35 Va. J. Int'l L. 121 (1994-1995)
The States and Immigration in an Era of Demi-Sovereignties

handle is hein.journals/vajint35 and id is 131 raw text is: FEDERALISM PANEL
PRINCIPAL PAPER
The States and Immigration in an Era
of Demi-Sovereignties
PETER J. SPIRO*
As politics become increasingly divorced from place, views on
immigration and the problem of undocumented aliens still largely
depend on where one stands. The level of political attention
devoted to immigration policy reflects the starkly uneven geo-
graphic distribution of the aliens themselves and the social and
economic burdens-real or perceived-that they pose to the com-
munity. The matter is hardly on the radar screen for much of the
electorate, while it is of primary political concern in some of its
parts; what is essentially a non-issue in Missouri or Massachusetts
has become the most sensitive point of political conflict in states
such as California, Florida, and Arizona. As a practical matter,
immigration is now largely a state-level concern.
Yet immigration law, policy, and enforcement continue to be set
and carried out almost exclusively at the national level. As part of
* Associate Professor, Hofstra University School of Law. Thanks to Linda Bosniak,
Robin Charlow, Eric Freedman, Jack Goldsmith, Stephen Legomsky, Jerome Marcus,
Hiroshi Motomura, Mark Movsesian, Gerald Neuman, Michael Olivas, and Stephen F.
'Williams for comments on earlier drafts. Special thanks to David A. Martin for convening
the symposium at which this Article was first presented as a paper, and to David Suna for
valuable research assistance.

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