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Abstract

This paper studies the effect of English language deficiency on the wage rates of Mexican immigrants. Using a sample of 81,059 labor market male Mexican Immigrants taken from Census PUMS data, I find that the direct effect of English language deficiency on earnings is virtually nonexistent for immigrants with low education and experience levels. The results show that only immigrants with at least a high school education or some US labor market experience will make less than their immigrant counterparts who speak English very well. The cost of language deficiency to those with some education or experience, however, is large. Indeed, the cost of English language deficiency to those with a college degree who speak no English is enough to completely offset the labor market gains associated with a college degree.

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