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Summer 1 2012 - 94440 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

U.S. Immigration & Citizenship Policies

Instructor(s): Wasem, Ruth E.
Unique Number: 94440
Day & Time: MW 6:00 - 9:45 pm
Room: Washington, DC; exact location to be announced
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.


Section Description

Course will be taught in Washington, DC.

This course synthesizes immigration issues as a multi-tiered debate. It opens with a global perspective on the push-pull forces driving international migration. It reviews the historical underpinnings of U.S. immigration law. In turn, it breaks down current U.S. immigration law and policy into key elements: border control and visa security; legal immigration; documentation and verification; interior immigration enforcement; integration, status, and benefits; and refugees and other humanitarian populations. It delineates the debate for a range of issues, including border security, criminal aliens, worksite enforcement, employment eligibility verification, permanent admissions, temporary workers, legalization, noncitizen eligibility for federal benefits, birthright citizenship, and the role of state and local law enforcement in enforcing immigration laws.

Assignments: Participants will prepare for each session by reading the breadth of materials assigned for the topic. All of the required readings will be available on Blackboard. Participants will engage in a discussion of the readings during the sessions.

Participants will draft several policy memoranda selected from a range of immigration issues that draw on a variety of source material, including:

  • the Immigration and Nationality Act, relevant federal regulations, and administrative guidance;
  • legal decisions of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, federal courts, and other judicatories;
  • census data (e.g., Current Population Survey March Supplement, American Community Survey);
  • administrative data (e.g., annual flow data from the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics);
  • congressional hearings;
  • scholarly research and think tank reports;
    • opinion leader statements; and
    • advocacy group positions.


Over the term, participants will work in teams on a selected immigration issue, for which they will:

  • define the parameters of the specific issue;
  • propose a policy research framework for the issue;
  • assess the scope of the issue (ideally, but necessarily, by using quantitative data);
  • propose a range of options to address the problem; and
  • present an oral and written analysis of the options (e.g., any measureable impacts, pro/cons, cost/benefits, political trade-offs).


Objectives: Participants will gain a deeper understanding of U.S. Immigration and Citizenship policy as well as refine their skills as policy analysts. Successful participants will synthesize complex immigration issues succinctly and analyze controversial immigration issues objectively.