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  • Who Polices Immigration?

    Amada Armenta

    Chapter from the book: Armenta, A. 2017. Protect, Serve, and Deport: The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement.


    This chapter explains how the different levels of government have grappled with their roles in managing migration. In the U.S., individual states were responsible for immigration enforcement until a series of Supreme Court decisions in the 1880s and 1890s redrew the lines of immigration authority for federal, state, and local governments. These decisions established Congress’s virtually unreviewable authority in the area of immigration law, but allowed for states and localities to pass some laws that affected immigrants. Local law enforcement agencies have played a supporting role in immigration enforcement, even after legal and judicial opinions established that officers do not have civil immigration enforcement authority. Today, the authority of states and localities to control immigration is once again under debate. Over the last twenty years, the federal government has created new openings for local law enforcement agencies to participate in immigration enforcement. In addition, state and local governments have taken it upon themselves to enter into the immigration policy arena, passing a multitude of pro- and anti- immigrant policies directed at unauthorized immigrant residents. Then, as in now, these policy choices convey powerful messages about race, nation, and citizenship.

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    Armenta, A. 2017. Who Polices Immigration?. In: Armenta, A, Protect, Serve, and Deport. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.33.b

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Additional Information

    Published on June 27, 2017


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