U.S. IMMIGRATION REFORM: POLICY ISSUES AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
MICHAEL J. GREENWOOD
JOHN M. McDOWELL
In recent years, legal U. S. immigration has approached historically high levels, and illegal immigration has been thought to be high and perhaps rising. Consequently, the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy proposed sweeping changes in the nation's immigration laws. During 1984, both the Senate and House passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (Simpson-Mazzoli Bill). This bill subsequently died in the conference committee that was established to reconcile differences between the bill's two versions. The proposed act has three major provisions: (1) control of illegal immigration, (2) legalization of alienstatus, and (3) reform of legal immigration. Both the House and Senate versions would maintain the present orientation of U.S. immigration policy toward family reunification, but the Senate proposed significant changes in legal immigration restrictions that would shift policy slightly more toward labor considerations. These proposed changes were eliminated in the compromise made in the conference committee. Employer sanctions and legalization of illegal aliens were left as the two most prominent alterations to existing policy. During 1985, the 99th Congress is likely to reconsider the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill, perhaps in a streamlined version which emphasizes employer sanctions, legalization, and a substantial increase in border enforcement. Copyright 1985 Western Economic Association International.
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