Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations

First Advisor

Erik Pratt

Second Advisor

Philip Wittman

Third Advisor

Tomas Graman


One of the purposes of the Immigration Act of 1990 is to ease the barriers for professionals to enter the United States workforce. This paper will evaluate how well this law has met its goal. It is my contention that a close examination of the Immigration Act of 1990 and its impacts will reveal that it has benefited large businesses in the a United States. There are many other important affects of immigration laws. However, this paper will focus on the effects of these laws on businesses, because there is a lack of conclusive writing on the effect of immigration laws on business. Most writing on immigration focuses on immigration of unskilled workers and not professionals, who may have a more profound impact on American business. In order to examine the hypothesis that this policy has aided U.S. businesses, this paper will utilize a cost-benefit approach. The first chapter will introduce the Immigration Act of 1990. This chapter will offer a thorough explanation of what the bill entails as well as the reasons for the bill. After laying the foundation of what the Immigration Act of 1990 is, this paper will highlight the benefits businesses have reaped due to the change in the policy. Furthermore, this paper will try to answer a few questions concerning the benefits derived from this law. Has the law resulted in financial gain? Have there been other benefits? What are they? How can non-financial benefits be measured? Also, have all businesses reaped the same benefits? How have these benefits been distributed? Who benefits? Then, in chapter 3, this paper will acknowledge the costs businesses have incurred due to the change in policy. Again, this paper will try to answer relevant questions concerning the costs. What types of costs have businesses experienced? Are there material costs attached with the implementation of this law? Are there non-financial costs? Who bears the costs? The next chapter will analyze and weigh the costs and benefits. Can the costs and benefits be compared? How can we evaluate nonmaterial costs and benefits? Finally, this paper will apply the lessons derived from this policy by offering suggestions for future immigration policy with regard to professionals. It will convey suggestions made by the Commission on Immigration Reform as well as suggestions by the author. Can similar future laws result in similar effects? What lessons have we learnt from this law?