Universities as Vehicles for Immigrant Integration
23 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 21, 2019
This Essay discusses how universities could play a productive role in helping potential future U.S. citizens feel a sense of belonging to the United States. This discussion is prompted by, and is offered as a reaction to, Chapter Four of Professor Ming Hsu Chen’s forthcoming book, Constructing Citizenship for Noncitizens. In that chapter, Professor Chen focuses on the “blocked pathways to citizenship” experienced by international students, temporary workers, and DACA recipients in the United States. Professor Chen notes that these three groups of noncitizens share a common thread of status insecurity, and she explores how this challenges their integration into the United States. She concludes that the legal, social, economic, and political connections of these migrants can be strengthened if the federal government improves legal pathways to citizenship and focuses on immigrant integration.
This Essay begins with a summary of Professor Chen’s argument. This Essay then suggests that, for the international-student segment of noncitizens Professor Chen discusses, American universities have the potential to serve as a “force multiplier” for the goals of immigrant integration that she identifies. In other words, U.S. universities can lay a foundation for integration that will abet Professor Chen’s proposed policy realignments in helping migrants see themselves as future U.S. citizens.
Keywords: immigration, integration, universities, students, citizenship
JEL Classification: K1, K37, I23, I2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation