Where does federal plenary power over immigration come from? For a long time now, scholars have pinpointed the definitive starting point in the 1889 Supreme Court case of Chae Chan Ping v. U.S. (aka The Chinese Exclusion Case), which announced that immigration control was “an incident of sovereignty” and thus a matter for Congressional—not state or judicial—power. In an excellent new article, historian Hidetaka Hirota challenges this basic assumption. He argues convincingly that federal plenary power arose not only from the Court’s reading of international and constitutional law, but also from a long history of state practices of migrant policing and control. The federal government took political, administrative, and procedural cues from the state immigration regimes that predated Chinese Exclusion, particularly those in the influential states of New York and Massachusetts.Read on here.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Tirres reviews Hirota on the State Origins of Federal Plenary Power
Posted by Karen Tani
JOTWELL's Legal History Section has posted some new content: JOTWELL contributor Allison Tirres (DePaul University College of Law) encourages readers to check out Hidetaka Hirota's "The Moment of Transition: State Officials, the Federal Government, and the Formation of American Immigration Policy," which appeared in Volume 99 of the Journal of American History (March 2013). Here's the first paragraph of Tirres's review: