Using Immigration to Define Americans as White and White as American

April 2021

This paper overviews the intentional, explicit, and harsh U.S. immigration policy and the ways that it, directly and indirectly, has defined American and white as synonymous. There is a brief literature review followed by an argument that whiteness has actually required the immigration discourse to uphold and perpetuate racist ideas and enlist average white citizens. This process happens at the systemic level, in terms of national policy, laws, and private industry, and at the individual level as individuals become deputized to uphold whiteness through the lens of who is allowed in America.