Spring 2017 - 61420 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Race, Immigration & Citizenship

This graduate level seminar has two goals.  The first is to familiarize students with the evolution of policy in three policy arenas: race, immigration, and citizenship.  The second goal is to explore the relationships among those policy arenas.  In recent decades, we have tended to view them as distinct areas of concern – so different from one another that the scholars and activists who worry about one issue, civil rights, have had little to do with the scholars and activists who focus on another, immigration policy.  However, the three have been closely related for much of US history.  Consider these examples:

  • the Naturalization Act of 1790 law prescribed that naturalized citizenship would be limited to “free white persons,” and that law remained substantially intact until 1952; 
  • the key finding in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) was that people of African descent, whether slave or free, were not citizens of the United States and therefore “they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect”; and
  • starting in the late 19th century, a series of laws restricted immigration from Asia. 

Restrictions on citizenship and immigration made the United States A Nation By Design, the title of a book by Aristide Zolbert.   Add slavery and Jim Crow laws, and we understand why many generations of Americans came to regard the United States as “a white man’s country.”

A focus on policies affecting race, immigration, and citizenship is especially appropriate for the LBJ School.  A half century ago, President Johnson led the effort to pass three transformational laws: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 1965 Immigration Reform Act.  In spite of their positive effects, those laws are sources of controversy, disappointment, and resentment:

  • While the ’64 Civil Rights Act promised to help blacks enter the mainstream of American life, there remain huge economic gaps between the races, and there is evidence of persisting biases in the nation’s system of justice. 
  • In 2013, the Supreme Court vitiated key portions of the Voting Rights Act, making it possible for states to enact laws that reduce registration and turnout among poor and minority citizens.
  • The demographic changes brought about by the 1965 Immigration Reform Act have led to anxiety and anger among many Americans and have made it impossible for Congress to enact needed immigration reforms.

Principal Texts:

  • Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988).
  • W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (any edition).
  • Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, The Federalist Papers (any edition).
  • Ian Haney Lopez, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race, (New York: New York University Press, 2006).
  • Jennifer Hochschild, Vesla Weaver, and Traci Burch, Creating A New Racial Order, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012)
  • Madeline Hsu, The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015)
  • Edward Telles, Race in Another America: The Significance of Skin Color in Brazil, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

Themes and Questions

Policymaking begins with classification – dividing people into groups that will be treated differently: male/female, minor/adult, slave/free, black/white.  One question that will arise repeatedly in this course is, why did race become such a powerful and enduring basis for classifying people in the United States?

The course will flow chronically, beginning with arrival of the first group of African slaves in the United States.  A few questions are associated with each theme.  Most of them are but relatively narrow questions that can be addressed as “quick takes” – 20 to 30 hours of research that yield a three- to five-page paper.  I hope that class members will take on a few of them.

1.  Original Intent.  When, how and why did race become such an important feature of American society?  Readings include The Constitution and selections from The Federalist Papers and Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.

  1. What did settlers from Europe know about race and slavery?
  2. How did “race science” (and later eugenics) inform policy during the 19th and early 20th centuries?
  3. What is the etymology of the phrase “white man’s country?”

2.  The Racialization of America.  How were laws and lawsuits used to determine who fit into which racial category and thus to determine rights and citizenship?  Readings include Gillmer’s article “Suing for Freedom” and the Dred Scott decision.

  1. Why did colonial and (later) state laws adopt the principle of hypodescent?
  2. What is the basis for the rule of partus sequitur ventrem? Is it part of English common law, or was it an adaptation to the peculiar circumstances in the colonies?

3.  Emancipation, Separate-But-Equal, and the Dawn of Protest.  How did the Civil War

Amendments answer the Dred Scott decision.  Readings include Yick Wo. v. Hopkins, Plessy v. Ferguson, Washington’s Atlanta Exposition speech, and selections from The Souls of Black Folk.

  1.  How did the Supreme Court’s understanding of “equal protection” evolve from the Slaughterhouse decision to Plessy
  2. What did Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. disagree about?  What are the contemporary manifestations of their different approaches to racial equality?

4.  The Exclusion of Non-whites. How have immigration and naturalization laws affected the racial composition of the country?  Readings include selected chapters in Lopez’s White By Law, Hsu’s The Good Immigrants, and the Supreme Court’s Wong Kim Ark, Ozawa and Thind decisions.

  1. How did the implementation of those laws expose the fallacy of race? 
  2. Why was Booker T. Washington concerned about immigration?  How have other black and Hispanic leaders (and organizations) positioned themselves on this issue? 
  3. Why did Congress amend the 1790 naturalization act to permit the naturalization of people of African descent? 

5.  The Civil Rights Movement. Why did the civil rights struggle move from the courts to the streets?  Readings include several Supreme Court cases, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and sections from Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters.

  1. Which branch of government proved to be most reliable in the advancement of civil rights? 
  2. Between 1927 and 1953, the NAACP took five voting rights cases from Texas to the Supreme Court. Was Texas a particularly egregious offender, or were there similar numbers of cases from other former Confederate states? 
  3. How did public opinion regarding race and civil rights change from the early post-WWII era through the late 1960s?

6.  The New Policy Regime. What did people expect to happen as a result of the new civil rights laws? Readings include the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and President Johnson’s 1965 Howard University speech.

  1. Did civil rights advocates expect that Title VII would produce a huge change in the economic status of African-Americans relative to whites?
  2. How active were black-run civil rights organizations in supporting the 1965 Immigration Reform Act? 
  3. How active were Hispanic-run civil rights organizations in supporting immigration reform and school desegregation?
  4. Did immigration reform advocates expect that the ’65 reforms would lead to a change in immigration flows? 

7.  Comparisons.  How do the experiences of black Americans compare with those of other groups – with the internment of Japanese-Americans, for example, and with the “Caucasian cloak” that concealed discrimination against Mexican Americans?  Readings include Telles’ Race in Another America.

  1. How do American race, immigration and citizenship policies compare with those in other countries?
  2. How does current US immigration policy actually work?  What are the preferences, and what does it mean for visa applicants to “get in line”? 
  3. The US has used hypodescent as the basis for assigning individuals to specific racial groups.  Why does Brazil do exactly the opposite?

8.  Outcomes and Controversies. Readings include Ed Dorn’s slides on trends in black/white income disparities in the post-CRA era.

  1. How much better off are African-Americans today than they were before the passage of the civil rights acts? Why does the black/white income gap persist? 
  2. How did affirmative action become such an important part of the policy debate? 
  3. Should policies focus on class or race? 
  4. How do Asian-Americans fare economically compared with native-born blacks, whites, and Hispanics?

9.  Forecasts and Policy Options.  Where do we go from here?  What are the alternative policy paths?  Readings include Hochschild’s Creating A New Racial Order.

  1. What do past experiences tell us about current controversies over immigration and assimilation?
  2. Does “mark one or more” constitute racial progress?
  3. How will recent demographic trends, if they persist, affect American culture over the next generation or two?  What will be the contours of the color line in 2050?

10.  Putting It All Together: The Relationship Among Race, Immigration, and Citizenship.

  1. How, in the broadest terms, can one describe the relationship? 
  2. Alternatively, are the areas so different that putting them under a single umbrella is not useful?
  3. What do demographic changes affect partisan politics and coalition-building?
  4. Do you see a connection between the issues covered in this course and other politically charged issues such as efforts to reduce women’s reproduction decisions or the proliferation of open carry and concealed carry gun laws? 

Requirements and Expectations

Graduate students should be active participants in a process of discovery.  My responsibilities include getting the conversation started, guiding students toward existing knowledge and points of view, and assessing students’ contributions to the class.  I place great value on clear, concise writing and speaking, so students will be given ample opportunities to work on their communications skills.  Course requirements include:

  1. Class attendance and participation – 10%
  2. Short paper (two pages) about expectations for class – 10%
  3. “Quick take” (five pages) and short briefing (5 minutes) about one of the questions in italics, above, or about a topic of special interest to the student – 15%
  4. Research proposals: briefing and written prospectus– 15%
  5. Fifteen-minute briefing about research findings – 20%
  6. Research paper (15 pages) – 30%

Discussions about these topics can be intellectually stimulating; they also can be emotionally challenging.  Some issues may turn out to be more complicated than they initially appear.   I expect us to show respect for one another’s views, to offer constructive criticism, and to observe high standards of academic integrity.

Class Size: up to 15.

Ph.D.
M.P.Aff
MGPS
SRH 3.312/360