Module 3: The Facts and Current Debate about Unauthorized Immigration to the US

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 to Thursday, May 31, 2018

After reviewing a brief history of immigration to the US, students will turn to current situation of both authorized and unauthorized migration.  Chapter 3, “Unauthorized Migration to the United States,” and Chapter 4, “The Current Debate,” focus on the current debate for and against immigration, particularly unauthorized migration.  In completing this view of See, a range of issues – facts and claims - arising from the current debate will be considered. 

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Course materials

Module Materials

Review the role of immigration in the history and development of the United States.

Investigate the three most common arguments against migration to the U.S. and the research and accompanying data associated with each claim.

Explore the ethical dimensions and dilemmas from which are encountered when considering migration. 


PDF icon Term Sheet .pdf

PDF icon Supplemental Questions Module 3.pdf

PDF icon Module 3 Internet Links to Chapter References.pdf provides a sequential list of the web-based links referenced in the footnotes from Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 to Global Migration: What’s Happening, Why, and a Just Response.  These same links are included below under Primary Resources and also cross-referenced with the page number of the e-book.

Access E-Book Global Migration: What's Happening, Why, and a Just Response .  Course instructors considering a book for adoption will be provided a complementary copy.

PDF icon Migration Book Handout.pdf provides a brief overview of FLC’s 5 academic modules on Global Migration.  Bring real-life migration stories to your students.

Primary Resources

How Did We Arrive at Where We are Today


Facts About Immigration and the U.S. Economy provides essential background on the immigrant population; its impact on the economy, the workforce, and government budgets; why increasing numbers of unaccompanied children are arriving at the US-Mexico border; and U.S. labor migration policy.  Authors: Daniel Costa, David Cooper, and Heidi Shierholz, from the Economic Policy Institute.  Published: August 12, 2014.  (Page 51) 


The “Unintended Consequences of US Immigration Policy: Explaining the Post-1965 Surge from Latin America.”  Authors: Douglas Massey and Karen Pren.  Source: Population and development review 38.1.  Published: 2012. Pages: 1-29.  (Page 61) 


Life and Debt: A Film documents the impact of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and current globalization policies on developing countries such as Jamaica.  Director: Stephanie Black.  Time: 86 minutes.  Released: June 24, 2003.  (Page 39)


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) versus Creation of a Just, Global Community 

- Read Mexico’s Corn Farmers, an interview about farmers' protest in the streets.  Author: Lorne Matalon.  Source: PRI’s the World.  Broadcast: January 15, 2008.  (Page 40)

- Watch Dying to Get In: Undocumented Immigration at the U.S./Mexico Border, a documentary of the destruction of Mexican farmers' livelihood and the experience of migrating: why they leave their homes, their faith, and the challenges they face.  Director: Brett Tolley.  Time: 39:36 minutes.  Posted: April 15, 2015.  (Page 46)


Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero and Perhaps Less analyzes “the magnitude and trend of migration flows between Mexico and the United States; the experiences and intentions of Mexican immigrants repatriated by U.S. immigration authorities; U.S. immigration enforcement patterns; conditions in Mexico and the U.S. that could affect immigration; and characteristics of Mexican-born immigrants in the U.S.”  Authors: Jeffrey S. Passel, D’Vera Cohn and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, the Pew Hispanic Center. Published April 23, 2012.  (Page 45)

The Economic Contribution of Immigrants


Open for Business: How Immigrants are Driving Small Business Creation in the United States “analyzes the expanding role that immigrant entrepreneurs play in our economy."  Author: Robert W. Fairlie, The Partnership for a New American Economy.  Published: August 2012.  37 pages.  (Page 53)


Are Immigrants a Shot in the Arm for the Local Economy?” Yes, they "can raise native worker’s real wages, and each immigrant can create more than one job.”  Abstract available here.  Authors: Gihoon Hong and John McLaren.  Source: NBER Working Paper No. 21123.  Published: April 2015.  (Page 53)


Immigrants Have Enriched American Culture and Enhanced Our Influence in the World."   Published: originally in Insight, February 18, 2002; currently available through the CATO Institute.  (Page 56)


Immigrants are reinventing the economy by filing for patents, boosting innovation, and winning Nobel Prizes.  (Page 54, Page 54, and Page 55) In particular, skilled Immigrants and international graduate sutdents are contributing to U.S. innovation.  (Page 55)  Even the U.S. housing market may be benefiting from immigrants who regard owning a house as "a symbol of attaining the American Dream."  (Page 55)

US Government Policies and Strategies


Vision and Strategy 2020: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Strategic Plan outlines the agency’s core values, mission and vision statements, four strategic goals and associated objectives, and strategies for managing risk.  Published: March 2015.  52 pages.  (Page 47)


Border Patrol Staffing: 1992 - 2017  (Page 48)

Border Patrol Budget History: 1990 - 2017  (Page 48)


No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes produced a 6:51 minute video describing Border Partol Harassment and Vandalism.  Published January16, 2013.  (Page 47)


Operation Streamline: Ten Years of Criminalizing Immigrants discusses the controversial federal program of “systematic prosecution of unlawful border crossings in group hearings with little-to-no due process.”  Author: Joshua Briesblatt, American Immigration Council.  Published: December 15, 2015.  (Page 37)


A Comparison of the DREAM* Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth explores the differences between the DREAM Act, the ARMS Act, and the STARS Act and focuses on the implications of a direct path to permanent residency.  The assumption that the regular immigration system offers a solution for undocumented youth is examined.  Source:  The American Immigration Council.  Published: June 5, 2012.  (Page 48)

U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


V-Visa for Nonimmigrants

The V-visa category of the Green Card “allows the spouse or child of a permanent resident to live and work in the United States while waiting to obtain immigrant status.”  (Page 57)


H-1B Visa – for Foreign Workers in Specialty Occupations

Everything You Need to Know about the H-1B Visa” discusses the challenges employers face.  Author: Zoe Henry.  Source: Inc.  Published: March 2016.   (Page 57)


Information for Employers and Employees for the FY2018 H-1B Cap Season   (Page 57)


USCIS Reaches FY2017 H-1B Cap” seven days after the application window opened.  Posted: April 7, 2016.  (Page 58)


Large Companies Game H-1B Visa Program, Costing the U.S. Jobs.”  Author: Julia Preston.  Source: New York Times.  Posted: November 10, 2015.  (Page 58)


H-2A and H-2B Temporary Worker Programs

The H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural employers is operated in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Page 52) and the United States Department of Labor.  (Page 58)


The Program for H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Page 52)


California Farmers (are) Short of Labor and Patience.”  Author: Jennifer Medina.  Source: New York Times.  Posted: March 29, 2014.  (Page 58)


Click here to read an article about how the backlash against immigrant farm workers has resulted in decreased crop production rotting and worker shortages.  Source: Bloomberg Politics.  Author: Alan Bjerga.  Posted: June 6, 2016.  (Page 59)


A fourth-generation dairy farmer discusses “the misconception that foreign workers displace US workers, challenges with the current H-2A application process, and experienced workers” in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary’ Hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation.  7 pages.  Hearing/Report Date: April 22, 2013.  (Page 59)


Instead of eliminating incentives for illegal aliens to cross into Georgia, passage of its immigration enforcement bill has unintentionally harmed both immigrants and native residents alike.  Author: Benjamin Powell.  Source:  Posted: May 17, 2012.  (Page 59)


US - Mexico Border Security


This Is What the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall Actually Looks Like.”  Author/Photographer: James Whilow Delano.  Source: National Geographic.  Published: March 4, 2016.  (Page 60)


'Best of luck with the wall.'  View all 2,000 miles of the Mexican border... and see just how hard it will be to block it off illegal migration.  Director: Josh Begley, Aeon Video.  Source: Reporter.  Published: November 11, 2016. Time: 6:41 minutes.


In “Transforming Border Security: Prevention First” Robert Bach argues for "(t)he development of a prevention-led border strategy would involve at least four strategic shifts: aligning border security with global strategy; forging a new foreign policy; making progress on cooperation; and changing U.S. reactive approaches.”  Source: Homeland Security Affairs 1, Article 2.  Posted: June 2005.  (Page 45)


“The cure for poverty is not another new economic plan, and it’s not another big celebrity campaign. (Rather) (i)t’s allowing people to create prosperity for themselves and their families.”  Some long-term solutions (including some CRS initiatives) to the root causes of immigration from Latin America are discussed in "Do U.S. Economic Policies Fuel Latin-American Immigration?"  Author: Peter Jesserer Smith.  Source: National Catholic Register.  Published: July 23, 2013.    


Other Perspectives on Building a Wall on the US-Mexico border:

Is it possible?  Source: Chicago Tribune.  Published: March 8, 2016.  (Page 60)


How much?  Author: Glen Kessler.  Source: The Washington Post.  Published: February 11, 2016.  (Page 60)


Will this stop smugglers?  Author: Ron Nixon.  Source: New York Times.  Published: September 1, 2016.  (Page 61)

Secondary Resources

Additional Readings

Chapter 3

Bacon, David. Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Migrants. Boston: Beacon Press, 2008.

Marquardt, Marie Friedmann, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip J. Wilkins and Manuel A. Vasquez. Living Illegal: The Human Face of Unauthorized Migration.  New York: The New Press, 2011.

Nevins, Joseph. Dying to Get in: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid. San Francisco: City Lights, 2008.

Ngai, Mae. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Urrea, Luis Alberto. The Devil’s Highway. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2005.

Chapter 4

Dear, Michael. Why Walls Don’t Work. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.


i am migration

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