T. Aleinikoff

T. Alexander Aleinikoff is the Executive Vice President of Law Center Affairs and Dean of the Georgetown University Law Center, where he also teaches.

Recent Articles

Illegal Employers

W ho would have guessed that one of the issues deadlocking federal budget negotiations would be how many undocumented aliens to legalize? Just four years ago, Congress enacted, and the president signed, the toughest anti-immigrant legislation in decades. But today, labor, business, and political elites are praising as "essential workers" the immigrants they used to call "illegal aliens." The players are operating from different motives. Labor sees organizing potential in workplaces now dominated by immigrant workers. Business is interested in a stable work force in a time of labor shortages. And politicians have recognized the voting strength of immigrant and ethnic communities. This congeries of interests may be just enough to get a deal through a lame-duck Congress and administration. Earlier this year, the AFL-CIO proposed ending sanctions against employers who hire undocumented alien workers and urged a general amnesty for the five million or more...

A Response:

This article is a response to " The End of Ellis Island " by Paul Donnelly. In the online article entitled "The End of Ellis Island," Paul Donnelly ties a guest worker proposal being formulated by Senator Phil Gramm to proposals on U.S.-Mexico immigration policy developed by a binational panel of immigration experts. Both were announced just prior to the February meeting of Presidents Bush and Fox in Mexico that resulted in an agreement to begin high-level negotiations on the often-contentious topic of immigration. Mr. Donnelly's central argument is that the Gramm proposal and the binational panel's recommendations would result in the admission of a large number of guest workers ineligible for U.S. citizenship, hence, "the end of the Ellis Island ideal, the citizenship-oriented model for immigration." This is a serious charge, and, if true, one that should stir concern. As I have previously argued in the pages of The American Prospect , most guest worker programs currently implemented...

Essay: A Multicultural Nationalism?

Cross-national group loyalties can neither be wished away or erased. Yet the idea of the American nation is worth defending against multicultural attack. Herewith some ground rules for a culturally diverse nation.

The twentieth century is closing with a pessimistic assessment of America's continued dedication to its national motto, E Pluribus Unum . Multiculturalism, bilingual education, and record levels of immigration are said to have fractured America. In response, nativists want to cut immigration sharply and establish English as the official language. The Commission on Immigration Reform—Barbara Jordan's last act of public service—has called for a new Americanization movement to assimilate new immigrants. Meanwhile, multiculturalists continue to assail assimilation as illegitimately "hegemonic," and cosmopolitans say that we should gladly accept our growing diversity and recognize that in this age of "transnationalism" many people will cross borders so easily that they will establish ties and allegiances to more than one country. Neither multiculturalists nor cosmopolitans lose much sleep over the fate of the nation-state or are overly concerned about preserving a strong American national...

The Green Card Solution

Who harvested the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that graced our Thanksgiving tables? Most Americans, taking a moment to think, would know that immigrant labor in American fields brought in this autumn's crop. The circumstances of these workers' lives, however, are less well-known. The stark reality is that more than half of all farm workers live below the poverty line and the vast majority have no health insurance. And despite a general economic boom and increases in industry productivity and revenues, the real wages of farm workers have continued to fall—as they have for the past 20 years. The people who work in the fields tend to be invisible participants in American society, and often by their own preference: The overwhelming whelming number of farm workers are migrants, many of whom are in the United States unlawfully. While conditions in the fields have attracted the attention of neither the public nor the political candidates in this election cycle, important new legislation...