Deportation Nation


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In this course I aim to move beyond popular political and media representations of deportable populations to a more nuanced understanding of contemporary immigration law and its societal effects. We will engage with cutting-edge socio-legal scholarship on migration, citizenship, and deportation. During our exploration into this material we seek to understand the factors motivating migration to the U.S., how immigration laws produce vulnerable states of ‘illegality’ and ‘deportability,’ and how migrants and their families existing in these states experience and respond to their circumstances. We will also examine the many unintended consequences of immigration law for both U.S. society and countries receiving high volumes of deportees. Toward the end of the course, we will consider the ways ethnic communities have responded to immigration restrictionism and will evaluate various models of immigration reform. Because current deportation laws disproportionately affect Latin American migrants, we will focus largely, though not exclusively, on Mexican and Central American populations.


Resource Type(s):
Katie Dingeman-Cerda, University of Denver 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Latina/o Sociology 
Class Level:
College 400 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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This course is considered an upper-division special topics course in Sociology, cross-listed with Criminology. The only prerequisite is Intro to Sociology. The syllabus is prepared for a 10 week course. Each week is composed of 2 seminars. Each seminar is 1 hr 50 mins. This typically leaves ample time for a...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
You should be able to articulate the following • The primary types of migratory movements and theories of migration• How the deportation regime came into being, how it operates, and what functions it serves.
Assessment 1:
Students will write daily memos composed of summaries and discussion questions on their assigned readings. Students will lead a discussion of their assigned readings to the class.
Goal 2:
You should be able to articulate the following • How immigration laws impact the lives of migrants, their families, and their communities• The ways civil society organizes around immigration issues.
Assessment 2:
Students will research an immigration law and write a short essay on how it came into being and its societal impact.Students will draw on course materials and external sources to compose a final essay arguing for or against immigration reform.
Goal 3:
Students will practice these skills: Working independently and collaboratively• Reading, synthesizing, and evaluating literature• Engaging in debates on controversial issues• Presenting to your classmates• Writing and argumentative essay

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Syllabus - Deportation Nation, Fall 2014.docx