The history of U.S. immigration law is replete with in-between statuses. From the Founding until today, large numbers of people have related to U.S. border as neither fully American nor fully foreign. Across 150 years, this category came to include millions of so-called Americans in waiting, immigrants who had declared their intent to become U.S. citizens but who had not yet done so. During the Civil War, people who escaped slavery into Union military lines could be labeled as contraband. The early twentieth century saw migrants from the United States territory of the Philippines categorized as non-citizen U.S. nationals subject to immigration quotas. Today, such in-between statuses include non-immigrant alienage, permanent residence, and parole, among many more categories. This seminar examines recent scholarship on such statuses to examine how their proliferation and operation have helped officials advance, defend, and obscure racial and colonial projects at odds with liberal-democratic U.S. ideals.
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