Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Mark Golub

Reader 2

Tom Kim

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Rights Information

2019 Eden Rose Niles


This essay examines the development of immigration policy in the United States through a re-invoking of the early restrictions on the acquisition and scope of citizenship rights as well as freedom of movement of Black people living and brought into the nation to perform slave labor. Reading cases such as Dred Scott v. Sandford and laws such as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 as foundational to the regulation of immigration and immigrants, I contend that the logic of perpetual alienation continues to manifest in the construction of immigration policy today. This shift away from focus on the sovereignty of a nation regarding its borders to the forms of social control which produce racialized subjects unsuitable for assimilation allows for an analysis of interior enforcement practices as critical to the maintenance of white supremacy. By understanding how immigration policy works to figure subjects within the nation as well as without into the category of foreign alien, this essay provides new insight into how the material forces of anti-blackness must be addressed as critical to the success of current campaigns to end the tenuous positionality of the non-white immigrant in the United States.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.