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Reform and retreat in United States immigration policy

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journal contribution
posted on 05.05.2017, 01:28 by Freeman, Gary P.
Immigration policy in the United States has been dominated by a form of client politics in which the relatively small number of beneficiaries of high migration have been able to prevail against the interests of the diffuse majority who pay the costs. However, in the mid 1990s, Congress introduced tighter controls on illegal immigration and restrictions on access to welfare benefits to migrants who were not citizens. There were also attempts to cut the level of legal immigration. Do these new moves indicate that client politics no longer prevails? The outcome of the push for reform suggests that the answer is no. The moves to cut the legal intake failed. Many of the measures to restrict welfare benefits have been off-set, and efforts to persuade people granted temporary asylum to depart when their visas have run out have met with obstacles. The only change which has endured is the legislation to curtail illegal immigration. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s


Date originally published



People and place, vol. 6, no. 4 (1998), p. 1-11. ISSN 1039-4788