Rights, obligations and the making of modern immigration laws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


States across the United States are increasingly enacting harsh and punitive immigration laws to encourage what proponents refer to as self-deportation. This paper examines the ideological forces that are nurturing and legitimizing this movement. It specifically focuses on the notion of the good citizen as an ideological construct that inherently makes the undocumented immigrant a threat that must be neutralized for the sake of maintaining law and order. In this way, the good citizen emerges as a natural threat to the undocumented immigrant, as the good citizen is presumably first and foremost obligated to be law-abiding, including upholding laws that aim to push undocumented immigrants to self-deport. This paper looks at how these new immigration laws reify and expand this threat through the notion of good citizenship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-33
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Discrimination and the Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Citizenship
  • Communication theory
  • Immigration
  • Immigration laws
  • Intercultural communication theory
  • Jr
  • Just laws
  • Martin Luther King
  • Opposition to immigration
  • The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Unjust laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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