The American way of border control and immigration reform politics

Professor Rey Koslowski, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany
Event date
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
34 Broad Street
Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

If Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress can agree that eleven million unauthorized immigrants are proof of a broken immigration system, why does Congress repeatedly fail to enact comprehensive immigration reform that might stand a chance of reducing illegal migration?

One reason offered by Rey Koslowski is that too many members of Congress are fixated on appropriating money for more Border Patrol Agents and fencing to stop people from crossing the US-Mexico border between ports of entry. Koslowski argues that each additional dollar spent at the border is a dollar that may have been spent elsewhere to a much greater effect in reducing illegal migration, for example, on worksite inspections to enforce employer sanctions against hiring unauthorized migrant workers. After President Obama was reelected with 72% of the Latino vote, Senate Republicans eagerly joined Democrats to forge a comprehensive immigration reform bill but it took throwing $44 billion at border fencing and more Border Patrol agents to secure enough Republican votes to pass the bill with a filibuster-proof majority.

Koslowski argues that this border security overkill is not only bad policy; it failed to attract majority support for comprehensive immigration reform among House Republicans as intended, leaving it unlikely that any immigration legislation will become law before the November 2014 elections.

This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, all welcome