Who Does America Want?

Jarienn James
Date of Publication: 
September, 2020
Source Organization: 

This paper juxtaposes immigration-related fees with the fines and fees for traffic violations paid by Black and Brown Americans “to help the reader understand that America’s racism and classism exist both at and within its borders.” According to the author, these fees originate from different areas of the law but still communicate the same idea: “immigrants, poor, Black and Brown people are unwanted in America. If unpaid, these fees combined prevent immigrants, poor, Black and Brown people from driving to work, maintaining medical appointments, taking their children to school, walking the streets, marrying the love of their lives and working to provide for their basic needs. The American system uses every opportunity to create unnecessary barriers for their progress and oppresses them enough to make them regret their birth or coming to America.” The author looks at specific conditions in four states: Connecticut, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, and after detailing the harsh penalties imposed on people for traffic violations, advances a number of alternatives to existing systems. The paper also traces the obstacles facing immigrants, both financial and bureaucratic, and argues that the immigration system is “complex and expensive and shows no respect for the sacrifices of the immigrant.” (Flora Meng for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


James, J. (2021). Who Does America Want? Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, 35:325, 325–347. https://www.law.georgetown.edu/immigration-law-journal/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2021/04/09-Who-Does-America-Want.pdf