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Criminalizing the Undocumented: Ironic Boundaries of the Post-September 11th 'Pale of Law'

33 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2006  

Daniel Kanstroom

Boston College - Law School


The general hypothesis put forth in this Article is that well-accepted historical matrices are increasingly inadequate to address the complex issues raised by various U.S. government practices in the so-called "war on terrorism." The Article describes certain stresses that have recently built upon two major legal dichotomies: the citizen/non-citizen and criminal/civil lines. Professor Kanstroom reviews the use of the citizen/non-citizen dichotomies as part of the post-September 11th enforcement regime and considers the increasing convergence between the immigration and criminal justice systems. Professor Kanstroom concludes by suggesting the potential emergence of a disturbing new legal system, which contains the worst features of both legal dichotomies.

Keywords: immigration law, September 11, 2001, USA Patriot Act, CLEAR Act, HSEA Act, war on terrorism, non-citizen, undocumented citizen, criminal law, criminal justice system, immigration system, deportation, civil rights, human rights

Suggested Citation

Kanstroom, Daniel, Criminalizing the Undocumented: Ironic Boundaries of the Post-September 11th 'Pale of Law'. North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, Vol. 29, pp. 639-670, 2004; Boston College Law School Research Paper No. 2004-02. Available at SSRN:

Daniel Kanstroom (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States

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