Ctrl+Alt+Del: Rebooting Immigration Policies Through Socio-technical Change
The immigration policy of the United States has become a dysfunctional socio-technical system where technology deployment has little relation to the way the system behaves. An escalating law enforcement narrative has encouraged research and development of linear simple technologies to try to solve complex adaptive solutions, thus remaining ineffective and actually becoming harmful to US interests. It is a process that neglects the evolving nature of the immigration policy space and the desirable effects of migratory behaviors, and instead insists on the technological fortification of the borderlands to interdict the negative ones. It has also failed to identify counterintuitive points of intervention to improve the performance of the migration socio-technical regime. Under these conditions, most immigration technologies have demonstrated limited capacity to “pivot” and adapt to a changing environment, with the exception of the clandestine technologies developed by deviant actors to penetrate the border interdictions. The study of socio-technical systems provides a good tool to understand the limitations of the current technological architecture of the immigration policy of the US, as well as an approach to reboot the whole system, in order to update it to a more adaptive design.
The study of socio-technical systems provides a good tool to understand the limitations of the current technological architecture of U.S. immigration policy. Working paper presented at the Baker Institute Latin America Initiative conference "Immigration Reform: A System for the 21st Century."