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.


BPRI presents research at cross-border summit

July 25, 2014

BPRI recently participated in the Pacific Northwest Economic Region annual summit, an organization whose collaborative focus on issues ranging from energy to agriculture is increasingly influencing how national debates and issues are resolved.

Welcome, Laurie Trautman

July 1, 2014

Laurie Trautman, Ph.D., joined the BPRI as its new Associate Director, replacing David Davidson.


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.

Thesis Fellowship

The BPRI sponsors one or more Thesis Fellows each year. A Fellow 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.