Devolution and Discrimination

01 January 2003

This essay explores the issue of whether discrimination against two historically disadvantaged groups - racial minorities, on the one hand, and gays and lesbians, on the other - might increase or decrease should the federal immigration power devolve to the individual states. I conclude that while the lack of uniformity that accompanies immigration law devolution might lead to undesirable results in welfare reform and criminal law enforcement, and would likely not stem the tide of racism, it might lead to the opening of opportunities for gay Americans to petition their binational partners for immigration benefits. Such a development would turn the state of Vermont into a solitary haven for binational same-gender unions, thereby improving upon the federal immigration code's desire to keep families together by extending the breadth of its reach to include others usually excluded. Devolution in that case would lead to more protection for immigrants than what is currently available under the status quo