Immigration's prism: Historical continuities in the Kennedy-Simpson legal immigration reform bill

Research paper by Joseph P. Murphy, Thomas J. Espenshade

Indexed on: 01 Dec '90Published on: 01 Dec '90Published in: Population and Environment


National debates about U.S. immigration policy usually involve a blend of three issues: (1) How many immigrants should the United States accept? (2) Where should the immigrants come from? and (3) What criteria should be used in selecting immigrants? The debate and compromise surrounding the Kennedy-Simpson bill, passed by the U.S. Senate in July 1989 and constituting the Senate's latest attempt to reform U.S.legal immigration policy, is no exception. This paper examines the evolution of the Kennedy-Simpson bill, partly to reveal current directions in U.S. immigration policy but more importantly to use this analysis as a prism through which historical continuities in U.S. immigration reforms may be isolated and evaluated.