Cover of Taking Local Control by Edited by Monica W. Varsanyi
Taking Local Control
Immigration Policy Activism in U.S. Cities and States
Edited by Monica W. Varsanyi


320 pages.
from $32.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804770262
Paperback ISBN: 9780804770279


Excerpts and More

With the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States at an all-time high and Congressional immigration reform seemingly at a standstill, cities and states across the nation have leapt into the fray, creating a wide range of policies—some more controversial than others—to address illegal immigration within their jurisdictions. These policies, both anti- and pro-immigrant in nature, run the gamut. Some call for the involvement of city police in immigration enforcement, debates over day laborer markets, the establishment of employer sanctions laws, and the implementation of anti-immigrant ordinances. Other policies call for cities and states to declare themselves "sanctuaries" for undocumented immigrants, passing laws to extend locally-funded health care and social services, offer English language training, and improve wages and working conditions.

While these state and local immigration policies continue to receive wide coverage in the popular press, they have received very little attention in the scholarly literature. This volume aims to fill the gap by offering perspectives from political scientists, legal scholars, sociologists, and geographers at the leading edge of this emerging field. Drawing on high profile case studies, the contributors seek to explain the explosion in state and local immigration policy activism, account for the policies that have been considered and passed, and explore the tensions that have emerged within communities and between different levels of government.

This timely entrant into the study of state and local immigration policy also illuminates the significant challenges and opportunities of comprehensive immigration reform, highlights the range of issues at stake, and charts a future research agenda that will more deeply explore the impacts of these policies on immigrant communities.

About the author

Monica W. Varsanyi is Associate Professor of Political Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and on the Doctoral Faculty in Geography at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

"Taking Local Control: Immigration Policy Activism in U.S. Cities and States is a seminal body of work and an especially recommended contribution to academic and community library Political Science and Social Issues reference collections and supplemental reading lists."

—Mary Cowper, Midwest Book Review

"This timely and significant volume provides a very strong analysis of a political debate that is relevant today and will continue to be so for the seeable future. There is a great need for it."

—Rodolfo O. de la Garza, Eaton Professor of Administrative Law and Municipal Science, Department of Political Science, Columbia University

"This is the first collection to bring together scholars from the full spectrum of the social sciences to consider the novel challenge of state and local action relating to immigration. The contributions are refreshingly balanced, with many recognizing the integrative as well as exclusionary possibilities of immigration policy making on the ground. The breadth of approaches represented here will make this an invaluable resource for those interested in this important subject. The book will enhance our understanding of the new landscapes of immigration federalism."

—Peter Spiro, Charles Weiner Professor of Law, Temple University Law School