11.S945 / 11.S197
Cities and Immigration: Law and Policy

As ever larger numbers of people live outside the country of their birth and the world is increasingly urbanized, cities across the globe are being reshaped by immigrants. Urban uprisings in the past few years in London, Paris, Stockholm, Singapore and elsewhere have brought international media attention to the challenges of immigrant integration while anti-immigrant riots in Moscow, Johannesburg, Calais, Tel Aviv, Rome, and other cities have highlighted resistance by urban residents to the arrival of the foreign born. How can urban policymakers ensure that, even in times of economic uncertainty and rapid demographic change, cities can become both more inclusive and more just for all, not more unequal and divided?

Of all levels of government, immigrants interact most with local governments, and immigrants’ access to opportunity, like that of the native-born, is profoundly shaped by urban policies. Local governments are responsible for addressing issues crucial to the inclusion of newcomers, such as facilitating integration into the workforce, reducing the social and residential exclusion of groups seen as outsiders, and constructing inclusive, responsive, and equitable local governance structures.

This course begins by exploring the background legal context and social and political theory of immigration and citizenship. It then focuses in detail on municipal planning and policy issues of immigrant incorporation into neighborhoods, labor markets, and local social and political life. The focus is on U.S. cities, but the readings engage with cities worldwide as well.