Immigration Reforms through History: An Ongoing Racial Narrative – 6719

Fall 2021
Deepinder Mayell

Students in the Immigration Reforms through History:  An Ongoing Racial Narrative seminar will learn about major immigration reforms through the lens of the social, political, economic and cultural context that ushered their passage. Students will be presented with a mosaic of information to place them in the place and time of the respective era to facilitate a deeper understanding of the immigration law narrative and how perceptions of race and identity result in policy and legal reform. The course will examine important portions of each reform bill including the intended goals of legislators and other influential factors such as demographic, economic and political data. The class will explore societal perceptions of race and immigration in primary source documents and multimedia from each reform period including film, music, art and news stories.

This seminar is structured around major immigration reforms and the seminar will highlight the the Immigration Act of 1924, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and post-9/11 terrorism related immigration reforms in the 2000’s. The course will be divided into two to three seminar sessions per reform period and for each era the seminar will examine the societal context that led to the legislation, the language of law, case law and the broader policies and assumptions that it reflects. Seminar discussions will also cover how portions of the law currently operate and fit into a historical immigration law narrative.