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A Confluence of Interests in Immigration Enforcement: How Politicians, the Media, and Corporations Profit from Immigration Policies Destined to Fail

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Abstract

The concept of an immigration industrial complex draws from previous work on the prison industrial complex and the military industrial complex. All three of these complexes point to the ways that the interests of government bureaucracies, corporate elites, and politicians shape laws and policies. This article explains how the undocumented status of migrants provides advantages to at least three groups: (a) media pundits who make their careers railing against ‘illegal aliens’; (b) politicians who use undocumented migrants as scapegoats; and (c) contractors who profit from massive immigration enforcement expenditures. The disenfranchised status of undocumented migrants enhances the ability of each of these groups to benefit from their presence. This confluence of interests explains why Congress has not enacted viable immigration policies that effectively deal with the ‘problem’ of illegal immigration. This is the second in a two-part series on the immigration industrial complex.

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