Designing Populations: Lessons in Power and Population Production from Nineteenth-Century Immigration Law
16 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2011 Last revised: 22 Oct 2015
Date Written: February 9, 2011
This response to Kerry Abrams’ insightful piece, The Hidden Dimension of 19th-Century Immigration Law, applies to modern population design the lessons Abrams excavates from the history of U.S. western migration. It employs Hidden Dimension to bring historical depth to two issues in contemporary immigration law: the integration of noncitizens into U.S. communities, and the role of federal, state, and local government and private individuals in regulating migration. Using nineteenth-century law facilitating white Christian migration as a precedent, this piece explores how the interplay between immigration regulation and mainstream law can be a leading edge in the integration of migrants into incumbent communities. Abrams’ historical tale also sheds light on the modern power of subnational governments and private decisionmakers either to disrupt or to foster the acceptance of new migrants into U.S. communities.
Keywords: Immigration, Integration, Nineteenth Century, Immigration Law History, Mercer, Immigration Federalism, Population Design
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