What Makes the Family Special?
21 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013
Date Written: January 12, 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.
Keywords: immigration, family law, marriage, economics
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