Study: Illegal immigrants not deterred by threat of arrest

Mexicans intending to cross the border illegally into the US are not significantly deterred by threats of arrest or the severity of possible punishment – the primary method for dealing with illegal immigration in the US – according to a new study of potential migrants.

Concerns about punishment and arrest are typically less influential in the decision to cross the border than other economic and non-economic factors, said a study published Thursday in the August issue of the American Sociological Review.

Those factors that had a greater influence on whether someone would consider crossing the border illegally include: the prevalence of undocumented migrants in a community, perceptions of US legal authority and the perception of job availability in Mexico.