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Immigration Policy: Who Benefits?


  • Fetzer, Joel
  • Waldinger, Roger D


Joel Fetzer undertakes a description of the political basis of the immigration policies under the George W. Bush presidency. He finds that there was not a major difference between the Clinton and Bush administrations on immigration. One exception to this position was the scale of immigration raids and the draconian detentions of migrants. He finds supporters of immigration tend to be in the managerial classes and opponents in the working class. There is also a rising tide of support for immigration reform especially as many Congressional districts have a changing ethnic composition. Fetzer summarizes his talk by noting whom most benefits from “illegal†immigration and who suffers. Roger Waldinger considers the political quandary that immigration legislation faced in the run-up to comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. He describes the various forms of immigrant entry into the US and the national composition of the immigrant population. He proceeds to note cleavages on both the right and left over the question of immigration that produced “strange political bedfellows†: supporters of more open immigration came from the cosmopolitan left and libertarian right as opposed to the unionist left (not all) and nativist right who favor tight immigration restrictions. While the pro-immigrationists were able to pass the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the forces against reform in 2007 were able to scuttle the new proposal. The accompanying audio files provide the complete recording of the two talks.

Suggested Citation

  • Fetzer, Joel & Waldinger, Roger D, 2008. "Immigration Policy: Who Benefits?," Institute for Social Science Research, Working Paper Series qt09x9979k, Institute for Social Science Research, UCLA.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:issres:qt09x9979k

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