Congress and Immigration Policy: A Study of the Member-level Motivations and Agenda Setting Strategies Surrounding Immigration Reform

As a three-paper model, this project explores the decision-making processes of House members on immigration reform, both individually (micro-level) and collectively (macro-level). I disentangle the forces that shape individual members’ decisions on bills proposing the expansion/contraction of immigration rights, giving attention to those industries that rely heavily upon immigrant labor. I find that these forces make political parties unstable coalitions in immigration policy. I further examine the consequences of these individual-level forces on agenda setting. Since majority party leaders have a vested interest in passing bills with broad majority party support, significant constraints are placed on the types of bills eligible for floor consideration.

  1. Congressional Bill Text as Data: Estimating and Scaling an Immigration Policy Space in the Presence of Unstable Left-Right Party Coalitions
  2. The Micro-level: Unskilled-Labor Demand as a Mechanism for Member-level Expansionist Immigration Reform
  3. The Macro-level: A Study of the Strategic Considerations of U.S. House Majorities in Structuring the Agenda on Immigration Reform

PhD Candidate