Trading mexicans: Immigration reform and international trade


This paper approaches the growing debate over the reform of U.S. immigration law and proposes a new model to regulate the influx of migrant workers. After briefly tracing the history of U.S. immigration law, the paper explores the role that immigrant labor plays in international trade, specifically by exploring its effects on economic growth in national economies. It goes on to discuss the role of GATS mode 4 and the commitments made by Member States to liberalize their immigration laws to allow more foreign workers from developing countries to temporarily relocate to developed countries for work. The paper finally refreshes a largely overlooked economic notion of re-conceptualizing immigration as a trade issue and setting-up an immigrant tariff regime in place of existing immigration laws, seeing the latter as protectionist and violative of commitments under the GATT and WTO.



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