Immigration has been a hot-button topic of debate in the news as well as in the debates for the upcoming federal elections in the United States. Especially with recent acts of terrorism, people feel very strongly on either side of the fence regarding the allowance of illegal immigrants, from latino or Muslim descent primary, to be granted citizenship and be allowed to remain in the country. Policy networks have been working with the democratic government on both sides of the issue.

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The primary organizations working with the public policy network regarding immigration is the United States Congress and the two main political parties working for different reforms. The republican party is working mainly for immigration reform and deem all amendments should be geared toward the safety of the homeland by dissuading immigration and retaining any potential economic losses. Democrats also would like immigration reform, but in order to reduce illegal immigration, the party focused on strengthening the borders and increasing control. Other members of the networks include the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and American Federation of Labor (AFL). The AFL and CIO are the largest governing bodies of trade unions in the United States with more than 11 million members as of 2008. These two groups work to strengthen the rights of workers .

Democratic governance influences immigrations because some politicians feel that illegal immigrants are a threat to their reelection campaigns, and, therefore, they develop public policy to reduce the numbers. In situations where there are large populations of these immigrants, they could sway the popular vote and oust a seated politician .

Other’s feel that because often illegal immigrants are exploited by their employers, there is a condition of human rights violations. Their nongovernmental agencies drive through the public networks, the actions of the government. Agencies that are concerned with the affairs of Latinos and other immigrants, as well as employers who have jobs that others do not want to fill, will lobby the government for improved resources to promote immigration. Employers often have difficulty filling jobs such as farm help, plastic factory help, any positions that require extensive physical effort, and those that need skilled workers .

Policy networks play a significant role in bringing the voice of the people to the democratic agencies which make our laws. These policy networks work with both political parties to help build policy which supports different interest groups and combine them to enable the full view of the issue. The politicians, in the case of the immigration reform issue, are focused on the safety and security of the homeland. They are not focused on fulfilling jobs to boost employment and the economy. They are not thinking about human rights violations and the need to support and protect the people who are already in this country, whether it be via legal or illegal routes. The work of the ALF-CIO ensures that other aspects of the issue are being protected in order to give immigrants who are able to come to American have the best legal representation . As policy networks include many different organizations with their own agendas and topics of focus, the entire well-being of the population is served. If the government and labor unions were the only entities in the policy network, then the social realities of the issue would be lost to focus on political, electoral and labor issues .

Governmental and nongovernmental bodies work together in order to develop legal policy as well as influence each other. In this way, democratic government can make policies which are beneficial to immigrants which the special interested want and the special interests can guide the politicians into safe, fair, appropriate legislation.

  • Collier, P. (204, December 5). Immigration’s ‘dark side’: a challenge for the left. Retrieved from Policy Network:
  • Wneh, H. (204). Democratic Governance and Policy Networks. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University.