A Multilayered Jurisdictional Patchwork: Immigration Federalism in the United States
36 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 2010
This paper focuses on the immigration-related demands currently being placed on local police in the United States, and the emergence of what we call a “multilayered jurisdictional patchwork” (MJP) of immigration enforcement. The evolving relationship between layers of government involved in enforcing immigration laws, sometimes dubbed “immigration federalism,” has so far received more attention from legal scholars than from social scientists. Against this backdrop, we report results from nationwide surveys of city police chiefs and county sheriffs and intensive fieldwork in three jurisdictions. The enforcement landscape we describe is complicated by the varying and over-lapping responsibilities of sheriffs and city police, and by the tendency for sheriffs to maintain closer relationships with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities. We highlight the contradictions inherent in this patchwork through case studies of Mesa, Arizona; New Haven, Connecticut; and Raleigh, North Carolina. We conclude by reflecting on the implications of the MJP - for immigrants, for their communities, and for the evolving relationship between levels of government in the federal system.
Keywords: immigration federalism, United States, immigration politics
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By Huyen Pham