What Makes the Family Special?

Kerry Abrams

University of Virginia School of Law

January 12, 2013

80 University of Chicago Law Review 7 (2013)

This Article examines the rationales for family-based immigration, observing that most justifications for family-based admissions policies have rested on humanitarian grounds, and asking whether there are economically rational reasons why a receiving country like the U.S. would privilege family-based immigration over other types. It identifies a taxonomy of possible reasons: (1) families may function as a mechanism for integrating immigrants into U.S. society; (2) family-based immigration may be a form of labor migration in disguise, especially in low-skilled markets where employer needs are in flux and difficult to predict, and (3) family-based immigration may allow the government to engage in forms of social engineering (such as ensuring an optimal ratio of male to female immigrants, or restricting same-sex couples from entry) that it would not be able to constitutionally engage in through other means.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: immigration, family law, marriage, economics

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: June 13, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Abrams, Kerry, What Makes the Family Special? (January 12, 2013). 80 University of Chicago Law Review 7 (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2278373

Contact Information

Kerry Abrams (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-7361 (Phone)

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 707
Downloads: 51
Download Rank: 309,222