Mass Immigration and the National Interest

Mass Immigration and the National Interest

Mass Immigration and the National Interest

Mass Immigration and the National Interest


"U. S. immigration policy has stimulated the largest inflow of immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s of any time in the history of the United States. In this comprehensive analysis of mass immigration, the author shows how the policy was designed essentially by political considerations. Policy neglected immigration's economic impact at a time when the country was entering a fundamental economic adjustment. The United States does not face a labor shortage per se, but a shortage of quality labor. Yet immigration has led to a majority of new workers seeking unskilled jobs in declining sectors in manufacturing and services and has given rebirth to sweatshop enterprises and child labor law violations. For the first time in U. S. history, the author argues, the results of immigration policy are inconsistent with U. S. national interest." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Entering the final decade of the twentieth century, the United States finds itself once more in the throes of a protracted period of mass immigration. Without any public expectation as to what was to occur or participatory public debate over its anticipated merits, the level of immigration slowly began to rise during the mid-1960s; it accelerated in the 1970s; it soared in the 1980s; and, as a consequence of the significant statutory, judicial, and administrative actions taken during that decade, the phenomenon is now institutionalized as a fact of life for the 1990s. Indeed, unless specific policy interventions are invoked to reverse course, it will remain a feature of U.S. society for the indefinite future.

As a concept, the term "mass immigration" implies as its chief characteristic the quantitative size of the annual inflow of foreign-born persons into both the population and labor force of the United States. But also implicit in the usage of the term is disregard for the human capital characteristics of those who enter--especially in relation to the prevailing economic trends and social stresses at work within our nation.

In a world divided into nation states, immigration is a discretionary act of government. Its regulation is linked directly to any nation's claim to sovereignty over a particular land area. Thus, in the case of the United States, the federal government his, since 1891, preempted the exclusive right to determine all matters regarding immigration. the dynamo that has generated the revival of mass immigration since the mid-1960s, and has perpetuated its existence, is the immigration policy set at the national level by the U.S. government.

The entry of foreign-born persons into the U.S. population and labor force has not been a market-driven phenomenon. To the contrary, mass . . .

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