Fall 2018 - 60840 - PA 388K – Advanced Topics in Public Policy | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Fall 2018 - 60840 - PA 388K – Advanced Topics in Public Policy

U.S. Immigration

The United States is a country of immigrants. However, since its beginnings there has been a tension between earlier and later waves of immigrants. 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 by providing a theoretical review of migration theories followed by a historical overview of the forces and circumstances that shaped our current system. We then focus on Latin American immigration and the unique dynamic between Latin America and the United States. Having laid the historical and theoretical groundwork, the course moves into the area of public policy. We review the effects of immigration on the economy, the labor market, social policies and national security 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 will zero in on the current immigration public policy proposals under the Trump administration.

At the end of the course, students will be prepared to be producers and consumers of immigration policy analyses. Students will also have a particular expertise in the policy of sub-national immigration affairs, as well as the specific immigration policy issue of your choosing.

Requirements and Expectations

Student progress will be evaluated on the basis of performance along three criteria: 

A mid-term examination

A 15-page final research paper on a topic of the student’s choice

Weekly 3-4 page Reflection-Analysis-Papers (RAPs)  


Readings for the course will be underpinned by two core texts: “Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America” by Daniel Tichenor and “New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration,” edited by Douglas Massey. 

Journal articles as well as current immigration studies and review will be posted on the courses website. 


SRH 3.312/3.360