Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Barbara Wake Carroll
Immigration is a policy area that is becoming increasingly relevant among researchers in international relations and comparative politics as they address the difficulty advanced industrialized countries have in controlling their borders. Most research on immigration policy examines this issue by focusing on external and macro level internal factors which influence policy choices and policy outcomes. While these explanations are useful, they neglect the manner into which policy choices are translated at the implementation stage by officers in the field. This dissertation suggests that field officers have a great impact on policies and on their outcomes as they are the ones who are responsible for interpreting and implementing the policies designed by policy makers. It is argued that a micro approach utilizing interactive theories of public policy and public administration which takes into consideration the discretion of the individual civil servant is a useful supplement to macro and meso theories about immigration. This conclusion is reached by a study of two countries (Canada and the United States) and one province (Quebec). The dissertation considers the external selection process and examines the circumstances under which field level discretion is exercised. Its conclusion is that Canadian officials operate with a higher level of discretion than their US counterparts, while Quebec agents enjoy an even higher level of discretion. These differences, it is suggested, are explained by variations in political institutions, organizational structure, organizational resources and the degree of importance attached to some overriding goal--in this case the concern for social and cultural integration in Quebec.
Bouchard, Genevieve, "Field officer discretion in the implementation process: Immigration policy in Canada, Quebec and the United States" (2000). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2493.