Christina Boswell and I have recently published an article in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, entitled: "Why Symbolise Control? Irregular Migration to the UK and Symbolic Policy-making in the 1960s." Here's the abstract:
It has frequently been observed that irregular migration is a common object of symbolic policy-making: the use of cosmetic adjustments to signal action, rather than substantive measures that achieve stated goals. Yet there is little research analysing the considerations driving policy actors to adopt such approaches. Drawing on existing literature, we distinguish three theoretical accounts of symbolic policy-making: manipulation, compensation, and adaptation. We explore these accounts through examining the emergence of symbolic policies in UK immigration control in the 1960s. Through detailed archival research, we reconstruct the deliberations leading to a series of Home Office decisions to crack down on irregular entry – decisions which officials felt were not operationally sensible, but which were based on popular political narratives of the problem. We conclude that the UK’s adoption of symbolic policy was a clear case of adaptation: a series of concessions to simplistic notions of control that did not chime with official views of what would work, and which were reluctantly embraced for reasons of political expediency. In conclusion, we suggest the need for more fine-grained analysis of the deliberations underpinning decision-making in bureaucracies, in order to produce more nuanced accounts of political rationalities in the area of immigration policy.
My current book project is described here.
You can take a look at some blogging about my current research here.
I have written on a variety of policy issues related to borders and immigration in the United States. These policy papers include:
"Defining Border Security in Immigration Reform," a report published by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, examining ways that border security goals in immigration reform legislation might be designed, and the political reasoning behind various proposals. You can watch me discuss the report on Arizona Horizon.
"Citizenship or Something Less? Economic Implications for Arizona," another report authored for the Morrison Institute, which examines the economic impact of a broad path to citizenship for people without legal status in the United States, versus a narrower legalization. Here you can listen to an NPR Marketplace segment based on the report.
As a speechwriter for former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, I was the primary person handling the speechwriting portfolio for immigration and border security, and for Congressional testimony on all topics, from 2009 to 2011. (You can see some of those testimonies by clicking here.)