I recently published an introduction to a group of essays about the reappearance of old fears about immigrants in today’s immigration policymaking. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Immigrant Outsider, Alien Invader: Immigration Policing Today, 48 California Western Law Review 231 (2012). Despite the unprecedented scope of today’s policing apparatus, I wrote (in the abstract), there is reason for hope:
Immigration policing has become a high-tech, multi-pronged affair financed annually by billions of dollars of personnel and the tools of their trade: prisons, weapons, massive computer databases, and more. The unprecedented scope of today’s policing apparatus stems from familiar policy concerns demonizing immigrants as dangerous outsiders. This introduction to a cluster of essays appearing in the LatCrit XVI symposium issue argues that old fears supported by new technologies should not be reason for despair. On the contrary, the collective efforts of engaged academics, activists, and litigators is reason to be hopeful that in the long-run the rhetoric of immigrant dangerousness will be replaced by policymaking that values immigrants’ full humanity.
I would like to think that the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States, No. 11-182, slip op. (U.S. June 25, 2012), coming as it did after years of virulent anti-immigrant hysteria, lends some weight to my hopeful vision of the future. As I wrote in the closing paragraph,
None of these interventions is ever perfect and many ultimately do not achieve the desired outcome. All of these interventions, however, lay the foundation for another and another. Standing on those efforts, those of us who long for a country devoid of mythical stories of alien invaders hope that one day, sooner rather than later, we can raise the height of our advocacy enough to tower above the quivers of fear that for too long have propelled immigration policy making.
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