The Debate in the United States over Immigration

Friday, December 5, 1997

With the annual number of immigrants to the United States at an all-time high, the debate over immigration has reached a fevered pitch. Do today's immigrants come to this country just to go on welfare? Will immigration forever change America's ethnic, cultural, and political landscape? Some see unrestrained immigration as the lifeblood of the world's most successful society, while others have called for closing the borders entirely. After the introduction, which examines the historical debate over immigration, the book looks at the current spectrum of economic, political, social, and legal issues related to immigration into the United States—from compelling arguments for limited immigration to forceful arguments for open borders. As part of the program on American Institutions and Economic Performance, leading scholars and business experts convened at the Hoover Institution in October 1996. Amid swirling controversy over passage of California's Proposition 187, which denies welfare benefits to illegal immigrants, conference participants discussed current state and federal immigration policies and the strengths and weaknesses of proposed changes. Presented here is a powerful cross section of papers from that conference, each covering a major aspect of the overall immigration issue. The distinguished participants offer assessments of the benefits and costs of immigration, along with its impact on education, social welfare, and health care, and then presents appraisals of the widely publicized subject of undocumented immigration and employer sanctions. With immigration becoming a personal issue for millions of Americans, The Debate in the United States over Immigration illuminates fundamental, individual truths crucial to making policy decisions that will ultimately best serve American society.

Copyright 1997.