U.S. Immigration Policy in an Age of Rights

by Debra L. DeLaet


Explains the liberalization of U.S. immigration policy in recent decades.

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Cover image for U.S. Immigration Policy in an Age of Rights

January 2000


Pages 168
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/U.S. Public Policy and Administration
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Civil rights rhetoric has been central to the debate over U.S. immigration policy since at least the 1960s. A coalition of interest groups, including churches, ethnic organizations, civil rights groups, and employer associations has played a fundamental role in advancing civil rights norms in the immigration arena. The growing importance of civil rights rhetoric in the debate over U.S. immigration policy, DeLaet asserts, helps to explain the liberalization of U.S. immigration policy in spite of growing evidence that the public opposition to immigration has grown during the same period. In turn, the liberalization of U.S. immigration policy has contributed to rising numbers of both legal and illegal immigrants. Thus, high levels of immigration reflect the basic provisions of current U.S. immigration policy, rather than a loss of governmental control.

Many analysts have suggested that the immigration policy reforms passed by Congress in 1996 marked the beginning of a new era of restrictionism. However, as DeLaet illustrates, the new restrictions adopted in 1996 contain many of the same loopholes as previous legislation, indicating the coalition of interest groups supporting immigration still pose a significant obstacle to efforts to restrict immigration.

Table of Contents

Domestic Politics, Liberal Ideas, and U.S. Immigration PolicyFrom Nativism to Non-Discrimination: U.S. Immigration Policy in Historical PerspectiveDomestic Politics, Liberal Ideas, and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986Domestic Politics, Liberal Ideas, and the Immigration Act of 1990U.S. Immigration Policy in the 1990s: A New Era of Restrictionism?BibliographyIndex



...teachers and students alike should find it extremely useful.—Perspectives on Political Science

Those looking for a decent short summary of recent changes in U.S. immigration policy will find it in DeLaet's volume.—The Law and Politics Book Review

Professor DeLaet has given us a well researched, ambitious, and yet concise book on modern U.S. immigration policy.—International Migration Review

...a significant step in the right direction.—The Review of Politics

For a complex subject such as immigration, this book helps in understanding the forces that face citizens, residents, and those who aspire to somehow join them.—Political Science Quarterly

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