San Diego Law Review


Peter H. Schuck

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In Part I, I discuss five kinds of deontological arguments that a moralist might advance in debating the ideal nature of our immigration policy. In Part II, I take a more instrumentalist-consequentialist approach to immigration policy analysis. Before doing so, however, I briefly note some of the familiar methodological and cognitive limitations of applying this approach to complex public policy issues of this kind, limitations that remind us of the irreducible importance of normative considerations and judgments to such policy assessments. I then go on to identify the three main sets of empirical controversies that figure most prominently in immigration debates, and summarize the empirical evidence bearing on those controversies. In Part III, I contend that although national economic growth is a highly imperfect measure of the instrumental value of immigration, an immigration policy that is moral in the consequentialist sense would nevertheless place greater weight on economic growth than the current system does. In Part IV, I discuss some policy changes that might move us in that direction.

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