A Multilayered Jurisdictional Patchwork: Immigration Federalism in the United States

Monica W. Varsanyi, Paul Lewis, Doris Marie Provine, Scott Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the immigration-related demands currently being placed on local police in the United States and the emergence of what we call a "multilayered jurisdictional patchwork" (MJP) of immigration enforcement. We report results from nationwide surveys of city police chiefs and county sheriffs and intensive fieldwork in three jurisdictions. The enforcement landscape we describe is complicated by the varying and overlapping responsibilities of sheriffs and city police, and by the tendency for sheriffs to maintain closer relationships with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities. We conclude by reflecting on the implications of the MJP-for immigrants, for their communities, and for the evolving relationship between levels of government in the federal system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-158
Number of pages21
JournalLaw and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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