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Title: Local Immigration Policy Variety in the United States: A Case Study of Frederick and Anne Arundel Counties, Maryland
Authors: George, Elizabeth
Advisors: Staszak, Sarah
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the variation in local law enforcement policies regarding undocumented immigrant populations. In the last three decades, the United States has experienced drastic changes in the realm of immigration policy and the ways in which federal, state, and local governments address the treatment of undocumented immigrants. Hundreds of municipalities across the U.S. have adopted various forms of immigration policy and enforcement strategies that are implemented at the local level. Municipalities’ various initiatives range from inclusive “sanctuary” policies that promote integration of immigrant populations to strategies that intentionally enforce harsher restrictions and aggressive policing of undocumented immigrants. However, the increasingly politicized nature of immigration, as well as the lack of existing comprehensive federal policy that addresses state and local innovation, has complicated the situation further. Notably, the current Trump administration strongly identifies with exclusionary immigration politics and has pushed for the federal devolution of exclusionary policies, such as reinstating the Secure Communities Program and reinvigorating Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This thesis seeks to better understand the conditions that lead to distinct local policy adoption and implementation through a focused case study comparison of two Maryland counties. Specifically, Frederick and Anne Arundel County’s use of exclusive immigrant policy strategies, and what factors shaped their divergent decisions to maintain or discontinue exclusive policy. In recent years, both counties have adopted the federal 287(g) Program. This program—which allows for local law enforcement agencies to enter official partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to expedite the deportation process of undocumented criminal—may be classified as the exclusionary-immigrant policy type. Ultimately, Frederick County has continued use of this program, whereas Anne Arundel County has recently terminated their 287(g) Agreement. Notably, this analysis will not seek to determine what constitutes success or failure in the 287(g) policy, but rather what factors lead to these counties’ consideration of their policy’s impact. Through a qualitative analysis of internal community action and opinion, it will be shown that public leaders have a powerful ability to review the impact of the 287(g) program in a way that favors political preference for either exclusionary or inclusionary immigration policy.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2019

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