With a Little Help from Our Feds: Understanding State/Federal Cooperation on Immigration Enforcement
40 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 25 Aug 2010
Date Written: 2010
State and local police have clear authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to enforce violations of federal immigration law when they are accompanied by a criminal act, but whether they have the authority to detain individuals for their civil violation of federal immigration law is still an open question. The answer has deep policy consequences, as being present in the U.S. illegally is a civil, not a criminal, offense. In this study, we identify which states have entered into a cooperative agreement with the federal government that allows their law enforcement personnel to assist the federal government in identifying offenders of civil immigration law. Then, employing an event history model, we test which state-level political, demographic, geographic, and economic determinants affect the choice to adopt such a policy. Our findings indicate that each of these determinant types provides motivation for policy adoption, from the partisanship of the state's governor to state expenditures on public welfare to the size of the state‘s Hispanic population to whether a state‘s localities have also entered into such a cooperative relationship.
Keywords: federalism, immigration, state policy, law enforcement
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