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46 Washburn L.J. 335 (2006-2007)
Immigration and the Meaning of United States Citizenship: Whiteness and Assimilation

handle is hein.journals/wasbur46 and id is 341 raw text is: Immigration and the Meaning of United States
Citizenship: Whiteness and Assimilation
George A. Martinez*
At the outset of the twenty-first century, United States immigration
policy has become one of the most pressing issues of our time. In recent
years, we have witnessed, among other things, calls for dramatically re-
stricting immigration in light of an alleged threat to American national
identity, increased border enforcement associated with thousands of
deaths on the United States/Mexico border,1 vigilante activity,2 special
immigration procedures enacted for the War on Terror,3 and mass
marches protesting draconian immigration reform in cities across the
United States.4 Against this background, this essay seeks to explore
what immigration and the various issues it raises have to tell us about
the meaning of United States citizenship today.
One of the most fundamental connections between immigration
* Professor of Law, Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University; B.A. Arizona
State University; M.A. (Philosophy) University of Michigan; J.D. Harvard University. This paper
was prepared for the Washburn Law Journal special issue devoted to the topic of Immigration and
the Meaning of United States Citizenship. I would like to thank the editors of the Washburn Law
Journal for inviting me to participate. I would like to thank Dean Kevin R. Johnson for reviewing a
draft of this article and for helpful discussion of the topics in this article.
1. John Pomfret, An Increasingly Deadly Trail; Tighter Border has Illegal Immigrants Risking
More Perilous Routes, WASH. POST, June 6, 2006, at A01 (Since 1993, when the Clinton administra-
tion began a crackdown on border crossings in San Diego and El Paso, more than 3,500 people have
died trying to cross into the United States through desert.).
2. Dennis Wagner, Minuteman's Goal To Shame Feds Into Action, USA TODAY, May 25,
2006 (describing Minuteman Civil Defense Corps vigilantes which patrol the United States/Mexico
border southwest of Tucson, Arizona). Cf. Steven W. Bender, Direct Democracy and Distrust: The
Relationship Between Language Law Rhetoric and the Language Vigilantism Experience, 2 HARV.
LATINO L. REV. 145, 149 (1997) (In virtually all aspects of everyday life, 'language vigilantes' have
assumed a duty to police against multiculturalism.).
3. See Susan M. Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, Race, Civil Rights, and Immigration Law After
September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims, 58 N.Y.U. ANN. SURV. AM. L. 295 (2002);
Raquel Aldana, The September 11 Immigration Detentions and Unconstitutional Executive Legisla-
tion, 29 S. ILL. U. L.J. 5 (2004); Victor C. Romero, Proxies for Loyaltyin ConstitutionalImmigration
Law Citizenship and Race After September 11, 52 DEPAUL L. REV. 871 (2003); Natsu Taylor Saito,
Will Force Trump Legality After September 11? American Jurisprudence Confronts the Rule of
Law, 17 GEO. IMMIGR. L.J. 1 (2002).
4. See N.C. Aizenman, Immigration Debate Wakes a 'Sleeping Latino Giant, 'WASH. POST,
Apr. 6, 2006, at A01 (describing immigration protest marches which attracted 30,000 largely His-
panic protesters in the District last month, about 100,000 in Chicago and as many as 500,000 in Los
Angeles); Oscar Avila & Antonio Olivo, A Show of Strength; Thousands March to Loop for Immi-
grants'Rights, CHi. TRIB., Mar. 11, 2006, at Al (describing marches in Chicago).

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