Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era
Ming Hsu Chen



This book is based on interviews with more than one hundred immigrants about their experiences pursuing citizenship. So I first want to thank the immigrants, immigration lawyers, and community organizations who talked with me about their challenges and introduced me to others willing to do the same. Thanks especially to Harry Budisidharta from the Asian Pacific Development Center, Claudia Castillo from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Kit Taintor from the Colorado Department of Refugee Services, Tracy Harper from the Colorado African Organization, Anita Stuehler from the Boulder Library citizenship class, Leigh Alpert from American Immigration Lawyers Association Naturalization Drives, Carla Castedo from the Mi Familia Vota citizenship workshops, and David Aragon and Diana Salazar from the University of Colorado. Second, I want to acknowledge the law students who worked tirelessly to help recruit participants for interviews, conduct them, and transcribe them: Edyael Casaperalta, Ashlyn Kahler-Rios, Fernanda Loza, Zak New, Julie Schneider, Daimeon Shanks, Ryan Thompson, Tierney Tobin, and Travis Weiner. Edelina Burciaga partnered with me on DACA interviews.

Interpreting immigrant experiences and weaving them into the narratives needed for a book has involved countless conversations. Many of these sense-making conversations occurred in workshops and conferences on immigrant integration: a University of Colorado Law School book workshop and faculty colloquium, University of California Berkeley Interdisciplinary Immigration Workshop, the Center for the Study of Law and Society, the Colorado Immigration Scholars Network, the University of Colorado Immigration and Citizenship Law Program, the University of Colorado Institute for Behavioral Science, the Law and Society Association’s Annual Meeting panels on citizenship and migration, American Association of Law Schools Immigration Law Scholars Workshops at BYU Law and Texas A&M Law, e-CRT conferences at Northwestern Law and Yale Law, faculty colloquia at Fordham Law, Chapman Law, UC Davis Law, UC Irvine Law, and Seattle University. Friends and colleagues who have improved the manuscript with their insightful feedback include Kathy Abrams, KT Albiston, Jim Anaya, Sofya Aptekar, Angela Banks, Steve Bender, Irene Bloemraad, Linda Bosniak, Edelina Burciaga, Deb Cantrell, Kristen Carpenter, Jennifer Chacon, Robert Chang, Violeta Chapin, Elizabeth Cohen, David Cook-Martin, Susan Coutin, Stella Burch Elias, Cybelle Fox, Kristelia Garcia, Charlotte Garden, Eric Gerding, Shannon Gleeson, Laura Gomez, Rosann Greenspan, John Griffin, Pratheepan Gulasekaram, Megan Hall, Cesar Garcia Hernandez, Ernesto Hernandez, Sharon and Tilman Jacobs, Kevin Johnson, Kit Johnson, Anil Kalhan, Dan Kanstroom, Jae Yeon Kim, Sarah Krakoff, Stephen Lee, Taeku Lee, Ben Levin, Aaron Malone, Lisa Martinez, Cecilia Menjivar, Joy Milligan, Hiroshi Motomura, Helen Norton, D. Carolina Nunez, Osagie Obasogie, Anne Joseph O’Connell, Michael Olivas, Huyen Pham, Doris Marie Provine, Fernando Riosmena, Reuel Schiller, Jonathan Simon, Scott Skinner-Thompson, Sarah Song, Rachel Stern, Karen Tani, Monica Varsanyi, Rose Cuison-Villazor, Leti Volpp, Shoba Wadhia, and Josh Wilson. Additional research, editorial, and technical assistance was provided by Jane Thompson and Matt Zafiratos in the University of Colorado Law library, Maggie Reuter and Kathryn Yazgulian in the University of Colorado Law School faculty coordinator office, and Jon Sibray and his team in the University of Colorado IT Department.

Special thanks to Michelle Lipinski, who nurtured the project from seed to fruit. I chose to publish with Stanford University Press because of her enthusiasm and steadfast commitment. She and four thoughtful peer reviewers provided comments on multiple drafts, and colleagues at Stanford ably moved the book through the production process.

Resources and funding came from University of Colorado Law School summer research grants, the University of Colorado Immigration and Citizenship Law Program, University of Colorado diversity grants, a University of Colorado community engagement grant, and the Colorado Immigrant Integration Study. While I was on a research sabbatical, I benefited from the institutional resources of Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Law and Society, Interdisciplinary Immigration Workshop, and D-Lab.

Many thanks to my family members, each of whom has been shaped by the immigrant experience: Ken and Gina Hsu, Woei and Mei Chen, Shayna Hsu, and Stephen Chen. Stephen knew of my desire to write this book and supported my efforts at every step, whether by serving as a sounding board for ideas, accompanying me on my research sabbatical, or checking bibliographic entries in the final manuscript. The book is dedicated to our daughter, Maya, a US-born citizen and third-generation immigrant who treasures her immigrant heritage. She learned to read, think, and care about immigrants as she overheard dinner-table conversations and witnessed images of border walls, family separation, and immigrant exclusion on the nightly news. Through it all, she cheered on her mother’s efforts to imagine a better world by writing a book: “Go, Professor Mommy!” Her child’s-eye drawings of a community welcoming an immigrant family across the border and into schools, churches, and town centers capture the essence of this project. Every parent wants to make her child’s dreams come true, and I hope the ideas in these pages play a part in making her vision of a welcoming society a reality.

Source: Maya Hsu Chen (age 6).