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About this lecture

If Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress can agree that eleven million unauthorized 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.

About the speaker

Professor Rey Koslowski’s primary teaching and research interests are in the field of international relations dealing with international organisation, European integration, international migration, information technology, and homeland security. He is the author of Migrants and Citizens: Demographic Change in the European States System (Cornell University Press, 2000); editor of 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). 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. Prior to arriving at the University at Albany, Professor Koslowski taught at Rutgers University – Newark. 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. His research has been supported by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation.