Recent Publications

Comparing U.S. and Canadian Foreign Worker Policies

Border Policy Brief, Vol. 9, No. 3

Both the U.S. and Canada are increasingly relying on foreign workers to fill a variety of jobs, particularly in lower-skilled positions. Over the last decade, Canada has expanded its Temporary Foreign Worker Program considerably, which prompted major policy changes in 2014. The U.S., however, continues to limit foreign worker visas and to rely heavily on unauthorized immigrants to fill labor needs. This article explores these highly controversial policies, which are important to understanding broader debates about immigration reform occurring throughout North America.

Suggestions for Improving Cross-Border Mobility and North American Competitiveness

Special Report

On May 15, 2014, the BPRI hosted a conference titled "Beyond NAFTA: Streamlining the Border to Strengthen North American Competitiveness." With two decades of NAFTA behind us, and with the "Beyond the Border" agenda near the end of its phase-one timeline, speakers were asked to produce ideas about what should next be done in order to foster cross-border mobility. This document is a summary of the main suggestions voiced during the event.

Pilot Project: Using RFID to Reduce Border Queues

Border Policy Brief, Vol. 9, No. 2

Lengthy queues still exist at the Cascade Gateway crossings, despite many post-9/11 investments. This article proposes a regional pilot project that would place RFID-enabled passport cards into the hands of about 75,000 Canadians. Various evidence shows that such a pilot would lead to greatly diminished border queues, at a relatively low cost.



Housed at Western Washington University, the Border Policy Research Institute (BPRI) is a multi-disciplinary institute that undertakes research that informs policy-makers on matters related to the Canada - U.S. border. Priority focus areas are trade and transportation, economics, environment, immigration, and border security. The University established the BPRI to further a mission of promoting research, academic programs, and public programming on critical policy issues affecting the Pacific Northwest. The BPRI works closely with cognate programs at the University and collaborates with many public and private entities within the Pacific Northwest.

Events & News

No events scheduled at this time.

Leadership Transition

November 2014

Dr. Don Alper is retiring, concluding a distinguished 43-year career at Western in which he served as a professor of political science, the director of the Center for Canadian-American Studies, and director of the BPRI. He is replaced on an interim basis by David Davidson, the former associate director. But don't despair! Dr. Alper will remain involved in the field of border studies and Canadian studies.

Border Crossing Air Emissions Survey

November 2014

BPRI has just completed the second portion of a fieldwork project at the Pacific Highway border crossing to collect data related to border wait times and air emissions. This data represents the northern border portion of a parallel study conducted at the U.S.- Mexico border and is part of a broader project being undertaken by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.


Thesis Fellowship

Apply for a BPRI thesis fellowship! Fellows receives a full graduate stipend and tuition support for one quarter, as well as $500 to be used toward research supplies or travel. Graduate students enrolled at Western and pursuing thesis research related to the BPRI's mission are eligible to apply. Applications for a fellowship may be submitted at any time.


Call for Proposals

The BPRI invites submission of research proposals for the '15-'16 academic year. Any WWU faculty member with an employment agreement for that year is eligible to apply. Submission deadline is January 12, 2015.


2014-2015 James W. Scott Research Fellowships

Western Washington University's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS) welcomes applications for James W. Scott Regional Research Fellowships, which award up to $1,000 for research using archival holdings at the CPNWS. Clear here to learn more.