U.S. Immigration Policy and Global Interdependence

by Kevin F. McCarthy, David Ronfeldt


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This report examines the roots of the current immigration policy problem, proposes a new framework of reference for immigration issues, and suggests some central principles for developing an effective policy. The authors suggest viewing immigration and refugee movements as belonging to a set of global flows. Using the global flow framework to clarify the current realities, the report concludes by offering four principles for developing policy. First, in setting immigration policy there must be sensitivity not only to U.S. vulnerabilities but also to the effects of policies on sending countries. Second, policymakers must be alert and organizationally prepared to deal with spillover effects. Third, policymakers should not allow long-term issues to be obscured by the need to deal with short-term crises. Finally, individual interests, although they must be considered, must not be allowed to override the national interest.

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