We wish to acknowledge financial support from the Public Policy Clinic of the Department of Government, University of Texas, Austin, and Levi-Strauss & Company through a grant to the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute. Anna Law, Tom Parks, and Huei-Hsia Wu provided research assistance.
The Decline of Barriers to Immigrant Economic and Political Rights in the American States: 1977–20011
Article first published online: 23 FEB 2006
International Migration Review
Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 5–23, March 2003
How to Cite
Plascencia, L. F. B., Freeman, G. P. and Setzler, M. (2003), The Decline of Barriers to Immigrant Economic and Political Rights in the American States: 1977–2001. International Migration Review, 37: 5–23. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2003.tb00128.x
- Issue published online: 23 FEB 2006
- Article first published online: 23 FEB 2006
State governments exercise significant powers to regulate the economic and social activities of resident aliens. We review the laws of the six leading states of immigrant settlement regulating access of noncitizens to 23 occupations, updating existing studies from 1946–77. Citizenship requirements for these occupations have plummeted, a change we attribute to federal court decisions, advisory opinions of state attorneys general, and state legislative and administrative action. There are numerous additional citizenship requirements in the statutes of the six states, although these appear to be poorly enforced. The authority of states to regulate their political communities is the most important remaining constitutionally valid basis of citizenship requirements. States define their political community broadly, leading to questionable exclusions of noncitizens from important activities.