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State Policies: Evasion, Implementation and Impact on Livelihood and Welfare of Refugees and Recent Migrants

Mon, August 12, 4:30 to 6:10pm, Sheraton New York, Floor: Second Floor, Metropolitan Ballroom West


This paper focuses on the central role of the state in destabilizing immigrants’ lives and pushing them to the margins by examining the different forms of displacement (physical, geographic, social, economic) that the immigration bureaucracy makes possible. The legislative side of the immigration bureaucracy narrows paths to legalization, restricts entry, creates ever more insecure statuses, and destabilizes previously secured ones, keeping immigrants from having a foot in the door for membership and belonging, thus displacing immigrants socioeconomically. The enforcement side of the bureaucracy removes immigrants physically from their families and communities (through detention) and displaces them geographically (through deportation). Not all immigrants are bureaucratically displaced in the same fashion, but racialized legal status plays a key role. Thus, although Latinos bear the brunt of the displacement, under the current administration an expanding group of racialized immigrants are also being displaced, marginalized and excluded.