Border Patrols: The Legal, Racial, Social, and Economic
Implications of United States Immigration Policy
Civil Rights and Economic Development
Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic
John’s School of Law Education Law Society
St. John’s University Committee for
Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Friday, March 16, 2012
School of Law | Queens, NY
About the Symposium
The Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development is
the official publication of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil
Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s School of Law, the
law school’s oldest academic center. For 17 years, the
Journal has held important academic symposia on a wide array of
legally significant social justice issues such as environmental
racism, domestic violence, and perspectives on same-sex
On March 16, 2012, the Journal will hold a symposium on
immigration. Given its focus on legal issues of racial, social and
economic justice and its location in one of the most diverse
counties in the United States, the Journal is well positioned to
present both sides of the immigration discussion and to have a full
academic inquiry into the subject’s legal, social, political and
While there has been no significant movement toward federal
immigration reform since a bipartisan effort died in 2007,
immigration has been the subject of a wave of legislation at the
state level, most notably with the passage of an Arizona statute
that is among the nation’s strictest immigration laws.
Opponents of immigration reform are concerned about job
competition, wage pressures, and the perceived social costs of
unauthorized immigrants, and there is also disagreement as to how
to resolve the controversial issues of border security and the path
to legalization. Proponents of immigration reform argue that the
growth and prosperity of the United States is dependent on
immigrants replenishing our workforce, creating new job
opportunities, and contributing income, Social Security, Medicare,
and sales taxes.
Invitation to Participate
The Journal invites individuals to a multi-disciplinary exploration
of these issues that is thoughtful, intellectually rigorous and
provocative. We seek a broad range of participants, including
scholars, practitioners, elected officials, immigrants, activists,
community leaders and students.
Paper or panel topics should address the following topics of
The Landscape of U.S. Immigration: What explains
the great wave of immigration to the United States in recent
decades? From what countries do people emigrate and what are the
laws and processes governing their entry and status? How has
immigration changed the demographics of the U.S.? How have
the media, politicians and political activists portrayed
immigrants, immigration reform and border security?
Politics and Immigration Reform: How have the Bush
and Obama administrations differed with respect to immigration
reform, law enforcement and border security? How well do existing
proposals balance the competing interests on both sides of the
immigration debate? Is bipartisan immigration reform possible? What
are the human rights and international implications of U.S.
The Role of State and Local Government in Immigration
Reform and Enforcement: Do tough new immigration laws in
states such as Arizona, Georgia and Alabama violate the federal
Supremacy Clause? Do these measures violate the Constitution,
including the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause or the
Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches and
seizures? How effective are these initiatives at curbing
unauthorized immigration? What role, if any, should state and
local governments play in immigration reform?
Immigration and the Economy: What is the economic
impact of unauthorized immigration? Do immigrants depress wages or
cause unemployment? What effects do unauthorized immigrants have on
the economic status of lower, middle and upper class Americans?
What would stricter enforcement of immigration laws cost taxpayers?
Should businesses be held accountable for verifying worker status,
and if so, how?
Immigration and Individual Rights: In the wake of
the 30th anniversary of Phyler v. Doe, what is the state of
immigrant students’ rights? Should unauthorized immigrants be given
in-state tuition to public universities and community colleges?
Should unauthorized immigrant students be allowed to earn legal
status through education or military service? Should
jurisdictions consider granting immigrant voting rights? What
impact will the current debate on immigration and the changing
demographics of the United States have on birthright
Other Areas of Inquiry: The complexity of
the immigration debate makes it impossible to capture the many
issues and areas that it implicates. Accordingly, the
organizers welcome proposals that do not fall within the specific
topics outlined above, but still fall within the general
description of the symposium.
If you would like to participate in the symposium as a panelist or
speaker, please submit an abstract of 250 words or less through our
online abstract submission form or by email to AaronBarhamJCRED@gmail.com.
The abstract submission deadline is December 15, 2011. We will
notify all selected panelists and speakers by January 9, 2012.
After the symposium, participants will have an opportunity to
submit an article to be considered for publication in the Journal
of Civil Rights of Economic Development.
For more information on the symposium or this call for
participation, please contact Aaron Barham, Research and Symposium
Editor for the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, at
or (718) 990-6074.