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date: 21 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

From the earliest days of U.S. nationhood, race and ethnicity have profoundly influenced the politics and governance of immigration. To be sure, this policy arena has been shaped by a variety of economic, social, cultural, and political forces. Yet it is impossible to explain the arc of American immigration policy over time save for recurrent battles over racial and ethnic criteria. This chapter reviews an impressive body of scholarship that chronicles the prominence of race and ethnicity as grounds for immigrant inclusion or exclusion as well as the myriad of ways race and ethnicity have affected the integration and acceptance of immigrants for generations. Additionally, much of the scholarship reviewed in this essay underscores the evolving meaning of racial and ethnic categories even as ascriptive hierarchies have proven durable.

Keywords: immigration, race and ethnicity, labor, security, nativism, civil rights, Congress, the courts, social movements, federalism

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