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Institutional Racism, ICE Raids, and Immigration Reform

University of San Fransisco Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 1, 2009

UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 197

50 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2009  

Bill Ong Hing

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: December 18, 2009

Abstract

This Article argues that the structure of immigration laws has institutionalized a set of values that dehumanize, demonize, and criminalize immigrants of color. The result is that these victims stop being Mexicans, Latinos, or Chinese and become “illegal immigrants.” We are aware of their race or ethnicity, but we believe we are acting against them because of their status, not because of their race. This institutionalized racism made the Bush ICE raids natural and acceptable in the minds of the general public. Institutionalized racism allows the public to think ICE raids are freeing up jobs for native workers without recognizing the racial ramifications. Objections to ICE raids and the Border Patrol’s Operation Gatekeeper are debated in non-racial terms. However, not viewing these operations from an institutionalized racial perspective inhibits the total revamping of our immigration system that needs to take place. Part I begins with a description of selected ICE raids. Part II follows with a discussion of the institutional racism that is grounded in the history of U.S. immigration laws and policies. Part III explains how the racial history of immigration policy has become institutionalized so that seemingly neutral policies actually have racial effects. Understanding the historical underpinnings of race-driven immigration policy offers a broader range of solutions to current policy and enforcement challenges. Recognizing the racist nature of the system allows for a framework to remedy a racist system.

Keywords: immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE raids, racism

Suggested Citation

Hing, Bill Ong, Institutional Racism, ICE Raids, and Immigration Reform (December 18, 2009). University of San Fransisco Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 1, 2009; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 197. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1525578

Bill Hing (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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