Immigration law and its enforcement are controversial and highly debated topics. States are increasing their role in the enforcement of immigration law by enacting laws that allow local law enforcement to function as immigration officers with the intent of decreasing the illegal alien population within their jurisdiction. The primary focus of this thesis is to determine whether state and local police have the legal power to enforce immigration laws that have been the jurisdiction of the Federal Government for decades. There are two sides that are discussed in this thesis, the proponents who are in favor of increased participation and those who oppose it. The proponents argue that federal law has not preempted states from enforcing immigration law and that states have inherent authority to do this. The critics argue that this is unconstitutional because the constitution and other legal authorities grant exclusive power to the Federal Government in the area of immigration law. Through the analysis of constitutional provisions, case law and statutes, quantitative statistics, anecdotal evidence, federal and state programs, and governmental resources this thesis evaluates the current role of state and local authorities and proposes a different role for local jurisdictions in the enforcement of immigration law. Evidence shows that states are allowed to enforce some immigration laws but doing this has negative consequences for the people, the states, and the nation. Research shows that increased participation from local law enforcement leads to racial profiling, civil rights violations, and damages the relationship between the police and the community; therefore, the line between state and federal enforcement should be monitored carefully.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Health and Public Affairs
Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs;Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Rodriguez, Yisell, "Immigration law and enforcement the role of states and local authorities" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1296.