Panel Paper: Immigrant Inclusion and Federated Citizenship in the United States

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Ogden (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Allan Colbern, Arizona State University and Karthick Ramakrishnan, University of California, Riverside

Immigration law is no longer the exclusive domain of the federal government, and a growing number of state laws have pushed towards greater immigrant integration, on matters ranging from in-state tuition and financial aid to undocumented students, to expanded health benefits and access to driver’s licenses. In this article, we explore what integrationist laws mean for our notions of citizenship, and address two questions: what is the "historical maximum" and what is the "theoretical maximum" of citizenship when considering subfederal policies that integrate undocumented immigrants in the United States and elsewhere? 

Specifically, we trace and map how immigrants have historically been integrated by state and local policies throughout United States history, providing a broad empirical lens for understanding inclusion. Additionally, we explore the full constitutional and legal scope of what states can do with respect to immigrant rights, benefits, free movement, civic participation, and sense of belongingWe argue that pro-immigrant integration laws, cumulative over time, create a de facto regime of state citizenship, one that operates in parallel to national citizenship and, in some important ways, exceeds the standards of national citizenship. 

Turning to California, which has gone the furthest in this regard, both with respect to the number of pro-integration laws passed since 2000, and in their collective scope, we explore how de facto state citizenship today maps onto our typologies of federated citizenship, and explore the dynamics that produce expansions and contractions in state citizenship over time.