Congratulations to Professor Brandyn Churchill! His paper titled, “The Effect of E-Verify Laws on Crime” (with Andrew Dickinson (University of Oregon), Taylor Mackay (University of California-Irvine), and Joseph J. Sabia (San Diego State University)) has been accepted for publication at Industrial and Labor Relations Review – a leading field journal in labour economics with a focus on work and employment relations.
E-Verify laws, which have been adopted by 23 states, require employers to verify whether new employees are eligible to legally work prior to employment. In the main, these laws are designed to reduce employment opportunities for unauthorized immigrants, reduce incentives for their immigration, and increase employment and earnings for low-skilled natives. This study explores the impact of state E-Verify laws on crime. Using agency-by-month data from the 2004 to 2015 National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), we find that the enactment of E-Verify is associated with a 7 percent reduction in property crime incidents involving Hispanic arrestees. This finding was strongest for mandatory, universal E-Verify mandates that extend to private employers and persisted in our examination of data from the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). Supplemental analyses from the Current Population Survey (CPS) suggest two important mechanisms to explain this result: E-Verify-induced increases in the employment of low-skilled natives of Hispanic descent and outmigration of younger Hispanics. We find no evidence that arrests were displaced to nearby U.S. jurisdictions without E-Verify or that violent crime was impacted by E-Verify mandates. Moreover, arrests among African American adults were unaffected by E-Verify laws. The magnitudes of our estimates suggest that the adoption of E-Verify laws averted $491 million in property crime costs to the United States.