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Strange Neighbors

The Role of States in Immigration Policy

Carissa Byrne Hessick

Publication Year: 2014

Since its founding, the U.S. has struggled with issues of federalism and states’ rights. In almost every area of law, from abortion to zoning, conflicts arise between the states and the federal government over which entity is best suited to create and enforce laws. In the last decade, immigration has been on the front lines of this debate, with states such as Arizona taking an extremely assertive role in policing immigrants within their borders. While Arizona and its notorious SB 1070 is the most visible example of states claiming expanded responsibility to make and enforce immigration law, it is far from alone. An ordinance in Hazelton, Pennsylvania prohibited landlords from renting to the undocumented. Several states have introduced legislation to deny citizenship to babies who are born to parents who are in the United States without authorization. Other states have also enacted legislation aimed at driving out unauthorized migrants.

Strange Neighbors explores the complicated and complicating role of the states in immigration policy and enforcement, including voices from both sides of the debate. While many contributors point to the dangers inherent in state regulation of immigration policy, at least two support it, while others offer empirically-based examinations of state efforts to regulate immigration within their borders, pointing to wide, state-by-state disparities in locally-administered immigration policies and laws. Ultimately, the book offers an extremely timely, thorough, and spirited discussion on an issue that will continue to dominate state and federal legislatures for years to come.

Published by: NYU Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book would not have been possible without the hard work and support of many individuals. First and foremost, we would like to thank Marc Miller and Toni Massaro. Their collaboration on our early work about Arizona’s S.B. 1070 laid the groundwork for many of the ideas we...

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Gabriel J. Chin and Carissa Byrne Hessick

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pp. 1-18

In 2010, Arizona ignited a national controversy over state regulation of immigration. It did so by enacting S.B. 1070, a statute through which Arizona tried to encourage undocumented immigrants to “self-deport”— i.e., voluntarily leave the state—by creating an inhospitable...

Part I. The Recent Spate of State and Local Immigration Regulation

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1. Measuring the Climate for Immigrants: A State-by-State Analysis

Huyen Pham and Pham Hoang Van

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pp. 21-39

In the fierce debate about subfederal immigration regulation, Arizona has become the focus of national attention. Its Senate Bill 1070, which gives police broad authority to detain people for immigration violations, has been described as “the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration...

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2. How Arizona Became Ground Zero in the War on Immigrants

Douglas S. Massey

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pp. 40-60

The nation’s current immigration crisis and Arizona’s controversial role in it didn’t just happen. Both outcomes are a direct result of poorly conceived immigration and border policies implemented by the United States over the past fifty years, which have created today’s large undocumented...

Part II. Historical Antecedents to the Modern State and Local Efforts to Regulate Immigration

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3. “A War to Keep Alien Labor out of Colorado”: The “Mexican Menace” and the Historical Origins of Local and State Anti-Immigration Initiatives

Tom I. Romero II

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pp. 63-96

In the early months of 1935, the governor of Colorado, “Big” Ed Johnson, initiated the first of several measures intended to deter undocumented immigrant labor from Mexico from entering the state. Animated by speculation that an “alien menace” from Mexico not only exacerbated...

Part III. A Defense of State and Local Efforts

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4. Reinforcing the Rule of Law: What States Can and Should Do to Reduce Illegal Immigration

Kris W. Kobach

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pp. 99-129

In the 2007 state legislative session, something truly extraordinary happened. For the first time ever, legislators in all fifty states introduced bills dealing with illegal immigration. A whopping 1,562 illegal immigration bills were submitted, up from 570 in 2006.1 Of the bills submitted...

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5. The States Enter the Illegal Immigration Fray

John C. Eastman

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pp. 130-164

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” These iconic words from Emma Lazarus’s famous poem, penned to help raise funds for the construction of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal in the 1880s, are widely believed to reflect the purpose...

Part IV. A Critical Evaluation of the New State Regulation

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6. Broken Mirror: The Unconstitutional Foundations of New State Immigration Enforcement

Gabriel J. Chin and Marc L. Miller

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pp. 167-197

The mirror-image theory of cooperative state enforcement of federal immigration law proposes that states can help carry out federal immigration policy by enacting and enforcing state laws that mirror federal statutes. The mirror-image theory provided the legal foundation for...

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7. The Role of States in the National Conversation on Immigration

Rick Su

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pp. 198-228

What is the role of states in immigration policy and enforcement? Though this question has long been an issue of concern for jurists and policymakers, developments in recent years have made it all the more pressing. One reason is the sheer volume of immigration-related activity...

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8. Post-Racial Proxy Battles over Immigration

Mary Fan

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pp. 229-258

Amid economic and political turmoil, anti-immigrant legislation has flared again among a handful of fiercely determined states.1 To justify the intrusion into national immigration enforcement, the dissident states invoke imagery of invading hordes of “illegals”2—though the...

About the Contributors

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pp. 259-262


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pp. 263-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780814764862
E-ISBN-10: 081476486x
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814737804
Print-ISBN-10: 0814737803

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 876834358
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Strange Neighbors

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Emigration and immigration law -- United States.
  • Emigration and immigration law -- United States -- States.
  • Exclusive and concurrent legislative powers -- United States.
  • States' rights (American politics).
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