Event—Scholarly Seminars

Lauren Duquette-Rury, Wayne State University, and Julian Lim, Arizona State University


Naturalizing Under Threat? Becoming a Citizen in the Age of Immigration Enforcement, Lauren Duquette-Rury

Federal statutory changes in 1996 ushered in a qualitative shift in policies and policing that have affected noncitizens’ security and belonging in the United States and their access to the welfare system. Meanwhile, at the state and local level, some places became more welcoming to noncitizens, extending social rights and benefits and refusing to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts, while others adopted more restrictive discourse and deeds. This paper examines how sociopolitical threats—direct and vicarious sources of harm from restrictive legislation and immigration enforcement policies and policing influence the naturalization of eligible lawful permanent residents’ (LPRs). While studies show how LPRs’ material and symbolic resources and mobilization by civil society organizations affect naturalization—the ability dimension—they are remiss in theorizing the motivation dimension. This project mends the gap by elucidating how ability interacts with LPRs’ affective and cognitive responses to threats and benefits that motivate behavioral change. Using a mixed methods approach combining qualitative in-depth interviews with Latino/a immigrants in three states and quantitative data on state and national naturalization rates, the study explains the conditions under which LPRs translate their motivation to naturalize into action and when they delay. Results provide critical insight into how interior immigration enforcement recalibrates the meaning and value of citizenship to affect immigrant integration in American society.

Aliens and Empire: Archipelagic Borderlands and Immigration Regulation following the Spanish-American War, Julian Lim

In this paper, I explore the expansion of U.S. borders and immigration control immediately following the acquisition of Pacific and Caribbean territories in 1898. U.S. officials found themselves embroiled in new contestations over the control of immigrants and borders, complicated by the unclear nature of the U.S.’ new colonial borderlands. Examining the intra-colonial migrations of, for example, Puerto Ricans from one colonized region to another, as well as the movements of non-colonial foreign subjects (other Asians and West Indians) into different U.S. colonial spaces at the turn of the twentieth century, I analyze a “greater” U.S. borderlands that integrates our usual terrestrial understandings with an archipelagic and maritime conceptualization of borderlands (comprised of the Philippines, Hawaii, Cuba, and Puerto Rico). Ultimately, this paper explores the instability of U.S. imperial control and the politics of exclusion, which were not as seamless for the United States as it may seem. Empire opened up new channels for migration even as it closed others, and provided windows of contestation for various migrants.

Respondent: Karl Jacoby, Columbia University