Alienated: Immigrant Rights, the Constitution, and Equality in America

By Victor C. Romero | Go to book overview

7
The Equal Noncitizen
Alternatives in Theory and Practice

The previous chapters surveyed the myriad ways in which the American legal system fails to fulfill the Constitution's promise of equality regarding its treatment of noncitizens. Throughout the book I have attempted to provide concrete solutions to the problems posed, some theoretical, some practical, always measuring their viability against the twin yardsticks of antiessentialism and antisubordination. Chapter 1 explored the persistence of the plenary power doctrine as a constitutional limit on immigrants' rights, noting the racial and ideological contexts underlying the cases, as well as highlighting the way the doctrine and its biases have affected my navigation of American immigration and citizenship law as a Filipino native. In chapter 2, I focused on the role immigration policy and racial profiling have played in the government's post-9/11 war against terrorism. Chapters 3 through 6 examined the case of certain nonterrorist “others”—foreign-born adoptees, undocumented migrants, and samegender partner overstays—and questioned whether our laws and policies provided them sufficient protection from discriminatory public action. This concluding chapter seeks to explore both theoretical and practical alternatives to the status quo that advance the cause of equality by promoting both antiessentialism and antisubordination.


Membership versus Personhood: Cognitive Psychology,
Critical Race Theory, and Common Sense

For the United States, how to properly allocate immigrants' rights is particularly difficult because of two competing values that lie at the core of American legal history and culture: the conception of the United States as

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