Inside Immigration Law analyses the practice of implementing immigration law, examining the different political and organisational forces that influence the process. Based on unparalleled academic access to the German migration management system, this book provides new insights into the ’black box’ of regulating immigration, revealing how the application of immigration law to individual cases can be chaotic, improvised and sometimes arbitrary, and either informed or distorted by the complex, politically laden and changeable nature of both German and EU immigration laws. Drawing on extensive empirical material, including participant observation, interviews and analyses of public as well as confidential documents in German immigration offices, Inside Immigration Law unveils the complex practices of decision-making and work organisation in a politically contested environment. A comparative, critical evaluation of the work of offices that examines the discretion and client interactions of bureaucrats, the management of legal knowledge and symbolism and the relationships between immigration offices and external political forces, this book will be of interest to sociologists, legal scholars and political scientists working in the areas of migration, integration and the study of work and organisations.
Tobias G. Eule is Lecturer at the Institute for Sociology, University of Bern, Switzerland.
’In this scrupulously researched study of the decision-making practices of street-level bureaucrats, Eule shows us immigration law as experienced by migrants themselves. Operating in contexts marked by legal complexity, Inside Immigration Law offers a compelling account of the implementation of residence law as shaped as much by collective oral tradition as by law itself. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in immigration, law, and bureaucracy.’ Antje Ellermann, University of British Columbia, Canada ’This innovative ethnography of the German immigration bureaucracy gives unique insight into the chaotic but most often adequate workings of street-level "law in action". Beautifully written and trenchantly argued, this work by a rising star is a milestone for a legal sociology of immigration.’ Christian Joppke, University of Bern, Switzerland