US Immigration Policy
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The United States is in the middle of a national debate over immigration policy and the outcomes of immigrant incorporation. The debate is not just taking place in the U.S. Congress, which has the power and responsibility to shape policy, but also in national politics, in state legislatures, and in community organizing. In some form, the current debate began in the early 1990s, but has achieved a new urgency in the last several years. Congress has debated significant legislative changes to immigration policy in 2005, 2006, and 2007, but these debates ended inconclusively which had the effect of raising even more the salience of immigration as a policy issue in the public's mind. Congress will likely again debate immigration reform in 2009. Our goal in this class is to analyze what it will take for Congress to craft a “comprehensive” immigration reform. Although the need for comprehensive reform is debated (the status quo works for many in the society), the high level of popular dissatisfaction with current policies, the pressures put on the nation by demands for immigrant labor, and the high number of unauthorized migrants resident in the United States demonstrate the need for a thorough review of current policies.
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