Anatomy of a Public Policy: The Reform of Contemporary American Immigration Law

Anatomy of a Public Policy: The Reform of Contemporary American Immigration Law

Anatomy of a Public Policy: The Reform of Contemporary American Immigration Law

Anatomy of a Public Policy: The Reform of Contemporary American Immigration Law

Synopsis

In this thorough examination of current immigration policy LeMay offers special insight into the role played by interest groups and political leadership. He offers unique insights into the interaction of reform policy design and problems of implementation and evaluation.

Excerpt

CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION LAW, 1965

Immigration law has helped determine what sort of a nation we are and will determine what we become. In many ways, immigration shapes what happens to and in America. What sorts of jobs will open and to whom they will be open are impacted by immigration. States have reacted to the recent influx of Asian and Hispanic migrants by passing "English-only" laws, fearing the factionalization in society that could develop here as it has in Canada, or even the extremes of ethnic rivalry such as that racking Bosnia and other parts of the former Soviet bloc. Will the star players of some future Superbowl be Haitians, Mexicans, or some other ethnic group now flooding into the United States? The nature of our society -- its culture, economics, and politics -- is profoundly affected by the immigration process.

In recent years, various forces operating within the United States political system came to feel that the nation was losing control of its borders. It no longer seemed possible to say who could or who could not enter the United States to live and work. Such concern gave rise to a groundswell of public support for efforts to reform the nation's immigration laws. It led to a political movement designed to drastically alter the immigration policy of the United States culminating in several laws passed in the 1980s.

To fully understand the passage of the immigration reform laws of the 1980s, one must grasp the nature of the perceived problems with which these laws were intended to cope. And to fully grasp the nature of the immigration problem, one needs to go back to the last really significant revision of United States immigration law -- the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This law was more commonly known as the Kennedy immigration law. Prior to . . .

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