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Michael Light, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Does Immigration Enforcement Exacerbate Racial/Ethnic Inequality Under the Law?
When Feb 05, 2024
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall - in-person
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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About the Presentation

This project leverages the staggered rollout of the Secure Communities (S-Comm) program – the largest effort in U.S. history to integrate local criminal justice authorities into immigration enforcement – to examine whether immigration enforcement practices exacerbate racial/ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system. Using detailed case information on all arrests from California and Texas between 2006 and 2012, we test conflicting theoretical views as to whether S-Comm altered arrest and case processing practices. We find that the implementation of S-Comm had little impact on the arrest patterns of Hispanics and non-U.S. citizens in either state. However, the case processing of non-U.S. citizens became considerably more punitive following S-Comm, but only in Texas, where the aims of the program were actively embraced. These findings recalibrate our understanding of the scope, target, and impact of national immigration enforcement programs and suggest that the state context plays a consequential role as to whether immigration enforcement alters local criminal justice practices.  

About the Speaker

Michael Light

Michael T. Light is Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on immigration, crime, and punishment. Current projects include the collateral consequences of deportation, colorism and punishment, and the criminal case processing of non-U.S. citizens in state courts. His work has been published in Demography, the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Seminar Format

Location IN PERSON: 1101 Morrill Hall.  We are requesting advanced registration so that we can track capacity.  Please use this link to RSVP.


Location ONLINE VIA ZOOM: Zoom Registration Link. Upon registration, you will receive an automatically generated email with the direct link for the seminar


COVID-19 Information

MPRC public events for Fall 2023 will be a mix of in person and online via Zoom.  For in person events, all event attendees must follow current protocols


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