52 University of California Davis Law Review 197 (2018)
58 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 30, 2019
Several decades into its existence, crimmigration law has grown into an intricate body of legal doctrine and law-enforcement practices. It is motivated by a fear of migrant criminality and centered around a fetishization of heavy-handed governmental approaches to migrants. Despite its maturation, the moment is ripe for critiques of crimmigration law’s hold on legal doctrine, law enforcement, and political rhetoric. This Article traces crimmigration law’s origins and details its harms to people, institutions, and law before offering a theoretical challenge to crimmigration law. Recent developments in membership theory and the place of human dignity in carceral practices suggest a route toward a compelling, though limited, legal regime regarding migrants that turns away from the security-laden methods that characterize crimmigration law. Perhaps by embracing membership theory’s hard look at who forms part of the polity and why, then pairing it with the premise that every person is entitled to the means of pursuing a dignified life, the United States could begin deconstructing crimmigration.
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