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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 46, Issue 4, October 2020

Thomas S. Carnes
Pages 681-707

Unauthorized Immigrants, Reasonable Expectations, and the Right to Regularization

This article brings an account of reasonable expectations to bear on the question of when unauthorized immigrants have a right to be regularized—that is, to be formally guaranteed freedom from the threat of deportation. Contrary to the current literature, which implicitly relies on a flawed understanding of reasonable expectations, this article argues that only those unauthorized immigrants who have both been tacitly permitted by the state despite lacking formal authorization and have remained long enough to develop deep social roots in the state have a right to regularization.