In politics, temporal measurements are nearly ubiquitous. Youths must wait 18 years for the right to vote; prison sentences punish people in quantities of time; and immigrants who seek to naturalize must undergo a probationary period before becoming citizens. In these and other examples, time serves as a form of political currency that can be exchanged for rights. That is, increments of time are used to represent different values, such as loyalty, civic knowledge, or cultural assimilation; and then these increments are inserted along with other variables into formulae that confer or deny rights. The deployment of time in this way creates a political economy of time in which durations of time are used as currency for states and citizens to transact over rights. This article studies the effects of the political economy of time on immigrants in the United States during the post-1965 era. The article shows that their time has slowly been devalued over the past half century and reveals the potential of actions, such as deferred departure, to create and legitimize a class of permanent semi-citizens.
- U.S. immigration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science