Robbie Totten – Security and United States Immigration Policy

 

Seminar to be held on Tuesday, May 8th in ERC 115 at 12:30 pm.

What is the relationship between security and immigration to the U.S? How have security objectives factored into U.S. immigration policy? These questions are significant for the U.S. because the volume of international migration has been increasing in recent decades and many analysts argue that without sound policy planning immigration can for America serve as a source of conflict with foreign states, tax the ability of its domestic systems to assimilate diverse peoples without violence, and expose its citizens and immigrants to crime, contagious disease, and terrorism. This talk will address these questions and present the strategic logic for U.S. immigration policy by identifying three general categories of security objectives that American officials have attempted to reach with immigration from the colonial era to the present-day: (1) foreign relations, (2) material and military interests, and (3) domestic security (prevent crime, espionage, and terrorism; epidemics; and ethnic violence). The discussions of the categories will draw from International Relations (IR) and Security Studies theories, primary sources, and works by demographers and historians to specify the relationships amongst the security areas and immigration, identify policy instruments used by leaders to influence immigration for security, and present historical cases of U.S. immigration policies designed for security purposes. The talk will conclude with discussing its implications for immigration research and contemporary policy.

Robbie Totten is a doctoral candidate in the UCLA Department of Political Science and the pre-doctoral fellow here at the CCIS. He received his BA in Political Science from Duke University and he has published articles in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History and Diplomatic History. Totten’s dissertation is titled, “Security and United States Immigration Policy,” and his research interests include, demography and security, foreign relations and state migration policies, nontraditional security threats, geopolitics and international migration, refugee crises, and U.S. immigration policy history.