Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Robert E. Blobaum

Committee Co-Chair

Joshua Arthurs

Committee Member

James Siekmeier


The purpose of this thesis is to present the U.S. policy towards Polish immigration to the U.S. during the two decades of 1980's and 1990's and assess its impact and consequences on Polish immigrants. Using primary and secondary sources, this work primarily aims to answer the question whether and how U.S. immigration policy in 1980's and 1990's affected Polish immigration to the U.S. The first chapter outlines the nature of American immigration policy and demonstrates the evolution of the U.S. immigration and refugee policy. I answer the question of how the U.S. immigration and refugee system evolved in the past and on what principals it was based. In the second section I analyze the impact of the main U.S. immigration and refugee laws on Polish immigration in the last decade of communism in Poland. In the third chapter, I analyze how the main U.S. immigration policies impacted Polish immigration to the U.S. after collapse of communism in Poland. I demonstrate that while Polish immigrants were no longer eligible to apply for refugee status, the number immigrating to the U.S. did not decrease. Poles immigrated to the U.S. on the basis of different laws. This study was conducted both at West Virginia University (USA) and Collegium Civitas (Poland).