Immigration - United States Policy on Immigration and Border Security: a Dossier
What is a Dossier?Via the dossiers, we try to highlight the priorities of the US Government with regard to specific foreign policy policy issues. We provide statements by U.S. public officials, but also reports, hearings, and journal articles.
We are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea—the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That’s why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here…The future is ours to win. But to get there, we cannot stand still." -President Barack Obama
Major US Government Statements
A select list of major statements with policy value.
Latest US Government Statements
The most recent statements in reverse chronological order.
-03/07/13 U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-02/27/13 Brief History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Efforts in the 109th and 110th Congresses to Inform Policy Discussion in the 113th Congress Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-12/17/12 Permanent Legal Immigration to the United States: Policy Overview Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-12/13/12 Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-09/10/12 Arizona v. United States: A Limited Role for States in Immigration Enforcement Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-09/10/12 Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-08/31/12 Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-05/11/12 Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-05/10/12 Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement: Performance Measures Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-01/12/12 Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-09/30/11 Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 112th Congress Source: CRS Report for Congress.
06/30/11 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-06/29/11 Asylum and "Credible Fear" Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy Source: CRS Report for Congress.
“The DREAM Act”. Source: Senate Committee on the Judiciary, June 28, 2011.
-06/07/11 State Efforts to Deter Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Analysis of Arizona's S.B. 1070 Source: CRS Report for Congress.
-06/02/11 Border Security: CRS Experts Source: CRS Report for Congress.
Blueprint for Building a 21st Century Immigration System (pdf) The Blueprint summarizes the progress made in securing our borders, enforcing our laws, and improving our legal immigration system; discusses the economic benefits of immigration reform; and outlines the President’s vision of a 21st century immigration policy.
-04/06/11 Asylum and "Credible Fear" Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy Source: CRS Report for Congress
-09/17/10 Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law Source: CRS Report for Congress
-08/12/10 Birthright Citizenship Under the 14th Amendment of Persons Born in the United States to Alien Parents Source: CRS Report for Congress
- 02/02/10 Alien Legalization and Adjustment of Status: A Primer Source: CRS Report for Congress
The immigrant Muslim American at the boundary of insider and outsider: representations of Faisal Shahzad as "homegrown" terrorist. Angie Chuang and Robin Chin Roemer, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Spring 2013, pp. 89-107. "Studies of Orientalized portrayals of Muslims have generally been distinct from studies on the Othering of immigrant Americans. This study employs concepts of insider/outsider status, applying theories of Orientalism and representations of the Other to newspaper coverage of the Muslim and Pakistani American perpetrator of the 2010 attempted Times Square bombing. Newspapers constructed a seemingly contradictory representation of Faisal Shahzad, as the apparent insider/American who becomes the alienated outsider/Other. This portrayal of the Orientalized insider establishes an emerging discourse on the "homegrown" terrorist who exists at the boundary of self and Other." READ MORE
With a Little Help from Our Feds: Understanding State Immigration Enforcement Policy Adoption in American Federalism. , Heather M. Creek, Stephen Yoder, Policy Studies Journal, November 2012, pp. 674-697. "Since 2001, state governments have adopted 287(g) cooperative immigration enforcement agreements with the federal government that authorize their law enforcement personnel to assist in detaining violators of civil federal immigration law. Employing a theoretical framework drawn from theories of policy adoption, intergovernmental relations, and immigration research, we test which state-level political, sociodemographic, geographic, and economic determinants influence states to enter into such a cooperative agreement. In addition to finding that the partisanship of a state's governor, a state's effort on public welfare, and an increase in a state's percentage of Hispanics are related to the adoption of a cooperative immigration enforcement policy, we found evidence of 'steam valve federalism' working not at the state level as Spiro (1997) first theorized but at the local level. When a state's localities adopt immigration enforcement agreements with the federal government, the state itself is far less likely to adopt their own. Understanding the reasons states would adopt this type of policy sheds light on current trends in state immigration policy and their effect on future state/federal intergovernmental relations." READ MORE
Economic Costs, Economic Benefits, and Attitudes Toward Immigrants and Immigration. Victoria M. Esses, Paula M. Brochu, Karen R. Dickson, Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, December 2012, pp. 133–137. "Perceptions of economic costs and benefits play an important role in determining attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. The Unified Instrumental Model of Group Conflict, and the correlational and experimental research supporting it, indicate that when immigrants are seen as competing with members of the host society for economic resources, negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration result. Yet measures taken to reduce this perceived competition and threat can have unforeseen consequences. Recent bills intended to reduce illegal immigration in U.S. states, such as Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 and Georgia's House Bill 87, have been framed by supporters as intended to reduce the economic costs of illegal immigration. Their consequences, however, have been increased economic hardship in the form of economic boycotts and lost farm production. We suggest that recognizing the mutual dependency between immigrants and members of host societies may be a first step in reducing support for harsh measures against illegal immigration, to the benefit of all. Economic factors play an important role in determining attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. Anecdotally, in times of economic hardship, one is particularly likely to hear the claim that immigrants take jobs and threaten the economic resources of members of host communities. Our research over the past decade has confirmed this relation between economic concerns and negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration, using both correlational and experimental methods. Our correlational work has demonstrated that individuals who are especially likely to see immigrants as competing with members of the host society for jobs and material resources—in other words, individuals who are especially likely to see the relation between immigrants and nonimmigrants as zero-sum—are particularly likely to hold negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration." READ MORE
Making Migrant–Government Partnerships Work: Insights from the Logic of Collective Action. Gustavo A. Flores-Macias, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2012, pp. 417-443. The author "analyzes government efforts to attract collective remittances for development. Building on insights from the literature on collective action and illustrating with the cases of Mexico and El Salvador, he concludes that leadership incentives, positive inducements in the form of private good, and certain trust-enhancing rules play a key role in the success of government–migrant partnerships." READ MORE
Racial and Ethnic Diversity Goes Local: Charting Change in American Communities Over Three Decades. Barrett A. Lee, John Iceland, Gregory Sharp, The Pennsylvania State University, September 2012, var. pages. "We find that almost all communities—whether large immigrant gateways or small towns in the nation’s heartland—have grown more diverse. However, the data show a wide range of diversity pro les, from predominantly white communities (a shrinking number) to minority-majority and no-majority ones (an increasing number). The pace of local diversity gains, as well as shifts in racial-ethnic composition, has similarly varied." READ MORE
Passing the Test. James Angelos, World Policy Journal, Spring 2012, var. pages. "Across Europe, countries are passing laws requiring foreign spouses to possess language skills before joining their husbands or wives—creating ever more challenging barriers. James Angelos details the challenges facing Europe’s marriage immigrants, showing how these linguistic hurdles break families apart and alienate migrants in their new homes." READ MORE
The Cultural Divide in Europe: Migration, Multiculturalism, and Political Trust. Lauren McLaren, World Politics, April 2012, pp. 199-241. "One of the defining features of modern states is their incorporation of notions of political and social community based on shared language, history, and myths. However, large numbers of citizens in modern states have come to believe their national communities are under threat from several modern forces, including immigration. Using the European Social Survey (2002-9), this article explores the extent to which perceived threats posed by large-scale immigration undermine national political communities by reducing trust in national politicians and political institutions. The findings indicate that even after controlling for other predictors of trust in the political system, concerns about the effect of immigration on the national community have an impact on trust in politics. Moreover, having a lengthy postwar history with mass immigration mediates this effect, while the potentially mobilizing effects of far-right parties on the relationship between concern about immigration and political distrust are somewhat limited." READ MORE
The World in a City: Immigration and America’s Changing Social Fabric. John MacDonald and Robert J. Sampson, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May 2012, pp. 6-15. "The United States in 2012 faces unprecedented challenges brought on by economic crisis and the unrelenting pace of globalization and technological change. We are perhaps unique as a nation, however, in the changes wrought by continuing population diversification and foreign immigration from countries across the globe. Indeed, the United States is currently one of the most diverse nations on earth, which spells to some observers coming ruin and to others unprecedented renewal. Whichever position one might take, there can be little doubt that immigration has radically changed the nation’s composition." READ MORE
Why Some Immigrant Neighborhoods Are Safer than Others: Divergent Findings from Los Angeles and Chicago. Charis E. Kubrin, Hiromi Ishizawa, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May 2012, pp. 148-173. “Contrary to popular opinion, scholarly research has documented that immigrant communities are some of the safest places around. Studies repeatedly find that immigrant concentration is either negatively associated with neighborhood crime rates or not related to crime at all. But are immigrant neighborhoods always safer places? How does the larger community context within which immigrant neighborhoods are situated condition the immigration-crime relationship? Building on the existing literature, this study examines the relationship between immigrant concentration and violent crime across neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Chicago—two cities with significant and diverse immigrant populations. Of particular interest is whether neighborhoods with high levels of immigrant concentration that are situated within larger immigrant communities are especially likely to enjoy reduced crime rates. This was found to be the case in Chicago but not in Los Angeles, where neighborhoods with greater levels of immigrant concentration experienced higher, not lower, violent crime rates when located within larger immigrant communities. We speculate on the various factors that may account for the divergent findings.” READ MORE
America’s Demographic Future. Joel Kotkin; Erika Ozuna, Cato Journal, Winter 2012, pp. 55-69. “Perhaps nothing has more defined America and its promise than immigration. In the future, immigration and the consequent development of what Walt Whitman called "a race of races" will remain one of the country's greatest assets in the decades to come. Nationwide, there has been a declining number of unauthorized immigrants living in the US, a decrease of 1 million from 2007. But beyond specific industries, immigration may prove more important in the future than in the past. The developed world is entering an unprecedented era of largely unexpected demographic change. To the Baby Boomer generation, brought up on fears of overpopulation promoted in books such as Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb, the idea of there being too few people seems almost absurd. Global population growth rates of 2% in the 1960s have dropped to less than half that rate, and past projections of the number of earth's human residents in 2000 overshot the mark by more than 200 million.” READ MORE
Immigration Conflict : Should states crack down on unlawful aliens? Kenneth Jost, CQ Researcher, March 9, 2012, pp. 229-252. “Americans are very concerned about illegal immigration but ambivalent about what to do about it — especially the 11 million aliens currently in the United States illegally. Frustrated with the federal government's failure to secure the borders, several states passed laws allowing state and local police to check the immigration status of suspected unlawful aliens. Civil rights organizations warn the laws will result in ethnic profiling of Latinos. The Obama administration is suing to block several of the laws for infringing on federal prerogatives. Advocates of tougher enforcement say undocumented workers are taking jobs from U.S. citizens, but many business and agricultural groups say migrant workers are needed to fill jobs unattractive to U.S. workers. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law providing stiff penalties for employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens. Now, the justices are preparing to hear arguments on the controversial, new Arizona law that inspired other states to crack down on illegal immigration.” READ MORE
Hispanic Panic. Beth Reinhard and Jim O'Sullivan, The National Journal, December 15, 2011, var. pp. "It’s the sleeper issue of the 2012 election. Again and again, debate over illegal immigration has punctuated a campaign billed as a referendum on the economy. Acting like candidates for president of their local Minuteman chapter, the contenders for the GOP nomination have been competing to out-vigilante each other, rousing some ardent conservatives. But drill down into the polling, spend an afternoon in Perry, or consider Newt Gingrich’s surge in the polls even after he proposed an immigration policy that rivals tarred as “amnesty,” and it becomes clear that Republican voters’ views are more nuanced. What’s more, hard-line rhetoric in recent elections has alienated Latino voters at a time when their power to swing elections is only growing." READ MORE
Immigration, Globalization, and Unemployment Benefits in Developed EU States. Christine S. Lipsmeyer and Ling Zhu, American Journal of Political Science, July 2011, pp. 647-664. "At a time of mounting concern about how traditional welfare states will react to globalization, there has been increasing interest in specifying how global economic forces affect welfare policies in industrialized states. Building on theories from the political economy and comparative institutional literatures, we analyze the influence of an important aspect of globalization—the flow of immigration. Focusing on states in the European Union, we present a theoretical model that illustrates the interactive relationships between immigration, EU labor market integration, and domestic institutions. Our findings highlight how immigration in conjunction with domestic political institutions affects unemployment provisions, while labor market integrative forces remain in the background. The story of immigration and unemployment compensation in the EU is less about the opening of borders and the market forces of integration and more about the domestic political pressures." READ MORE
Reconsidering US Immigration Reform: The Temporal Principle of Citizenship Elizabeth F Cohen, Perspectives on Politics, Sep 2011, pp. 575-583. "The uncertain political status of America's millions of undocumented immigrants and their children has exposed deep and ongoing disagreement about how US citizenship should be accorded to foreign-born persons. I identify the principle of jus temporis, a law of measured calendrical time, that has worked in concert with jus soli and consent to construct citizenship law since the nation's founding. Jus temporis translates measured durations of time such as "time in residence" or "time worked" into entitlement to rights and status. It creates temporal algorithms in which measured calendrical time plus additional variables (e.g., physical presence, education, or behavior) equals consent to citizenship. I explore recent scholarly references to temporal principles and trace the history of how jus temporis was invoked by the nation's first Supreme Court jurisprudence on citizenship and the first Congressional debates about immigration and naturalization. Scholarly convergence on the principle of jus temporis as well as its originalist pedigree imbue this principle with the potential to resolve contemporary disagreements about the rights and status of foreign-born persons in the US." READ MORE
The Wrong and the Right: A Comparative Analysis of 'Anti-Immigration' and 'Far Right' Parties, Joost van Spanje, Government and Opposition, July 2011, pp. 293–320. "Across Western Europe, parties have emerged that are both right wing and in favour of restrictions on immigration. These parties are commonly referred to in terms of either ideology (e.g. 'far right') or policy ('anti-immigration'). This article compares far right parties, selected on the basis of their ideologies, and anti-immigration parties, selected based on their immigration policies. I argue and empirically demonstrate that, contrary to what the extant literature suggests, these sets of parties are not identical. I point out similarities and differences, showing why it is useful to distinguish between these two types of party. The article concludes by discussing the relevance of these differences to the relevant literature." READ MORE
The Costs and Benefits of Immigration. Darrell West, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. pp. 427-443 "Darrell M. West seeks to reframe the public debate over immigration policy by arguing that the benefits of immigration are much broader than popularly imagined and the costs more confined. He contends that in spite of legitimate fear and anxiety over illegal immigration, immigrants bring a 'brain gain' of innovation and creativity that outweighs real or imagined costs." READ MORE
Education for inclusion: strategies to reduce immigrant marginalisation in Europe and the U.S. Source: EPC, June 27, 2011.
The Geography of Immigrant Skills: Educational Profiles of Metropolitan Areas. Immigration, Jobs and the Economy, Demographics, Ethnicity. Source: The Brookings Institution, June 2011.
Why Go to France or Germany, if You Could as Well Go to the UK or the US? Selective Features of Immigration to the EU 'Big Three' and the United States. Wido Geis, Silke Uebelmesser, Martin Werding, JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, July 2011, pp. 767–796. "Building on a new data set which is constructed from a combination of national micro-data bases, we highlight differences in the structure of migrants to four countries – namely, France, Germany, the UK and the US – which receive a substantial share of all immigrants to the OECD world. Looking at immigrants by source country, we illustrate the important role of distance, both geographical and cultural, immigration policies and migrant networks. Differentiating immigrants by their educational attainments, we observe interesting patterns in the skill composition, employment opportunities and wages of migrants to the different destination countries. Focusing on migration between the four countries in our data set, we find that migration within western Europe is small and rather balanced in terms of skill structures, while there appears to be a brain drain from Europe to the US." READ MORE
The Fragile Success of School Reform in the Bronx. Jonathan Mahler, New York Times Magazine, April 2011, var. pages. "Ramón González’s middle school is a model for how an empowered principal can transform a troubled school, but the forces of reform are now working against him." READ MORE
Immigration: The New American Dilemma. Roger Waldinger, Daedalus, Spring 2011, pp. 215-225. "The American dilemma was once distinctively American, rooted in the particular history of the United States and in the conflict between liberal principles and exclusionary practice. The contemporary American dilemma takes a different form, arising from the challenges that emerge when international migration confronts the liberal nation-state. Solving the earlier dilemma called for extending and deepening citizenship so that it would be fully shared by all Americans. However, that more robust citizenship is only for Americans, who alone can cross U.S. borders as they please. Consequently, rights stop at the national boundary, where the admission of foreigners is controlled and restricted. Because entries are rationed, migration policies select a favored few, creating new forms of de jure inequality that separate citizens from resident aliens and distinguish among resident foreigners by virtue of their right to territorial presence. Thus, the encounter between citizens wanting to preserve their national community and newly arrived foreigners seeking to get ahead yields an inescapable social dilemma, one that America shares with other rich democracies." READ MORE
Affirmative Action: The U.S. Experience in Comparative Perspective. Daniel Sabbagh, Daedalus, Spring 2011, pp. 109-120. "Broadly defined, affirmative action encompasses any measure that allocates resources through a process that takes into account individual membership in underrepresented groups. The goal is to increase the proportion of individuals from those groups in positions from which they have been excluded as a result of state-sanctioned oppression in the past or societal discrimination in the present. A comparative overview of affirmative action regimes reveals that the most direct and controversial variety of affirmative action emerged as a strategy for conflict management in deeply divided societies; that the policy tends to expand in scope, either embracing additional groups, encompassing wider realms for the same groups, or both; and that in countries where the beneficiaries are numerical majorities, affirmative action programs are more extensive and their transformative purpose is unusually explicit." READ MORE
Transatlantic Cooperation on Travelers’ Data Processing: From Sorting Countries to Sorting Individuals. Paul De Hert and Rocco Bellanova, Migration Policy Institute, March 2011, var. pp. This report, the second in a joint project of MPI and the European University Institute examining US and European immigration systems, details the post-9/11 programs and agreements implemented by US and European governments to identify terrorists and serious transnational criminals through the collection and processing of increasing quantities of traveler data. The report analyzes how governments, which once focused their screening primarily on a traveler’s nationality (“sorting countries”), increasingly are examining personal characteristics (“sorting individuals”). READ MORE
Effects of the Global Recession on Immigrants across the Transatlantic and on European Immigrant Integration Programs, Elizabeth Collett, Migration Policy Institute, March 2011, var. pp. MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration is releasing companion efforts that examine the global financial downturn’s effects on immigrant integration funding in the European Union and on immigrants on both sides of the Atlantic. In her paper, Immigrant Integration in a Time of Austerity, MPI European Policy Fellow Elizabeth Collett offers fresh analysis of how immigrant integration programs are faring in EU countries with rising debt levels and a new focus on austerity. And in its fourth edited volume, Prioritizing Integration, the Council takes stock of the slowdown’s fallout on migration flows, labor force participation, and immigrant well-being in Europe and the United States. READ MORE
The Enforcers. Fawn Johnson, The National Journal, March 24, 2011, var. pp. The White House, aware that any hopes for comprehensive reform depend on convincing skeptics that the administration is doing all it can to enforce existing laws, touts its record. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano cites the highest level of criminal deportations in history and a sharp increase in workplace audits to ferret out illegal immigrants. “What we have been doing is unprecedented in terms of the actual enforcement lay-down at the border,” she told National Journal. “It’s never been more extensive, and the president intends to sustain that.” But Republican critics, such as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas, accuse the administration of paying lip service to crackdowns. “They clearly don’t want to enforce immigration laws,” he charged in an interview. Against that political backdrop, the upcoming debates over immigration enforcement are almost certain to be contentious. What follows is a look at the state of play with major components of the issue, both in terms of current activity and proposals for change. READ MORE