American Immigration Law and Policy in Historical Perspective

History 103D.007

Fall 2007
Instructor (text): 
14 Haviland
Day & Time: 
Mon 12-2
S. Deborah Kang received her Ph.D. in United States History and her M.A. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California at Berkeley. During the 2006-2007 academic year, she was a Research Fellow at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University where she completed a historical study of passport and border crossing policies for publication in a forthcoming volume, Bridging National Borders in North America. At present, she is revising a book manuscript, The Legal Construction of the Borderlands: The INS, Immigration Law, and Immigrant Rights on the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1917-1954. The study brings together her interests in legal, immigration, and western history to provide one of the first accounts of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and its operations on the nation's southern border.

Immigration reform has been a subject of major debate among the nation's politicians and policymakers. This course explores the historical origins of these contemporary debates, offering an overview of American immigration policy from the colonial period to the present. As a survey of immigration law and policy, the course traces the development of the major legal, political, and institutional (particularly the Border Patrol and the INS) mechanisms used to regulate immigration over time. At the same time, the course examines the impact of American immigration law and policy on the immigrants themselves, specifically on the formation of immigrant communities, the political behavior of immigrant groups, ethnic and race relations, and notions of membership and citizenship in American society. In the simplest terms, this seminar offers a comprehensive overview of American immigration law and its relationship to American society. Since this class will be taught from a multidisciplinary perspective, class assignments will include a variety of materials such as legal and government documents, primary sources such as oral histories and newspaper articles, as well as historical monographs and essays.