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

By David M. Heer | Go to book overview

7 Enforcement of
Immigration Law

The INS, part of the Department of Justice, has the primary responsibility for the enforcement of U.S. immigration law; the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State plays an important supplementary role. In this chapter we look at the role of each agency and examine not only the effectiveness of immigration-law enforcement in the manner in which it is currently being conducted but also the side effects of that enforcement. We also discuss to what extent prior illegal immigration helps an individual become a legal immigrant and the extent to which policies designed to mitigate hardships for undocumented immigrants encourage further illegal immigration.


The Activities of the Bureau of Consular Affairs

The Bureau of Consular Affairs is charged with guaranteeing that no person is granted the privilege of a visa for permanent residence in the United States unless that person is fully qualified under the law. Many persons who enter the United States on a temporary visa, such as a tourist visa, abuse that visa, overstaying the time they are legally allowed; a number of these visa abusers desire to remain in the United States more or less permanently. The Bureau of Consular Affairs is also charged to minimize such abuse by denying temporary visas to persons likely to take advantage of the privileges afforded by a temporary visa to remain and work in the United States illegally. To this end an official of the Bureau of Consular Affairs must interview each applicant for a nonimmigrant visa.

How well does the bureau perform its duties? Perhaps the most comprehensive survey of this question has been attempted by New York Times reporter John Crewdson in his 1983 book The Tarnished Door. Crewdson examines the whole problem of enforcement of immigration law by both the INS and the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Crewdson's report on the work of the Bureau of Consular Affairs is startling to anyone who takes for granted the consular officials' conscientious performance of duty.1 Crewdson focuses his attention on the tremendous pressures consular officials are under to grant temporary visas to visit the United

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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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