Critical Race Theory in the US Sociology of Immigration

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Abstract

This article reviews the recent literature that has incorporated critical race theory to study migration. It includes a survey of the uses, approaches, and contributions of critical race theory in the field of migration. Immigration studies have historically/traditionally focused on demographic aspects of population movements, leaving virtually outside of its analysis social processes at the core of migration, like the social construction of race and citizenship. This disconnect is troubling in the current context of globalization, where specific migrant populations have become target of specific forms of violence on the basis of their racialization. Workplace raids, midnight searches, city ordinances, and changes in social services legislation, to name a few, are consistently used against specific groups to perpetuate their oppression and subordination, becoming in a sense new forms of state sponsored violence. This article begins by outlining major CRT concepts and frameworks used in legal scholarship on immigration. Next, we identify emerging themes generated by this approach by highlighting research questions and operationalization of the CRT framework. Thirdly, we highlight areas of distinction to mainstream sociology in US scholarship.

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