a certain issue they behave as utility maximizers. For many legislators, this means both maximizing their probability of reelection [Downs, 19571 and enhancing their political career. In order to achieve these objectives, legislators must be perceived as promoting the political and economic interests of their constituencies. For example, a legislator from a highly unionized district is unlikely to remain in office long if her voting record shows an anti-union bias. While voting according to the interests of their constituencies helps legislators’ political careers, in today’s world a big campaign chest is a prerequisite for political longevity. Therefore, politicians must also be especially responsive to the needs of those who contribute to their campaigns. Consequently, Political Action Committees (PACs) influence the future of legislative initiatives. Finally, legislators may also have a “consumption motive” directing their voting behavior. In some instances, legislators may vote according to their ideological persuasion even if this goes against the interest of their constituencies and contributors.7

In sum, public choice theory indicates that the voting behavior of legislators on the INIA vote was a function of their constituencies’ interests, contributions from interest groups, and their ideology. This can be represented by equation (1):

where v is a dichotomous variable equal to 1 when the representative voted for the INIA and 0 otherwise.8 Since v is a dichotomous variable, the probit functional form was employed to estimate equation (1). C, L, and/ are vectors of variables representing the political and economic interests of constituents, contributions from lobbying groups, and the representative’s ideology respectively.

Political and Economic Interest of the Constituencies

The most commonly-used argument for restricting immigration is the protection of U.S. workers’ income. It is generally argued that since immigrants tend to have low levels of education, low-skilled native workers are likely to suffer from a reduction in their wages as a consequence of immigration. A large number of studies have been conducted trying to estimate the impact of immigration on the wages of lowskilled workers and their results are mixed. While some find the expected negative impact, others find a positive impact of immigration on the wages of low-skilled natives.9 The general consensus of these studies appears to be that immigration has, if any, a very small impact on the earnings of low-skilled workers in the United States.

In spite of these results, public opinion polls consistently show that Americans are convinced that low-skilled workers are suffering as a consequence of the immigration process.10 The popular press and politicians appear to be similarly misinformed. Hence, representatives from districts with a large number of low-skilled workers would be more likely to vote to restrict immigration. The variable used in the empirical analysis, LSKIND, represents the percentage of workers in the district that are employed in industries that traditionally attract large numbers of unskilled workers.ll Its coefficient is expected to have a positive sign, meaning that the larger their number, the more likely the legislator is to vote for INIA.

While immigrants might be substitutes for low-skilled natives in production, their relationship with high-skilled workers is complementary. Economic theory would predict that an increase in low-skilled immigration is likely to have a positive impact on the earnings of high-skilled natives. Empirical studies, such as Smith and Edmonston [1997], have found this to be generally true although the effect is small. On this issue, it seems that public perception matches the available economics research. High-skilled U.S. workers tend to have a positive view of the effects of immigration.12 SKOCC represents the percentage of workers in the congressional district that are employed in high-skilled occupations.13 Its coefficient is expected to have a negative sign. It should be noted that since LSKIND measures the percentage of workers employed in certain industries and SKOCC indicates the percentage of workers in certain occupations, the sum ofLSKIND and SKOCC is not equal to one. The raw correlation coefficient between these two variables is -0.46.

Benhabib [1996] and Flores [1997], among others, have argued that the immigration debate is likely to be divided among those wanting to increase the capital-labor ratio and those wanting to reduce it. Capital owners are likely to favor immigration since it will reduce this ratio, and therefore increase the returns to capital. Unfortunately it is not possible to find data on the capital-labor ratio by district. To proxy this variable, data from the 1992 Census of Manufactures is used to construct KLRATIO, a statewide indicator of the ratio of the gross book value of depreciable assets to employees in manufacturing establishments. Representatives from states with a higher capital -labor ratio are expected to be more likely to oppose passage of INIA.

The timing of the current anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States has surprised many analysts. As Shughart, Tollison, and Kimenyi [1986] have shown, immigration policy tends to be countercyclical. However, the INIA debate occurred during an apparent economic bonanza for the United States. An explanation of this could be centered on the argument that although the economy has been growing steadily, wages have remained sluggish, contributing to greater resentment of immigrants who are seen as “stealing” American jobs and/or depressing wages even further. Two proxies for worker insecurity are used to test this hypothesis. WAGECH represents the percentage change in wages by state from 1990 to 1995. The coefficient of this variable is expected to be negative. However, the coefficient of UNEMP, which represents the state unemployment rate during 1995, is expected to be positive. Empirical studies have found conflicting evidence on the effect of immigration on the unemployment rate. There appears to be a general agreement, however, that whatever the direction of these effects might be, it is rather small.14 Nonetheless, as long as constituents blame job losses on immigrants, representatives from districts with high unemployment are more likely to vote in favor of INIA.

The rural sector has conflicting views on immigration.15 On the one hand, it would be very hard and expensive for the rural sector to function without the help of migrant workers. On the other hand, native rural workers feel that the competition from immigrants depresses their wages. To find out if the rural sector played any role in determining the fate of INIA,RURAL was included in the estimated equation. This variable presents the percentage of the district population that lives in a rural area. Given the conflicting views of this sector on this issue, its expected sign is ambiguous.

The variables BLACK and HISPANIC measure the percentage of the district’s population that is African American and Hispanic respectively. It has often been argued that because their skill levels are similar, African Americans may face the burden of competing with recent immigrants. The results of empirical studies on this issue are once again conflicting. Some find a small negative impact of immigration on African American employment and wages, others find the opposite result, and the rest find no effect at all.16 Hence, it is not clear, a priori, what sign the coefficient of BLACK will take. On the other hand, the coefficient of HISPANIC is expected to be negative. While the Hispanic population of the United States also has skills similar to those of the immigrants, this ethnic group has consistently taken a strong proimmigrant stand because of non-economic considerations such as family reunification, etc.17

The presence of immigrants in a district heightens the conflicting forces that a legislator should take into account when deciding on a position on immigration issues. On the one hand as the relative size of the immigrant population in her district increases, a legislator is more likely to tender a pro-immigration vote because of the increasing importance of factors such as family reunification, loyalty to ex-compatriots, and economic dynamism produced by immigrants. On the other hand, new immigrants might have skills similar to those of older immigrants, xenophobic fears might be ignited, and local government budgets might be strained. These factors may make legislators more likely to vote to restrict immigration.

In order to try to proxy these complex forces, two variables are included in the model. FORCIT measures the percentage of the district’s citizens that were born abroad and NEWIMM, represents the percentage of the state population made up of legal immigrants that arrived during 1995.18 The coefficient of FORCIT is expected to be negative as foreign-born U.S. citizens are likely to be pro-immigrant and to prefer a representative that shares this view. On the other hand, since newly arrived immigrants do not have the right to vote most legislators do not feel compelled to defend their interests. Moreover, natives may resent new immigrants since they tend to be poor and are less likely to be assimilated into society. Consequently, as NEWIMM increases, the likelihood that a legislator would vote for INIA is expected to increase.19

Contributions from Lobbying Groups

Although the impact of immigration on native wages and employment does not appear to be large, union leaders have consistently taken an anti-immigration position.20 As Jones [1992] notes, the threat of cheap labor and the past use of immigrants as strike-breakers have sealed the unions’ position on immigration. The variable LABPAC measures the amount of money received by each legislator from labor PACs. Since representatives must pay attention to the special interest groups that finance their campaigns, the probability of a pro-INIA vote is expected to increase with LABPAC.

Following Jacobson [1978; 1985], several authors have discussed the potential endogeneity of campaign contributions.21 They note that a single-equation probit model would over-estimate the effect of PAC money on the representative’s vote if PACs give more money to candidates who take the ‘right’ position on issues of interest to them.

A two-stage approach is employed in this paper in order to correct for the upward bias caused by the endogeneity of campaign contributions. First, a contributions equation is estimated, where money received from labor PACs is regressed on various explanatory variables, including measures of seniority and legislative power. Since campaign contributions are subject to a lower limit of zero, the tobit functional form is employed to estimate the first equation. Labor PACs were found to give more money to Democrats, to representatives from more unionized districts, to women, to incumbents, and to those whose opponents had large campaign chests. Representatives who won by larger margins in the previous election and those with post-graduate degrees received fewer contributions from Labor PACs. Contrary to expectations, membership in certain key committees did not appear to have a significant impact on the amount of money received from labor PACs.22 In the second stage, the predicted contributions from labor PACs (ESLABPAC) are used to replace actual contributions as an explanatory variable in the probit equation.


Voting studies have traditionally used ideological rating scales developed by independent organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Democratic Action, and theNational Journal in order to measure legislator ideology. Given that the business community has traditionally been pro-immigrant, it is expected that pro-business legislators are likely to vote against restrictive immigration policies. The scale provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, COC, appears to be a good proxy for the business ideology of legislators and hence was used in the analysis. The COC score for each member represents the “cumulative percentage of ‘right’ votes out of total votes cast by that member on Chamber-selected issues,” where `right votes’ are votes in accordance with the interests of the members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The coefficient of COC is expected to have a negative sign.

The public choice literature has identified a problem with the use of the indices developed by interest groups as a proxy for legislator’s ideology. These rating scales are based on the past voting record of the legislators; however, the votes cast by them were in all probability influenced by both their own ideology and the interests of their constituents. Therefore, these rating scales are imperfect measures of ideology since they surely also incorporate the constituents’ interests. Kalt and Zupan [1984] propose that one way to isolate the “pure” ideology component of the rating scale is to regress these ratings on a set of constituent characteristics. Following this procedure two new variables were created, ESCONIN and ESPUREID, by regressing the COC ratings on a set of constituent characteristics.23 The predicted value for each legislator, ESCONIN, provides a proxy for the constituents interests; while the residual, ESPUREID, depicts the part of the voting record of the legislator that cannot be explained by constituents’ interests and therefore could be considered to be an indicator of “pure” ideology.IA ESCONIN and ESPUREID were used in one of the regressions instead of COC and their expected signs are negative since the more pro-business are their constituents or “pure” ideology, the more likely that legislators would vote against INIA.

In recent years, Republicans have been leading the charge against immigration. Hence, political party can be used as a proxy for the ideological position of legislators with respect to immigration. Unfortunately, party affiliation is highly correlated with some of the other explanatory variables. For example, the raw correlation coefficient between PARTY and COC equals 0.90. Therefore, PARTY was not included in the probit estimation of equation (1).25 However, it was included as an explanatory variable in predicting both ESLABPAC and ESCONIN.

The last variable included in the analysis,FOREIGN, is a dummy variable that is set to a value of one when the legislator was born abroad, and zero otherwise. This variable intends to capture the influence of legislators’ place of birth on their voting. Dummy variables depicting representatives’ ethnicity could also be used but these variables are highly correlated with the ethnic composition of the congressional districts.26


Probit analysis was used to estimate the impact of the independent variables described above on the U.S. House of Representatives vote on INIA.27 Table 1 provides the means and standard deviations for all the independent variables, while Table 2 presents the results of three estimations of equation (1). Model 1 includes all the independent variables. In Model 2, ESLABPAC was substituted for LABPAC to address the endogeneity problem discussed in the previous section. Model 3 is similar to Model 2 but in this model the COC rating is replaced by the variables ESCONIN and ESPUREID, that were derived following the Kalt and Zupan [1984] methodology.

The results of the probit estimation are quite good. The models correctly predict 91 percent of the INIA votes. The Maddala, Cragg-Uhler, and McFadden R-Square statistics range from 0.54 to 0.78. In addition to presenting the coefficients and their t-ratios, and in order to enhance the interpretation of the numerical value of these coefficients, Table 2 also provides the elasticities at means for all the independent variables.28 Most coefficients fit the a priori expectations very well.

The political and economic interests of constituents were important determinants of the INIA vote. Representatives from districts with a high percentage of employees in low-skill industries were more likely to support immigration restrictions. The opposite was true of representatives from districts with a large fraction of workers in high-skill occupations.

The minority composition of the district was also significant. As expected, districts with higher numbers of Hispanics were more likely to have a legislator that opposed INIA. Contrary to expectation, the coefficient of BLACK was negative and significant in two of the three models presented here. Although public perception indicates that immigrants are likely to hurt the employment opportunities of African Americans, legislators from districts with larger African American populations were more likely to oppose INIA. Although this result runs against conventional wisdom, it is not entirely surprising since empirical studies have not been conclusive about the impact of immigrants on the job prospects of African Americans. Furthermore, conventional wisdom might actually run against reality in this case. As Cummings and Lambert [1997] show, African Americans are not any more likely to be prejudiced against newly arriving Hispanic and Asian immigrants than the Anglo majority. Indeed, they point out that African Americans and Anglo-Americans have remarkably similar attitudes towards the new (largely Hispanic or Asian) immigrants.

Surprisingly, the proxies for economic insecurity, UNEMP and WAGECH, did not appear to influence representatives’ voting behavior. It could be speculated that this indicates that the INIA vote was influenced more by public perceptions, ideology, and special interest politics rather than the actual threat of immigrants to the job market opportunities of natives. However, this interpretation should be treated with caution since UNEMP and WAGECH are not district, but state level measures; hence these measures may have insufficient variation. The capital-labor ratio, which is statistically insignificant as well, may also be subject to the same problem.

Campaign contributions emerged as a significant determinant of the INIA vote. As the amount of money received from labor PACs increased, legislators took a more hawkish position with respect to immigration, supporting the traditional anti-immigration stand of unions. This result did not change even after the endogeneity of campaign contributions was addressed with the substitution of ESLA.BPAC for LABPAC in Models 2 and 3. This result is analogous to Stratmann [1991] who uses a simultaneous probit-tobit method and finds that PAC contributions have a significant impact on congressional voting

Both immigration variables were also significant. As the district’s share of foreign-born citizens increased, so did the probability that its representative would oppose INIA. Conversely, as the number of new immigrants in a state increased, legislators were more likely to support tighter immigration restrictions.

Undoubtedly the most surprising result of the analysis is the one dealing with ideology. The COC coefficient was highly significant but with an unexpected sign: pro-business legislators were more likely to vote to restrict immigration. As discussed earlier, the business community typically has been pro-immigration, but it appears that in the INIA vote, those legislators who traditionally support business initiatives were strongly in favor of INIA. Several possible explanations for this finding can be advanced. First, social conservatives within the Republican Party took a very strong stand against immigration. Since many pro-business legislators are also social conservatives, many legislators that traditionally would have supported immigration opted to toe the party line and vote for INIA this time.29 Secondly, the original immigration initiatives that were debated in the 104th Congress included sweeping new limits on legal immigration as well as illegal immigration. It could be argued that business interests were less likely to oppose INIA as it was a watered down version of the original initiative. According to this argument, pro-business legislators accepted the restrictions imposed by INIA as the lesser evil, hoping to ward off harsher initiatives in the future.

The isolation of the “pure” ideology measure from the constituents’ interests did not change the unexpected result of the voting by pro-business legislators. Both the variable measuring those interests, CONST, and the indicator of “pure ideology”, PUREID, turned out to be significant and their coefficients have a positive sign. This means that as constituencies and/or legislators become more pro-business, they are more likely to vote in favor of INIA.

Finally, the dummy variable FOREIGN turned out to be statistically insignificant, contrary to our a priori expectations. Legislators’ place of birth did not appear to influence their voting on INIA.


All the forces that have been identified by the public choice literature as determinants of legislator voting played an important role on the INIA vote. The political and economic interests of their constituents, contributions from labor PACs, and ideological preferences determined the votes by members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Three results merit special attention. First, the most curious finding of this study is that pro-business legislators were more likely to approve passage of INIA. This appears to run against the general interests of the business community, which tends to benefit from immigrant workers. We speculate that this may have been a preemptive move designed to prevent consideration of even more restrictive bills. A way to test this hypothesis is to study voting behavior on all the amendments, deletions, and conference reports that took place during the development of INIA in the 104th Congress. It would be expected that pro-business legislators would be more likely to oppose the more draconian initiatives that were debated earlier in the legislative process.

In most empirical studies immigrants are found to have a very small impact on the economic opportunities of natives. Yet, this study finds that as the percentage of low-skilled (high-skilled) workers increased (decreased), so did the probability of a pro-INIA vote. On the other hand the measures of economic welfare such as the unemployment rate and the percentage change in wages proved to be statistically insignificant. In this case perception appears to have mattered more than reality.

The results of the paper suggest that given present demographic trends, the current anti-immigrant bias might be short-lived. Districts with large numbers of Hispanics and/or African Americans appear to elect pro-immigrant legislators. As these minority groups become larger, more pro-immigrant legislators are likely to be voted into office. In addition, the presence of foreign-born citizens in a district was shown to make legislators more likely to tender a pro-immigration vote. If a large number of the immigrants that have arrived in the nation since 1980 eventually become U.S. citizens, the current anti-immigrant tide may be stopped and perhaps reversed. In recent years the cost-benefit calculation of becoming an U.S. citizen has changed. The relative benefits have increased as recent reforms have restricted access to several government programs to U.S. citizens only. On the other hand, many nations are changing their laws to allow their citizens living in the United States to adopt U.S. citizenship without losing their nationality. Foreign-born permanent residents are responding to these changes by adopting U.S. citizenship in record numbers. The future of immigration policy in the United States may depend on the political clout of these foreign-born citizens.


The authors thank John H. Huston for his help with econometric issues. We wish to acknowledge the very helpful comments of two anonymous referees and the editor of this Journal.

1. The only exception is emergency medical benefits.

2. Congress passed this bill after merging it with the Omnibus Spending Bill (HR 3610-PL 104-208). President Clinton signed the bill on 30 September 1996.

3. See Smith and Edmonston [19971 and Shughart, Tollison and Kimenyi [1986] for reviews of the major immigration bills approved by Congress since 1882.

4. Carney [1996] presents a summary of the over 70 provisions included in this bill.

5. Bender [1988], Hird [1993], Kahane [1996], Kamdar and Gonzalez [1997], Peltzman [1984], and Nollen and Iglarsh [1990], among others, present examples of analysis of legislative voting on other issues.

6. Although the U.S. House of Representatives approved this bill, it later died in a conference committee. However, this bill surfaced again in the next legislative session and it became the basis of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).

7. Marks [19921 discusses the “consumption motive” in legislative voting.

8. In the sample used in this study there were 305 votes in favor of INIA and 120 against it. Three legislators who voted against INIA were dropped from the sample due to missing data. Of the 305 votes in favor of INIA 222 votes were cast by Republicans and 83 by Democrats.

9. Smith and Edmonston [1997] are an example of the former, while Altonji and Card [1991] obtain the opposite result. Borjas [1994] presents a authoritative summary of the literature on this topic.

10. Hunt [1997] reports that according to a Wall Street Journal poll respondents with lower incomes or those in low-skilled occupations were the ones most likely to favor restrictions on immigration. For example, while only 34 percent of respondents with incomes above $75,000 believe that immigration has a negative impact, this percentage increases to 58 percent for respondents earning less than $20,000.

11. The industries included in this group are agriculture, construction, and non-durable manufacturing.

12. It could be speculated that high-skilled individuals are more likely to have attended college and

taken economics courses, and therefore better understand the effects of immigration. Maybe, after all, our teaching makes a difference!

13. The following occupations are included in this group: executive, administrative, and managerial, professionals, and technicians and related support occupations.

14. Simon, Moore and Sullivan [1993] and Borjas [1990], among others, present evaluations of the effects of immigration on unemployment.

15. See Goldin [1994] for a description of the changing stand of rural America during the 1890-1921 immigration battles.

16. See Borjas [1990], LaLonde and Topel [1991], Smith and Edmonston [1997], and Winegarden and Khor [1991] for some examples of empirical studies.

17. Preliminary results provided by Hunt (1997] indicate that Hispanics have an tremendously positive view of immigration.

18. Data on new immigrants is not available by congressional district; hence state level data is used.

19. The number of undocumented workers per state could also be used as a variable. Unfortunately these statistics present two main problems: First, an accurate count of the number of undocumented workers is impossible by the nature of their immigration status. The estimates that exist at the national level vary widely and it is impossible to discern which are correct. Secondly, the studies that have tried to allocate the national estimates of undocumented workers by state such as Fernandez and Robinson [1994], generally do this as a function of the distribution of foreign-born residents. This variable is therefore highly correlated to FORCIT.

20. Briggs [1984] discusses the relationship between immigration policy and the U.S. labor movement.

21. Chappell [1981; 1982], Kau, Keenan and Rubin [1982], Stratmann [1991; 1995], Wilhite and Theilmann [1987] and Welch [1981; 1982] have studied the endogeneity of campaign contributions.

22. The first stage results are as follows, with the t-statistics in parentheses:

ESLABPAC =1.68 + 0.09 COMMITTEE- 2.05 PARTY+ 0.0004 YEAROFF – 0.01 MARGIN+ 0.03 UNION

23. The results may be summarized by the following equation, with the t-statistics in parentheses

24. While several authors have used this approach (see Carson and Oppenheimer [1984] and Hird [1993]), the methodology has been not been without critics in the literature. Peltzman [1984] and Bender and Lott [1996], among others, have criticized the use of residuals as proxies for ideological persuasion, arguing that the residuals are likely to be capturing left-out constituency interest variables and not the ideology of legislators.

25. If PARTY is included in the second-stage equations, its coefficient is statistically insignificant due to multicollinearity problems.

26. If these dummy variables are used instead of the ethnic composition of the districts, the results of the empirical analysis do not change.

27. The INIA vote studied is the one that took place on September 25, 1996 in which the House voted to adopt the conference report of the immigration bill (H.R. 2202). As stated earlier, it became law on September 28 when the House approved the Fiscal 1997 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act.

28. For example, in any of the models a one-percent increase in LSKIND would produce a 0.17 percent increase in the probability of a vote in favor of INIA.

29. Although Congressional Republicans were carrying the anti-immigrant banner, several prominent Republicans opposed this rhetoric. Jack Kemp and George W. Bush, among others, spoke against draconian immigration policies.


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Jorge G. Gonzalez

Trinity University

Nipoli Kamdar

Trinity University

Jorge G. Gonzalez: Economics Department, Trinity University, 715 Stadium Drive, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200. E-mail:

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