Politics of Immigration

Spring 2024
Tu/Th 11-12:30pm
Course Description

Since the earliest times, humanity has been on the move. Today, migration has reached a record high: the number of international migrants is estimated to be almost 272 million globally (equivalent to 3.5% of the world population), 51 million more than in 2010. Some people move in search of work or economic opportunities, others move to escape conflict, persecution, terrorism, or human rights violations. Still others move in response to the adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters, or other environmental factors. This course starts by exploring such migration reasons and the scholarly understanding of the politics of immigration. We place emphasis on the political economy and cultural identity origins of immigration policy, and on the factors shaping the public opinion toward immigration and immigrants. We then move to discussing the processes of immigrant incorporation---do immigrants and their children enter the mainstream societal institutions, what are the policies that promote the social, economic and political participation of immigrants, and what are the conditions that hinder immigrants participation; including nativistic reactions to immigration and demographic change. The course ends with a discussion of policy interventions designed to ameliorate the conditions hindering immigrants' incorporation. The course reviews seminal and cutting-edge research by political scientists, sociologists, economists, and demographers, and covers historical and contemporary cases from the U.S. and other Western nations.

Students will attend lectures, engage in reading-based participation and active learning, take two exams, and complete two short writing assignments; one on elements of a research paper and one on analysis of quantitative data. Students will start working on these writing assignments early in the course. Discussion sections are designed to introduce students to the elements of a research paper and to quantitative data analysis. Sections provide a forum for students to present advances on their writing assignments and to receive feedback from their peers and instructors.


Course number will change to PS138Z prior to enrollment Phase 1.

Subfield: Comparative Politics