“The American way of border control and immigration reform politics" by Prof Rey Koslowski

Past Event

11 June 2014, 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This lecture is hosted by the Oxford Martin School and the International Migration Institute, an Oxford Martin School Institute

If Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress can agree that eleven million unauthorised immigrants are proof of a broken immigration system, why does Congress repeatedly fail to enact comprehensive immigration reform that might stand a chance of reducing illegal migration?

One reason offered by Rey Koslowski is that too many members of Congress are fixated on appropriating money for more Border Patrol Agents and fencing to stop people from crossing the US-Mexico border between ports of entry. Koslowski argues that each additional dollar spent at the border is a dollar that may have been spent elsewhere to a much greater effect in reducing illegal migration, for example, on worksite inspections to enforce employer sanctions against hiring unauthorized migrant workers. After President Obama was reelected with 72% of the Latino vote, Senate Republicans eagerly joined Democrats to forge a comprehensive immigration reform bill but it took throwing $44 billion at border fencing and more Border Patrol agents to secure enough Republican votes to pass the bill with a filibuster-proof majority.

Koslowski argues that this border security overkill is not only bad policy; it failed to attract majority support for comprehensive immigration reform among House Republicans as intended, leaving it unlikely that any immigration legislation will become law before the November 2014 elections.

This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, all welcome

This lecture will also be shown via live webcast and can be viewed here:

About the speaker

Rey Koslowski is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany. Director of the Center for Policy Research Program on Border Control and Homeland Security. Dr Koslowski received his Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. His primary teaching and research interests are in the field of international relations dealing with international organization, European integration, international migration, information technology, homeland security. He has held fellowships of the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Center of International Studies at Princeton University and the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Recent research has been supported by grants from the the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Science Foundation and a fellowship at the Bellagio Dialogue on Migration of the German Marshall Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation. He is currently a Nonresident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute. He serves Associate Editor of Global Networks and has served as Associate and Book Review Editor of International Migration Review and as the Chair of the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the International Studies Association (ENMISA). Koslowski is the author of Migrants and Citizens: Demographic Change in the European States System (Cornell University Press, 2000); Real Challenges for Virtual Borders: The Implementation of US-VISIT (Washington: Migration Policy Institute, 2005); editor of Global Mobility Regimes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), International Migration and the Globalization of Domestic Politics (Routledge, 2005) and co-editor (with David Kyle) of Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives (John Hopkins University Press, 2001; 2nd. ed. 2011). His articles have appeared in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, The Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Common Market Studies, The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, The Cambridge Journal of International Studies and The Brown Journal of World Affairs.