Unsecured Borders: Immigration Restrictions, Crime Control and National Security

66 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2007

See all articles by Jennifer M. Chacón

Jennifer M. Chacón

University of California, Irvine School of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies


In this Article, I explore the origins and consequences of the blurred boundaries between immigration control, crime control and national security, specifically as related to the removal of non-citizens. Part II of this Article focuses on the question of how immigration control and crime control issues have come to be subsumed by national security rhetoric. Discussions about the removal of non-citizens have been treated as national security issues, when in fact the driving motivation is basic criminal law enforcement. Part III of this Article disentangles the use of removal for criminal and immigration law enforcement ends from national security removals. Non-citizens are seldom removed on national security grounds. At the same time, the government has relied upon national security justifications to explain the removals of thousands of non-citizens who pose no demonstrated security risk. This strategy does little to enhance national security, and undermines the important national security objective of protecting civil liberties. Part IV of this Article explains that although the vast majority of removals effectuated each year are carried out on the basis of a non-citizen's violation of the immigration law or criminal law, there is little reason to believe that the recent expansion in the removal of non-citizens will serve as an effective or efficient means of decreasing domestic crime or preventing undocumented migration. The insistence on formulating immigration policy while gazing through a distorted lens of national security perversely ensures that the law is ill-suited to achieve either national security or other immigration policy goals.

Suggested Citation

Chacón, Jennifer M., Unsecured Borders: Immigration Restrictions, Crime Control and National Security. Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 5, 2007; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 123; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2009-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1028569

Jennifer M. Chacón (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
530-754-5700 (Phone)

University of Oxford - Border Criminologies ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

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