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May 17, 2018

Leveraging Social Science Expertise in Immigration Policymaking

The longstanding uncertainty about how policymakers should grapple with social science demonstrating racism persists in the modern administrative state. This Essay examines the uses and misuses of social science and expertise in immigration policymaking. More specifically, it highlights three immigration policies that dismiss social scientific findings and expertise as part of presidential and agency decision-making: border control, crime control, and extreme vetting of refugees to prevent terrorism. The Essay claims that these rejections of expertise undermine both substantive and procedural protections for immigrants and undermine important functions of the administrative state as a curb on irrationality in policymaking. It concludes by suggesting administrative, political, and judicial mechanisms that would encourage policymakers to leverage expertise and curb irrationality in immigration policymaking.