ABSTRACT

This first quantitative chapter details the president’s attention to immigration since 1953. It intends to describe and then explain the president’s attention to immigration. First, presidential attention to immigration reveals how presidents have prioritized immigration and in what ways, how this has changed over time, and how presidential rhetoric responds considerably to the agendas of others. Combining theories of policy agendas with presidential strategy helps to explain the president’s immigration policy agenda during the modern presidency. Given that positive feedback drives policy change, more attention to immigration by the public, Congress, and the Supreme Court should heighten presidential attention to it. In addition, the shifting immigration context associated with Proposition 187 and the post-9/11 era motivate presidents to prioritize immigration in their rhetoric.