Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1566184
 
 

Footnotes (237)



 


 



When Immigration Borders Move


Huyen Pham


Texas A&M University - School of Law

January 1, 2008

Florida Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 5, 2009

Abstract:     
With recent immigration enforcement efforts, we have created a completely new paradigm of moving borders: laws, enacted at all levels of government, that require proof of legal immigration status in order to obtain a driver’s license, a job, rental housing, government need-based assistance, and numerous other essential benefits. Unlike the fixed physical border, these laws require proof of immigration status at multiple, moving points within the country’s interior and are triggered through everyday transactions; if unable to prove her legal status, a person is denied the restricted benefit. If a person is denied access to multiple essential benefits, then she is effectively denied the ability to live in the United States.

What is the significance of the moving border paradigm? Why are federal, state, and local governments, in so many different parts of the country, enacting these laws? To answer these questions, this Article explores the formation of moving border laws and the policies driving the growth of moving border laws: to reinforce our physical borders, to preserve resources (particularly government-funded resources) for those lawfully present, and to communicate symbolic messages including prejudice toward immigrants and certain ethnic groups identified as immigrants.

Yet, to truly understand the significance of moving border laws, we need to understand how these laws have influenced our notions of national membership. Now more than ever, legal immigration status has become the threshold characteristic when defining our national community. Thus, in an effort to emphasize legal status, undocumented immigrants have been pushed from the periphery, where they once exercised limited but real rights, to outside the boundaries of our national membership. However, in trying to elevate lawful immigration status, moving border laws have had the ironic and unintended effect of devaluing all forms of legal status. Stated simply, the enforcement of moving border laws increases racial and ethnic profiling against Latinos and others who don’t “look American,” even if they have legal status or even citizenship. For them, the laws create permanent borders of discrimination.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: Immigration, Citizenship, Transnational Crossings, Borders, Membership, Government Benefits

JEL Classification: K39

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: March 7, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Pham, Huyen, When Immigration Borders Move (January 1, 2008). Florida Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 5, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1566184

Contact Information

Huyen Pham (Contact Author)
Texas A&M University (TAMU) - School of Law ( email )
1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 867
Downloads: 43
Footnotes:  237

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.266 seconds