The criminalization of immigrants as a racial project

Doris Marie Provine, Roxanne Doty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Contemporary policy responses to unauthorized immigration, we argue, reinforce racialized anxieties by (a) focusing attention on physically distinctive and economically marginalized minorities who are defined as the nation's immigration"threat," (b) creating new spaces of enforcement within which racial anxieties flourish and become institutionalized; and thereby (c) racializing immigrant bodies. We examine three federal enforcement policies: (a) the physical border buildup that began in the 1990s, (b) partnerships with local police, and (c) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiatives to enhance interior enforcement. The result has been the construction of a landscape of institutionalized racial violence embedded in our current immigration regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-277
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • criminalization
  • immigration enforcement
  • racial profiling
  • racialization
  • unauthorized immigrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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