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U.S. Immigration in a Global Context: Past, Present, and Future

Jeffrey S. Passel and Michael Fix
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies
Vol. 2, No. 1, Symposium: Global Migration and the Future of the Nation-State (Fall, 1994), pp. 5-19
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20644570
Page Count: 15
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U.S. Immigration in a Global Context: Past, Present, and Future
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Abstract

Through the use of their own empirical studies, the authors address three themes: 1) immigration in the global context; 2) the scale and characteristics of immigration to the United States; and 3) the expected future impact of immigration to the United States. The authors focus on U.S. immigration by giving an empirical comparative history which suggests that, while the sheer number of immigrants to the United States has grown, the share of foreign-born people in the U.S. population is well below historic highs. Next they discuss the characteristics of recent and current immigrants to the United States in terms of magnitude, diversity, and conventional notions of "quality" (education and income), as well as the differing types of U.S. immigration policy immigrants may face. Finally, the authors consider the future of immigration to the United States and suggest that legal immigration will continue to have predominantly positive impacts, while negative impacts will continue to flow from illegal immigration. They note, however, that there are powerful principles and restraints that limit efforts to curb illegal immigration. The authors conclude that the situation is not dire; rather, they believe that the ties created by immigrants may become increasingly important to the United States in an interrelated world economy.

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