Cohen critiques U.S. immigration enforcement agencies in new book
Elizabeth F. Cohen, professor of political
science and senior research associate with the Campbell Public Affairs
Institute, has written Illegal: How
America’s Lawless Immigration Regime Threatens Us All, recently published
by Basic Books.
In the book, Cohen assesses a long history of
nativism and anti-immigrant antagonism that she describes as driving forces in
U.S. immigration policy, and which began to reemerge during the 1980s. Illegal describes lacking oversight of and
increasing militarization within immigration enforcement agencies over recent
years. It includes, as well, an historical analysis of the social production of
legal and illegal as immigration typologies — conceptions, she says, that have
allowed immigration enforcement to operate at, and sometimes beyond, the limits
of constitutionality. The book ends with an analysis of how increased attention
on national security over the past two decades has substantially scaled up immigration
enforcement efforts across the United States. Cohen concludes that there is a
serious need to rethink U.S. naturalization law and its enforcement, aimed at
treating immigrants as potential citizens rather than criminals.
Cohen, who joined the Maxwell School in 2004,
researches the intersections of contemporary and modern political theory, the
history of political thought, and questions surrounding immigration and
citizenship. She recently started a four-year term as associate editor of the American Journal of Political Science.
In 2018, Cohen received the best book award
from the American Political Science Association, Migration and Citizenship
section, for her book, The Political
Value of Time: Citizenship, Duration, and Democratic Justice (Cambridge
University Press, 2018). She is also the author of Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics (Cambridge University Press,
2009) and, with Cyril A. Ghosh, Citizenship
(Polity Press, 2019).
For more information on Illegal, you can visit the publisher’s website.