Patrolling the Nation: The Incorporation of Immigration Control in Neoliberal America

Pia Moller

Advisor: Paul Smith, PhD, Cultural Studies Program

Committee Members: Roger Lancaster, Debra Lattanzi Shutika

The Hub, #5
April 26, 2012, 10:30 AM to 07:30 AM


Since 2006, immigration control in the United States has undergone a wide-ranging transformation. In addition to 
the federal government's escalation of enforcement, which has resulted in record numbers of detentions and deportations, states and municipal governments have entered the field of immigration policy-making, passing laws aimed at driving out undocumented residents. Anti-illegal immigrant ordinances across the country now instruct civilians to participate in immigration control as do programs designed by civil society organizations and private corporations in collaboration with law enforcement. Using three case studies, my dissertation examines the incorporation of civilians into immigration control. I make the case that this development contributes to the intensification and normalization of exclusion, and that it is compelled by the needs of America's restructured capitalist democracy. The incorporation of immigration control is interpreted as one dimension of the neoliberalization of American social relations.