In the last few weeks, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Katia have cut paths of destruction in the Caribbean, Mexico and the U.S.
While recovery and reconstruction will be an immense effort in Houston and Miami, it will likely be slower in poorer and smaller countries outside the U.S. There, many people suffering from the aftermath of these storms may eventually choose to move elsewhere. How much new immigration can the U.S. expect in response to what may be the most destructive hurricane season the Americas has ever seen?
In new research, we turn to a related question: When people are hit by natural disasters, is international migration one way in which they cope with the aftermath? The answer isn’t obvious, but our data suggest that they do, under certain circumstances.
Understanding how immigration responds to major events in other countries helps policymakers understand the consequences of immigration policy. Immigration policies affect whether new migration can happen in response to a disaster overseas, and whether the migration happens via legal or undocumented channels.