Document Type


Publication Title

Oregon Law Review



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middle-tier buffer, whiteness


In the midst of current anti-immigration sentiment, which is motivating dramatic changes in the United States immigration laws, there exists the myth that prior immigration laws were more equitable and humanitarian. Yet historical analysis reveals that immigration law has been put to uses far from idyllic, and has always been concerned with the racial makeup of the nation. Specifically, national preoccupation with the maintenance of a "White country" is reflected in immigration law. The continued national preference for White immigrants is explicitly featured in the visa profiling codes of U.S. embassies and consulates. This Essay employs a race-conscious lens to analyze the way in which immigration law has been structured to perpetuate a racial hierarchy which privileges Whiteness, primarily by preferring White immigrants to immigrants of color, and secondarily by drafting immigrants of color to form a middle-tier buffer and, alternatively, to provide a bottom-tier surplus labor supply.