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IBS Seminar Series: Constructing Citizenship for Noncitizens – Lunch Available

October 18, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Ming Chen (CU Law School)

Abstract: The United States has long taken a laissez faire approach toward immigrant integration and has focused almost exclusively on enforcement of formal immigration status for the last decade: preventing unlawful entry, detaining those lacking documentation, and deporting for a range of status violations. This status-obsession is bad for noncitizens and citizens alike. Based on interviews with one hundred immigrants of varying legal statuses, I find that the enforcement bias has negative effects for the outcomes and meaning of citizenship. Legal noncitizens with a pathway to formal citizenship naturalize only half the time and, when they do, they experience limits on substantive belonging. Undocumented noncitizens and temporary migrants who lack a pathway to citizenship are even more negatively impacted than legal noncitizens. These blocked pathways stymie immigrant integration, even for the select subgroups of immigrants privileged by the U.S. federal government. The result of the result of an enforcement-minded national immigration policy is a socially disintegrated polity. The book promotes an alternative vision for immigration policy premised on stronger pathways to citizenship at each stage of the journey to full membership: from newcomer to resident to citizen.

Bio: Ming Hsu Chen is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she is a faculty member of the law school. She directs the Immigration Law and Policy Program and holds faculty affiliations in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. Professor Chen brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of immigration, civil rights, and the administrative state. In the law school, she teaches a variety of law and social science courses including Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, Administrative Law, Legislation & Regulation, Law & Politics: Race in America, and Law & Social Change. Her research examines the role of federal regulatory agencies in promoting the integration of immigrants and racial minorities into U.S. society. She also writes about the legitimacy of executive action in immigration law.

Professor Chen sits on the Colorado Advisory Council to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Prior to joining the legal academy, Professor Chen clerked for the Honorable James R. Browning on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. She also worked for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, and the Brookings Institution. She earned degrees from the University of California Berkeley (Ph.D 2011), New York University Law School (JD 2004), and Harvard College (AB 2000).

Co-sponsored by the Colorado Immigration Scholars Network


October 18, 2018
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


CU Population Center
Population Program
Colorado Immigration Scholars Network


IBS 155B
Institute of Behavioral Science 1440 15th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
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