Immigration Reforms and Border Security Technologies

The use of information technology for border security has been central to the many immigration reform proposals introduced in the U.S. Congress and the debate that has ensued.[1. I am very grateful to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for supporting my research and to the German Marshall Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation […]

Understanding Contemporary Immigration Debates: The Need for A Multidimensional Approach

Racial loyalties and predjudices have historically weighed heavily in American immigration debates. So accustomed have Americans become to racialized perspectives that both advocates and analysts tend to expect that the arguments of partisans for particular policies, whether for or against restrictionist or expansionist goals, are motivated by racial bias even when other factors may be […]

Immigration and Insecurity: Post-9/11 Fear in the United States

The attacks of September 11, 2001, transformed the landscape of global security, none more than borders and immigration. The topography of citizenship, belonging, and suspicion instantly changed for Arab and Muslim communities in the United States. They drew the sharp attention of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence services, and that continues. But the public’s focus […]

The Bits of a New Immigration Reality: A Bad Fit with Current Policy

When Mexico’s (former) President Fox met with undocumented Mexican immigrants during his visit to the US this past May, his actions amounted to the making of a new informal jurisdiction. His actions did not fit into existing legal forms that give sovereign states specific types of extraterritorial authority. Nonetheless, his actions were not seen as […]

Labor and the New Immigrant Rights Movement: Lessons from California

The groundswell of immigrant rights demonstrations that emerged across the nation in reaction to the passage of the Sensenbrenner bill (H.R. 4437) by the U.S. House of Representatives in late 2005 took many by surprise. Yet this wave of protest did not come out of nowhere. The groundwork was laid by over a decade of […]

The Impact of Immigration on American Society: Looking Backward to the Future

Introduction Even as most Americans celebrate their heritage and identity as a “nation of immigrants,” there is deep ambivalence about future immigration. There is a strong base of support for continued immigration as a necessary ingredient for economic growth and as an essential element of a cosmopolitan society among many Americans. Almost 60 million people— […]

Great Migration Debates: Keywords in Historical Perspective

When confronting recent debates, historians of migration often muse over similarities between past and present. Certainly there are so many continuities in the positive and negative qualities attributed to foreigners a century ago and today that one wonders whether any new data could ever possibly resolve such long-standing disagreements. Here, however, I want to focus […]

Migrant “Illegality” and the Metaphysics of Antiterrorism: “Immigrants’ Rights” in the Aftermath of the Homeland Security State

The mass protest mobilizations in defense of the rights of immigrants, and especially the undocumented, took the United States by storm during the spring of 2006, with half a million marching in Chicago on March 10 (reportedly the largest single demonstration on record in the city’s history), at least a million in Los Angeles on […]