The 2016 presidential election foregrounded public debates about immigration, national security, and belonging in ways that scholars have struggled to understand. The hardline stances on immigration emanating from the new presidential administration—from Executive Orders aimed at suspending migration from designated majority-Muslim countries to the proposal to “build a wall” on the US-Mexico border—represent to many a daunting expression of how the federal government plans on exercising its power to conduct immigrant surveillance, detention, and deportation. In this environment, how the United States came to be a “gatekeeping nation” is again a topic of considerable importance. This special issue of the JAEH seeks to historicize the current political moment.
The editors welcome submissions on the history of the following:
• Development of the immigration enforcement apparatus;
• Functionality of immigration controls during various eras of enforcement;
• Organization of immigrant communities and activists to contest and resist;
• Governance of national borders in relation to immigration policy;
• Attitudes and policies toward refugees, as well as the refugee experience;
• Development of asylum policies, especially in relation to immigration
restrictions and controls;
• Origins of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and its predecessors;
• Detention facilities and prosecutorial strategies used to remove immigrants;
• Cultural responses to restrictive immigration policies and enforcement practices; and
• Immigrant and ethnic publics’ use of art, literature, music, and other mediums as modes of criticism.
The editors encourage submissions that examine immigration policies through the multiple frameworks required to understand border surveillance; and that examine the politics of immigration control as both involving federal, state, and municipal actors—as well as social workers, legal advocates, and community and religious leaders—working to disparate ends.
Chantel Rodríguez, University of Maryland, College Park
Andy Urban, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
September 1, 2017