1st Edition

The Politics of Immigration Across the United States Every State a Border State?

By Gary M. Reich Copyright 2021
    208 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In recent years, Republicans and Democrats have drifted toward polarized immigration policy positions, forestalling congressional efforts at comprehensive reform. In this book Gary M. Reich helps explain why some states have enacted punitive policies toward their immigrant populations, while others have stepped up efforts to consider all immigrants as de facto citizens.

    Reich argues that state policies reflect differing immigrant communities across states. In states where large-scale immigration was a recent phenomenon, immigrants became an electorally-enticing target of restrictionist advocates within the Republican party. Conversely established immigrant communities steadily strengthened their ties to civic organizations and their role in Democratic electoral and legislative politics. Reich contends that these diverging demographic trends at the state level were central to the increasing partisan polarization surrounding immigration nationally. He concludes that immigration federalism at present suffers from an internal contradiction that proliferates conflict across all levels of government. As long as Congress is incapable of addressing the plight of unauthorized immigrants and establishing a consensus on immigration admissions, state policies inevitably expand legal uncertainty and partisan wrangling.

    The Politics of Immigration Across the United States will appeal to scholars and instructors in the fields of immigration policy, social policy, and state government and politics. The book will also encourage public policy practitioners to reflect critically on their work.

    1. The New Immigration Federalism: The Great Divergence

    2. Party, Polarization, and Place: The Sources of State Immigrant Policies

    3. States in the Changing Landscape of American Immigration

    4. Policy Divergence in Immigrant-Rich States: California and Texas

    5. Grassroots Restriction in New Gateway States: Arizona and North Carolina

    6. "Dreamers" versus "Illegals:" Voting Behavior in State Legislatures

    7. The Disequilibrium of Immigration Federalism


    Gary M. Reich is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kansas where he teaches courses in public policy and comparative politics. His research on immigration policy has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Policy Studies Journal, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Research and Politics, and Publius: The Journal of Federalism. He also published widely in comparative politics, with work appearing in Comparative Political Studies, Political Research Quarterly, Electoral Studies, and Latin American Politics and Society.

    "Reich’s book moves beyond static, snapshot analyses of state-level immigration policy to investigate the role that partisanship but also citizen mobilization play in shaping state legislative responses to immigration over the past two decades. This is a consequential addition to our understanding not only of aggregate state policy but also of legislative decision-making in the immigration domain."

    Alexandra Filindra, Associate Professor of Political Science & Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

    "This historically rich, politically insightful, and thoroughly informative book reminds us that states play a crucial role in immigration policies, but it also shows us how and why. Through a deep dive into party and immigration politics in Arizona, California, North Carolina, and Texas, Reich illuminates key forces at the state level that create distinct contexts for immigration. This is a significant contribution to immigration scholarship with important policy relevance. I highly recommend it."

    Cecilia Menjívar, Dorothy L. Meier Endowed Chair in Social Equities, University of California, Los Angeles