Fall 2013 - 63670 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Fall 2013 - 63670 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

U.S. Immigration

Immigration policy as we know it is at a crossroads.  A comprehensive immigration reform is imminent in 2013.  However, what exactly that reform will be is an unfolding political issue.  This course will rely on the 2013 federal immigration reform proposals as a backdrop to the course.  We will look to the current process within the larger framework of policy and history that has led to this public policy juncture.  

Since it’s founding the U.S. has been a country of immigrants, a country that historically has been a principal receiving country.  However, since its beginnings there has been a love-hate relationship with immigration.  This course delves into the nature of this tumultuous relationship providing a rigorous theoretical, historical, and political overview of immigration in order to inform a more specific and applied public policy understanding.

The course begins with a review of the current status of the federal immigration reform effort.  Once this context is established we step back to consider the bigger theoretical picture of immigration.  We develop an understanding of the motivations and contexts surrounding human movement.  We then move in closer to start filling in the picture of who the “immigrant” is.  Having established a more concrete demographic profile we turn to a historical review of immigration.  A contemporary understanding of immigration is impossible without knowledge of the historical forces and circumstances that shaped our current system.  More specifically, we focus on the historical context of Mexican immigration and the unique dynamic between Mexico and the United States.  Having laid the historical groundwork, the course moves into the area of public policy.  We review the effects of immigration on the economy, the labor market, and social policies before engaging in a discussion of the efforts over the last decade of developing a comprehensive reform and its failure leading state and local governments attempting to regulate immigration.  The final part of the course takes a step back to consider the political implications of immigration through a review of public opinion and finally with an analysis of the political actions of immigrants themselves.   

SRH 3.221/212