Immigration in America's Future: Social Science Findings and the Policy Debate

By David M. Heer | Go to book overview

3
The Influence of
Social Science Findings

In this chapter we examine how social science findings can influence the immigration policy debate. For purposes of our discussion, we take a broad view of social science findings, defining them to include deductive and inductive conclusions and conclusions that combine both deductive and inductive reasoning. We begin by examining the relationship between social science findings and value judgments.


The Relationship Between
Social Science Findings and Value Judgments

In a well-known essay published in 1917, German social scientist Max Weber discussed value judgments in the social sciences.1 His main point was that scientific statements must be completely separate from value judgments, that is, "evaluations of a phenomenon . . . as worthy of either condemnation or approval."2 The social sciences, in other words, must be value-free.

What precisely could be the contribution of social science to questions of policy? Weber wrote:

It seems to me to be possible to establish without a shadow of a doubt that, in the area of practical political value-judgments (especially in the fields of economics and social policy), as soon as guidance for a valued course of action is to be sought, all that an empirical discipline with the means at its disposal can show is (i) the unavoidable means; (ii) the unavoidable side effects; (iii) the resulting conflict of several possible value-judgments with each other in their practical consequences.3

Weber declared that the scope of academic teaching could include both social science and value judgments only if the instructor "imposes on himself the unconditional obligation of rigorously making clear to his audience, and above all to himself, in each individual case (even at the expense of making his lectures boring) which of his statements on that occasion is an assertion of fact, either logically demonstrable or empirically observable, and which a practical value-judgment."4 But Weber also emphasized another point:

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Immigration in America's Future: Social Science Findings and the Policy Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - Overview 1
  • Notes 5
  • 2 - The Volume and Character of Future Immigration: The Values at Stake 7
  • 3 - The Influence of Social Science Findings 17
  • Notes 25
  • 4 - The History of U.S. Immigration Law 27
  • Notes 71
  • 5 - Patterns of Immigration to and from the United States 77
  • Notes 133
  • 6 - Determinants of Immigration 137
  • Notes 159
  • 7 - Enforcement of Immigration Law 161
  • Notes 179
  • 8 - The Impact of Immigration 183
  • Notes 206
  • 9 - Proposals for Change in U.S. Immigration Law 209
  • Notes 222
  • Bibliography 225
  • About the Book and Author 237
  • Index 238
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