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POLSC431: Public Policy Process

Unit 10: Social Policy   There many other areas of American public policy that prompt debate among policymakers, including those dealing with topics in the larger field of social policy, such as immigration, civil rights, and crime.  The debate about immigration is often particularly heated during periods of economic recession; however, since the 18th century, politicians and citizens have been concerned with the impact of immigration on the national character of America.  Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1883, the U.S. government began to restrict immigration from certain areas of the world, imposing quotas based on national origins in the 1920s and setting up the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the 1940s to register aliens living in America.  Since the 1960s, legal immigration has increased from Latin America, Asia, and Africa thanks in part to changes in federal policy, but illegal immigration has become an increasingly visible problem, especially in certain areas of the Southwest that make use of migrant laborers.  Public debate over immigration reform has also brought up the issues of American companies and citizens profiting off illegal immigrant labor and whether a border fence might be the answer. 
 
Concerns over immigration have also raised issues of civil rights and civil liberties, as some argue that racial profiling in order to find illegal aliens is ineffective and against the spirit of equality that has become instituted in American law over the course of the last century.  In the years after the Civil War, there were initial attempts to bring about racial equality throughout the country; however, the last quarter of the 19th century saw the development of legalized Jim Crow segregation in northern and southern states.  During the first half of the 20th century, as the nation debated the existence of civil liberties during wartime, with socialists and others outside the political mainstream slowly becoming allowed to express their views without facing jail time, civil rights lagged behind with legal segregation being oft reconfirmed until the 1950s.  While the civil rights movements of the 1960s brought about increased opportunities for minorities and women, attempts to level the playing field through affirmative action policies beginning in the 1970s have raised concerns over reverse discrimination and thus remain hotly debated today.
 
Concerns over racial equality have also impacted debates surrounding the criminal justice system in contemporary America, as accusations of unfair sentencing practices and police brutality against minority groups has forced a re-evaluation of many once commonly accepted aspects of public policy as it relates to law enforcement.  The United States imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other advanced industrial nation, and the prison-industrial complex provides jobs for countless Americans but at a cost of millions of dollars a year to taxpayers.  Significant questions over the costs of these jails have inspired many to question the benefit to society of jailing nonviolent drug offenders, while others argue that prison life should be even harsher to discourage repeat recidivism.  Some reformers have even proposed spending more money in order to better educate and rehabilitate criminals in preparation for their re-entry into society, where former inmates often struggle to find regular employment once released.  The harsh realities faced by convicted felons during and after their time in prison also serves as a reminder of the important role that defense attorneys play in advocating for their clients, although the American justice system values the rights of victims as much as those of the accused.  Finding the balance among competing interests in courtrooms is just one more way in which public policy seeks to best serve the greatest number of citizens in the fairest way possible for all.

Unit 10 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 10.5 hours to complete. 

☐    Subunit 10.1: 4.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 10.1.1: 2hours

☐    Subunit 10.1.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 10.1.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 10.2: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 10.3: 3.75 hours 

Unit10 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit,  the student will be able to:

  • Identify vital issues and specific areas of concern for contemporary American policymakers within the broad field of American social policy.
  • Identify key actors and agencies involved in social policy formulation.
  • Differentiate among such various areas of social policy as immigration policy, civil rights policy, and criminal justice policy.
  • Describe various decision frameworks used by policymakers in identifying, formulating, implementing, budgeting, and evaluating social policy.
  • Identify key debates in contemporary social policy as well as the issues at stake and the arguments advanced by each side of the debate.
  • Explain the context, evolution, and linkages between certain social policies and within the broader context of American political history.

10.1 Immigration Reform: Public Policy and the Future of the American Citizenry   10.1.1 Patterns of Immigrant Settlement   - Reading: Public Policy Institute of California: Sarah Bohn's: “New Patterns of Immigration Settlement in California” Link: Public Policy Institute of California:Sarah Bohn's: “New Patterns of Immigration Settlement in California” (PDF)
 
Please click on the link above, and then select the “Full Report” link to read this entire PDF (40 pages) about immigration in California.
 
This reading should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

10.1.2 Debating Immigration Reform   - Lecture: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 11: “Immigration Reform” Link: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 11: “Immigration Reform” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “Immigration Reform” to watch this entire video (approximately 58 minutes) on various approaches to immigration reform.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

10.1.3 Public Policy and Migrant Labor   - Reading: Public Policy Institute of California: Magnus Lofstrom, Sarah Bohn, and Steven Raphael's: “Lessons from the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act” Link: Public Policy Institute of California: Magnus Lofstrom, Sarah Bohn, and Steven Raphael's: “Lessons from the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the “Full Report” link to read this entire PDF (31 pages) about migrant labor and illegal immigration in Arizona.
 
This reading should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

10.2 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: Debating Affirmative Action and Other Policies   10.2.1 Introducing Civil Rights and Civil Liberties   - Lecture: Learner.org: Democracy in America: Episode 4: “Civil Liberties: Safeguarding the Individual” and Episode 5: “Civil Rights: Demanding Equality” Links: Learner.org: Democracy in America: Episode 4: “Civil Liberties: Safeguarding the Individuals” (Adobe Flash) and Episode 5: “Civil Rights: Demanding Equality” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the links above, and select the VoD icon next to each episode to watch it (approximately 28 minutes per video).  These videos introduce key concepts in civil rights and civil liberties.

 Viewing these videos should take approximately 1 hour to
complete.  
     
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

10.2.2 The Process of Integrating American Society   - Lecture: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “Social Policy: Allocating Rights” Link: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “Social Policy: Allocating Rights” (PDF)
 
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the above PDF on the linked page, and read this entire presentation (10 pages), which discusses civil rights and the process of desegregating American society.
 
This lecture should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.  

10.2.3 The Ongoing Debate over Affirmative Action   - Lecture: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 12: “Affirmative Action versus Reverse Discrimination” Link: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 12: “Affirmative Action versus Reverse Discrimination” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “Affirmative Action versus Reverse Discrimination” to watch this entire video (approximately 58 minutes) on the debate over affirmative action programs.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

10.3 Criminal Justice: Weighing Costs and Benefits in American Public Policy   10.3.1 Introducing the Modern American Justice System   - Lecture: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance Episode 6: “Crime and Punishments” Link: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance Episode 6: “Crime and Punishments” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “Crime and Punishments” to watch this entire video (approximately 57 minutes) on American criminal justice policy.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

10.3.2 The Costs and Benefits of Incarcerating Criminals   - Lecture: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “Crime Policy: A Cost Benefit Analysis” Link: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “Crime Policy: A Cost Benefit Analysis” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the above PDF on the linked page, and read this entire presentation (10 pages) on the costs and benefits of current crime policy.
 
This lecture should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.  

  • Reading: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research: Anne Morrison Piehl, Bert Useem, and John J. DiIulio Jr.: “Right—Sizing Justice: A Cost Benefit Analysis of Imprisonment in Three States” Link: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research: Anne Morrison Piehl, Bert Useem, and John J. DiIulio Jr.: “Right—Sizing Justice: A Cost Benefit Analysis of Imprisonment in Three States” (HTML or PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage about U.S. imprisonment.  To access in PDF version (28 pages), choose the “CR 8 PDF” link on the right side of the page.

    This reading should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

10.3.3 Debating the Ethics of the Modern Legal System   - Lecture: Learner.org: Ethics in America: Episode 2: “To Defend a Killer” Link: Learner.org: Ethics in America: Episode 2: “To Defend a Killer” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “To Defend a Killer” to watch this entire video (approximately 58 minutes), in which panel participants discuss the ethics of the American justice system.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.