The Trump administration recently embraced a proposal to sharply restrict and reorient legal immigration to the U.S. and the analysis of UC Davis economists were broadly featured in the media. UC Davis, through its Migration Research Cluster, is a leading centers of research on the economic and social impacts of migration. Giovanni Peri, Professor and Chair of the UC Davis Economics Department and Director of the Migration Research Cluster, was featured in the New York Times, commenting that "The average American worker is more likely to lose than to gain from immigration restrictions."
Vasil Yasenov, who received his Ph.D. Davis Economics Department in June 2017 and is now a Post-Doctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, was featured on CBS news for his work examining research often cited by the Trump Administration in support of their policies. That research, by Harvard economist George Borjas, studied the effects of the Mariel boatlift, a classic case-study of a migration shock. However, the Borjas study, which is often cited by proponents of more restrictive immigration policies, is controversial. Recent work by Peri and Yasenov illustrates how studies of the boatlift are extremely sensitive to choices made by researchers about the demographic categories studied and choice of control groups. According to Yasenov, "the statistical noise is so large, you can actually find whatever effect you want to find."