PhilaU Professor Tackles U.S. Immigration Policy in New Book

Robert Koulish, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Law and Society program, published a new book on immigration policy, Immigration and American Democracy: Subverting the Rule of Law, on Dec. 15 by Routledge Press.

In the book, which focuses on questions of constitutional rights and due process for immigrants in the U.S., Koulish says many immigrants have been denied basic human rights and subjected to such tactics as expedited deportations without due process in the courts. He also decried what he called a corrupt and increasingly privatized detention system.

Koulish’s book is particularly timely in light of the introduction yesterday of immigration reform legislation by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) in the U.S. House of Representatives.  “I think the immigration reform bill is a step in the right direction,” Koulish said.  “It addresses some due process and judicial review concerns, but care must be taken to ensure that immigrants have access to the courts. Also, broader questions about outsourcing government powers to private companies must be addressed.”

In the book, Koulish says while the idea of immigration embodies America’s rhetorical commitment to democracy, recent immigration control policies showcase abysmal failures in democratic practice. Immigration and American Democracy examines these failures in terms of state sovereignty, neoliberalism and surveillance-based techniques of social control.

Koulish is a political scientist with research interests in immigration law and privatization and law and technology. He has authored 15 immigration-related publications and written numerous op-ed pieces on the issue.

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