U.S. Immigration Policy: Unilateral and Cooperative Responses to Undocumented Immigration

Marc R. Rosenblum
Content Type
Working Paper
University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
This paper addresses the problem of undocumented immigration to the UnitedStates from Mexico, and current and proposed policies designed to control these undocumented flows. Undocumented migration from Mexico is a subject that already receives disproportionate attention in the sense that many-and probably most-undocumented immigrants in the United States do not illegally cross the U.S.-Mexican border, yet INS enforcement efforts focus overwhelmingly on these border crossers. Although undocumented Mexican migration to the United States is disproportionately targeted, the subject merits analytical attention for three reasons. First, undocumented immigration from Mexico to the United States is the largest illicit migration flow in the world, at about one million crossings per year. Second, partly for this reason, U.S. enforcement efforts devoted to controlling Mexican immigration cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and have resulted in the transformation of the INS into the largest civilian gun-carrying force in the world. And third, immigration remains central to U.S.-Mexican bilateral relations (Binational Commission 1997, Rico 1992, Rosenblum 1998) as U.S. immigration policy-making takes on an increasingly transnational character (Rosenblum 1999 and forthcoming).
Human Rights, Migration
Political Geography
United States, Mexico