HLSS508 Mobility and Migration Choices Paper

Respond to Michael:

The topic of immigration within the United States, and whether or not security regarding immigration is handled propionate to threat, is one that can certainly draw interesting discussion.

Gallya Lahav and Marie Courtemanche wrote “politicians who seek to mobilize more restrictive migration regulation may capitalize on security or ‘terror’ frames’; inversely, those who want to mobilize ideological divisions may draw on fears of cultural diversity” (2011, p. 500). I take this to mean much of immigration policy is driven by political agendas. It’s unfortunate when politics overtake the potential for realistic security that is proportionate to the threat.

According to another source, the September 11th terrorists would probably have been admitted into the United States through current policies, as they had no previous criminal records; policies that are part of a blanket security reaction to 9/11 that involves “roundups and arrests, intimidating interviews, lengthy detention, and special registration requirements are blunt tools” (Chisti, Meissner, Papademetriou, et al, 2013).

As for whether or not the emergency policies maintained through past and current administrations are effective while not undermining human rights, I believe there is much room for improvement. VG Rajan and Jeannette Gabriel wrote an article regarding the emergency policies and human rights. The authors wrote about many programs, to include the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program, which was launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Apparently the program targets non-citizen men older than 16, mainly from 25 Muslim dominated countries, who had to meet with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials to be assessed for potential criminality (Rajan & Gabriel, 2015). Further, the officials collected information on the individuals, fingerprints, and photos. The authors describe the program as a means to criminalize immigrants, and fuel the initiatives to fight terrorism (Rajan & Gabriel, 2015). Finally, regarding US emergency policies, they wrote “these tactics have only further undermined the security and human rights of all civilians residing within US borders – including those of undocumented individuals, non-US residents and even US citizens” (Rajan & Gabriel, 2015).

Overall, I find that there is a drastic need for change in the way US emergency policies deal with immigration. I believe that immigration is dealt with currently in a way that “the juice isn’t worth the squeeze”. We are sacrificing human rights for policies that are more led by political agendas than security efficiency. The very terrorists that brought about all this change on that terrible day could have slid through the policies in place. Well thought out terrorist plans would likely involve utilizing personnel with clean records. This is not to say we don’t need policies involving immigration, I feel it is important, but we can find ways to do it without overstepping human rights and dipping into racial/religious discrimination.


Chisti, M., Meissner, D., Papademetriou, D., et al. (2013). America’s Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties, and National Unity After September 11. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/americas-challenge-domestic-security-civil-liberties-and-national-unity-after-september-11

Lahav, G., & Courtemanche, M. (2012). The Ideological Effects of Framing Threat on Immigration and Civil Liberties. Political Behavior, 34(3), 477–505. doi:10.1007/s11109-011-9171.

Rajan, V., & Gabriel, J. (2015). Redefining US “homeland security” post-9/11: Extra-judicial measures, vigilantism and xenophobia. Security Journal, 28(2), 109–149. doi:10.1057/sj.2015.3.