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Global Cities and Immigrants

A Comparative Study of Chicago and Madrid


Edited By Francisco Velasco Caballero and María de los Angeles Torres

Global Cities and Immigrants provides a detailed set of comparative case studies of the immigration policies of two global cities undergoing dramatic demographic changes. At the heart of this research are several theoretical questions. One is about the increased importance of municipal and local governments in a globalized world, particularly regarding immigrants. As the world global­izes and national governments attempt to tighten their grip, the failure of national policies to address the needs of new global situations encourages local governments to develop policies that resolve these new conditions. Although immigration is a federal policy in the United States and Spain, city and state governments have increasingly played a role in shaping both the enforcement of national laws and integration experiences of immigrants. This creates a local politics and indeed a legality of immigration that is strongly shaped by local views of economic, political, and security interests, as well as differing perceptions of immigrants’ rights and place in the polity.
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Comparative Notes on the Role of Local Government in the Enforcement of Migratory Law



The power to enforce migratory law is held formally, both in Spain as well as in the United States, by superior territorial jurisdictions—the central state and the federal government, respectively. This means that the approval of laws concerning the entrance, permanence, and departure of foreigners takes place at the federal and state levels—subject to the powers of the European Union in the case of Spain. It also means that the administrative and police measures aimed at enforcing compliance with these laws, and thus the control of illegal immigration, takes place at these levels as well. Inferior territorial entities—states, counties, and municipalities in the case of the United States and autonomous communities and municipalities in the case of Spain—assume an immigration management role limited by the implementation of public policies concerning the integration of immigrants. In practice, however, there are overlaps in the exercise of these powers that reveal a more complete map of power distribution. Thus, through funding, the state and federal governments respectively intervene in immigrant integration measures for their part, and the U.S. states and the autonomous communities, as well as municipalities, also intervene more or less directly and more or less decisively in the application of immigrant control measures.

In Spain, the state intervenes in the integration of immigrants by way of...

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