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Immigration Law

Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era

Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era: A Discussion With Author Dr. Ming Hsu Chen

"The law says that everyone who is not a citizen is an alien. The social reality, however, is far more complicated. In the fourth installment of our Reimagining Citizenship series, author Ming Hsu Chen will present her book “Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era.” In it, she provides readers with the everyday perspectives of immigrants on what it’s like to try to integrate into American society during a time when immigration policy is focused on enforcement and exclusion. Dr. Chen argues that the citizen/alien binary should be reframed as a spectrum of citizenship, a concept that emphasizes continuity between the otherwise distinct experiences of membership and belonging for immigrants seeking to become citizens. Combining theories of citizenship with empirical data on integration and analysis of contemporary policy, Dr. Chen builds a case that formal citizenship status matters more than ever during times of enforcement and proposes constructing pathways to citizenship that enhance both the formal and substantive equality of immigrants. The book presentation will be followed by a discussion with Shannon Gleeson, an associate professor at Cornell’s ILR School."