Analysis Essay on Policy Paradox

Published: 2021-08-16
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Boston College
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According to the US, the number of foreign-born population reached its highest. It is in comparison to the previous years when the statistic was moderate. The rise in the numbers reflects the severity of the refugee crisis which in turns reveals the liberalization of US immigration policies (Hatton & Williamson, 2005). There have been sharp reactions to the numbers as the highest ever recorded. The total number of immigrants is by far less significant as compared to their entire population. The ability to absorb immigrants into the society and labor market largely depends on the size of the natives and the immigrants populace. Using the perspective, it is clear that the numbers are far less than the previous years. Considering that, we would analyze the immigration policies using a paradoxical framework developed by Stone. It would assist in unveiling their actual impact and the underlying contradictions.

A common concern of the immigration issue is the impact of unskilled workers on the wage and employment opportunities of native unskilled workers (Espenshade & Calhoun, 1993). There are concerns that the crisis would be harmful to most of the vulnerable workers. If immigration goes down, the wages of natives who compete with the unskilled workforce leads to the uneven distribution of income. In contrast, studies disapprove the assumption, indicating that it has a minimal effect on the economy. The situation is possible in that the demand for labor is not fixed when immigrants enter the marketplace. They do not supply employment but also request for goods translating into increased demand for locally work provided. The increase in demand has the capability of balancing the effect of higher supply.

Additionally, evidence indicates that the immigrants and natives cannot replace labor in the market. Thus, they are not in competition for jobs with the residents. Immigrants work is, therefore, more of a definite compliment as its increase would lead to positive results on the economy. The effects of poverty in areas where immigrants live are because they lack any meaningful skill they can use to impact the economy. It reflects their situation but not the general outlook of the income distribution. On the other hand, immigrants are likely to be beneficial to the natives. If wages lower for the residents, the situation turns about to be helpful. It gets balanced by an equal gain for those who utilize the labor and eventually for consumers. An additional employment of the natives results in a surplus thereby translating to a net profit. Moreover, the immigrants benefit as they obtain higher wages compared to their first nations. Labor migration is comparable to a form of global trade where a source countrys exports labor to the host. An increase in poverty and decrease in income from the source country, results in a rise in earnings. It is both for the native and immigrants of the host country.

There is always a sense of worry for the natives due to the influx of narratives. The situation largely depends on the private sector. It is due to the outcomes of the labor market and taxes, plus enticements. There has been the discussion on whether migrants pay more in taxes as compared to their consumption of public benefits. However, it is apparent that the natives are much more inferior and their probability in participating in means-tested programs is minimal. Empirical evidence suggests that the unskilled laborers have a net adverse effect on the natives when it comes to public consumption benefits. An alternative in dealing with harmful effects of the immigrants apart from restrictive policies is their inclusion to the labor market and denying them full access to public advantages. It would assist in dealing with the restrictive immigration laws. Exclusion seems to be more costly in comparison to inclusion.

The goal of lowering the burden that immigrants impose on the natives with regards to the entitlement of public benefits is the restriction to certain privileges. An example of a study reveals the exclusion of immigrants from the means-tested benefits would improve the total fiscal impact of the ordinary immigrant. Although legal immigrants can gain full access to public benefits after naturalization, aliens admitted on non-immigrant visas are not qualified for the benefits. Despite the fact that fiscal concerns validate the need for restrictions, there is no evidence on the limitations to non-immigrants visas. The legal immigrants appear to make a positive contribution through taxation. Thus, guest workers permitted through non-immigrant visas positively contribute to the society.

Due to security issues, consideration is available on whether to expand the guest-workers program. However, there was a proposal on using the entry as an unauthorized immigrant. Considering that, employment-based immigration is more of an illegal form of migration (Espenshade & Calhoun, 1993). Legalizing the immigrants through a more comprehensive guest-workers program would serve the interests of the immigrants. It would assist the workers in obtaining a legal alternative to illegal entry thus leaving them vulnerable to harassment by the government and employers abuse. People criticize guest-workers in that they prefer permanent stay thus making it difficult for them to go.

Nevertheless, the program raises the outlook of permanent residence that only restricts access to public advantages and citizenship. An example is the liberal theory of justice that aims in understanding what ideologies people would select behind a shroud of ignorance (Acosta Arcarazo & Freier, 2015). As a result, progressive ideas suggest that our responsibilities of distributive justice extend to workers that take part in a scheme of social cooperation. Therefore, one cannot limit the obligations only apply to natives leads to integration of people in the economy is to follow comprehensive benefits of the membership.

About that, exclusion of immigrants from our society and market can assist in avoiding the obligations that result from their stay. Application of the Rawls assumption and theory best fits inhabitants of a particular nation but cannot apply globally. With regards to that, a variance arises. It is in the sense that our admission policies rely on the sole interests of natives and immigrants already in place, then we would deny admitting the poor immigrants. It is in anticipation of the public benefits they would consume which translates to a financial burden for the natives.

In this way, our commitment to ensuring equal treatment once admitted would contrast their admission by worsening their situation. The immigrants would be well off in no one gets concerned about their welfare and treats them equally. If our primary concerns are in catering for their welfare through generous fiscal policies, the same guidelines will ruin them. The viewpoint is however unsatisfactory from the stance on human welfare. Any individual who prevents an immigrant from escaping poverty through policies and regulations is worse and only enhances their suffering.

There is a sense of incoherence in public policy to turn away immigrants, citing negative impacts on the welfare of the natives whereas there is an alternative of admitting the individual and enforcing restrictive measures on public benefits (Hajer, 2002). The situation would enhance the welfare of both parties. Their admission would change the immigrant into a resident. The same distributive matters that justify generous policies for other poor residents apply to the immigrants as well. In other words, there is no measure of social welfare that provides a clear criterion for immigration policies because the guidelines represent the identity of the population.

The moral stance injures the welfare of the individuals who we cite the basis for their access to citizenship and public benefits. The paradox lies at the heart of the immigration policies (Lee & Bean, 2010). A commitment to treat the immigrant equally backfires on the alien seeking to settle because their status never rises till we welcome the immigrant. If welcoming the individuals lead to the compulsion to justice, then the responsibilities can get avoided by selecting to reject. Therefore, if admission policies get based on the welfare of the natives, we should omit unskilled workers. Thus, a question arises on whether admission policies can specifically rely on native interests alone.

If the policies never respect the immigrant, then they are themselves irrational. The source of the paradox is the ability to treat the immigrant as an equal citizen. It refers to the making of justice obligations dependent on acts of cooperation. It enables the avoidance of the duty of justice by refusing to employ immigrants. It a nation decides that it would not accept immigrants there should be no explanation of the structure. Based on that, a question arises on the suitability of the immigration policies (Hatton & Williamson, 2005). If when selecting partners for the cooperation we focus on the principles of justice, there is doubt on whether their independence is guaranteed and if it would suit in accurately evaluating the policies. It implies that when we base our admission policies to our labor market on status, the individuals we seek to protect become an endogenous function to the procedures. In selecting our members, there is a moral obligation and our welfare goals.

The immigration paradox is avoidable when independent policies get implemented. The first option is in the selecting of a welfare objective that upholds the rights of the natives and to a smaller extent discounts the remainder to the interest of the immigrants. The guest-workers programs serve as the best option for unskilled immigrants. The other alternative is the adoption of a cosmopolitan perspective that spreads equal consideration to all individuals. Also, there is the provision of an independent admission policy that overcomes the challenges present in an immigration paradox. A cosmopolitan evaluation is the only approach that can offer a satisfactory framework for the review of the immigration policies and their actual impact. Additionally, it assists in coming up with generous guidelines geared towards social inclusion and integration.

The issue of restrictive immigration policies is more of a social justice issue. There is no need in seeking the justification of excluding individuals based on individual interests and partisan consideration. It is, therefore, necessary to treat everyone in an equal way without establishing obstacles that result in exclusion.

In conclusion, the immigration policies are a positive step in a progressive way. However, there lie paradoxes and personal challenges that impede the realization of their goals and objectives. There are standards in place that make an individual qualify for approval which contradict the widespread perception.


Acosta Arcarazo, D., & Freier, L. F. (2015). Turning the immigration policy paradox upside down? Populist liberalism and discursive gaps in South America. International Migration Review, 49(3), 659-696.

Espenshade, T. J., & Calhoun, C. A. (1993). An analysis of public opinion toward undocumented immigration. Population Research and Policy Review, 12(3), 189-224.

Hajer, M. (2002). Discourse analysis and the study of policy making. European Political Science, 2(1), 61-65.

Hatton, T. J., & Williamson, J. G. (2005). A dual policy paradox: Why have trade and immigration policies always differed in labor-scarce economies (No. w11866). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Lee, J., & Bean, F. D. (2010). The diversity paradox: Immigration and the color line in twenty-first century America. Russell Sage Foundation.

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