Aleinikoff, Thomas Alexander 1952–
ALEINIKOFF, Thomas Alexander 1952–
(T. Alexander Aleinikoff)
CAREER: Called to the Bar of the State of New York, 1978, State of Michigan, 1983; law clerk to Honorable Justice Edward Weinfeld, U.S. District Court, 1977–78; U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, attorney in Office of Legal Counsel, 1978–80, and Land and Natural Resources, 1981, general counsel for Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1994–95, executive associate commissioner for programs, 1995–97; University of Michigan, assistant professor, 1981–84, associate professor, 1984–86, professor of law, 1986–94; Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, professor of law, 1997–, associate dean of research, 2003–04, dean, 2004–, executive vice president of Law Center affairs, 2004–. Former senior associate, International Migration Policy Program of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
AWARDS, HONORS: Alpha Sigma Nu Award, 2004, for Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship.
(With David A. Martin) Immigration: Process and Policy, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1985, 5th revised edition, also with Hiroshi Motomura, published as Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy, Thomson/West (St. Paul, MN), 2003.
(As T. Alexander Aleinikoff; editor, with John H. Garvey) Modern Constitutional Theory: A Reader, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1989, 5th revised edition, also with Daniel A. Farber, Thomson/West (St. Paul, MN), 2004.
(As T. Alexander Aleinikoff; with Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Deborah Waller Meyers) Reorganizing the U.S. Immigration Function: Toward a New Framework for Accountability (Volume 7 in "International Migration Policy Program" series), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington, DC), 1998.
(As T. Alexander Aleinikoff) Between Principles and Politics: The Direction of U.S. Citizenship Policy (Volume 8 in "International Migration Policy Program" series), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington, DC), 1998.
(As T. Alexander Aleinikoff; editor, with Douglas Klusmeyer) From Migrants to Citizens: Membership in a Changing World, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington, DC), 2000.
(As T. Alexander Aleinikoff; editor, with Douglas Klusmeyer) Citizenship Today: Global Perspectives and Practices, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington, DC), 2001.
(As T. Alexander Aleinikoff; with Douglas Klusmeyer) Citizenship Policies for an Age of Migration, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/Migration Policy Institute/Brookings Institution Press (Washington, DC), 2002.
(As T. Alexander Aleinikoff) Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Contributor to law journals.
SIDELIGHTS: Thomas Alexander Aleinikoff has been writing about constitutional and immigration law since the 1980s. His Immigration: Process and Policy, co-written with David A. Martin, has been continually revised, most recently in 2004 as Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy. In the first edition of this work the authors point out that, in studying immigration law, "major public policy issues appear repeatedly, posing deeper questions concerning national identity, membership, moral philosophy, constitutional interpretation, public law, public administration, international relations, and the limit of practical politics."
Aleinikoff and Martin address the power of the three branches of the U.S. government with regard to immigration, the federal agencies responsible, and the fact that decisions regarding immigration are under the oversight of four separate cabinet departments. They study changes in patterns of immigration, family reunification, and the definition of "child," among other factors, and conclude by studying what it means to be a citizen of the United States. Hiroshi Motomura reviewed the volume in International Lawyer, saying, "I can think of no other work in the field, in any format, that does such a complete yet succinct job of synthesizing the many dimensions of immigration law into a coherent whole. In this regard, the book is remarkably successful, not only in teaching immigration law, but also in defining it."
Writing as T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Aleinikoff has also produced—both alone and with others—several volumes for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, including Between Principles and Politics: The Direction of U.S. Citizenship Policy, in which he proposes that the United States enter into agreements with other countries that would establish voting rights based on residence, eliminating the current practice of allowing dual residency. In From Migrants to Citizens: Membership in a Changing World, Aleinikoff and Douglas Klusmeyer study the juidical/political aspect of citizenship, or how the rights and duties of immigrants may be different from those of native-born Americans.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had "plenary power" to regulate immigration, Indian tribes, and newly acquired territories. The doctrine was initially used to uphold the infamous Chinese Exclusion laws that restricted land ownership and other legal perogatives; it continues to give Congress the power to control Native American tribes and territories such as Puerto Rico, as well as immigration. Peter H. Schuck wrote in Political Science Quarterly that the plenary power doctrine "is inconsistent with established constitutional norms and has spawned a triumphant, racist rhetoric of sovereignty. Even today, it protects some exclusionary, undemocratic policies from review on the merits." Aleinikoff notes in Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship that the Warren Court, which focused on individual rights and "full and equal citizenship," failed to address these same rights as applied to permanent resident aliens, tribes, and residents of territories who do not currently enjoy full constitutional protection. He says further that the Rehnquist Court struck down policies that supported racial diversity and the sovereignty of Native tribes. Aleinikoff recommends that these peoples be included in a more egalitarian form of citizenship, a goal reflecting the agenda of those groups that seek to take the next step in the fight for human rights.
According to Peter J. Spiro in the Michigan Law Review, Semblances of Sovereignty" skillfully distills the doctrinal contradictions of constitutional subordination. In Aleinikoff's view, citizenship supplies both the explanation for and the answer to this subordination. Citizenship has been a powerfully equalizing force in the American constitutional tradition for those within the circle. Insofar as rights have been made contingent on citizen status, however, those outside are left without constitutional armor." As Spiro pointed out, some Puerto Ricans have renounced their U.S. citizenship, and there is a theory that the identity of Native Americans is put at risk by citizenship. Consequently, because there is little obligation associated with citizenship, jury duty being an exception, there may be no reason not to give these groups that option, if they so choose. On the other hand, immigrants to the United States who do wish citizenship as a means of fostering ties with the larger American community are denied that status. Arguing that those who want to become U.S. citizens be allowed the right to freely apply, Aleinikoff adds that "citizenship does not guarantee a common culture for Americans. It provides the common calling of being American."
Migration and International Legal Norms is a collection of eighteen essays first presented in 2002 at a Geneva conference organized by the International Organization for Migration, the Swiss Federal Office of Refugees, the Migration Policy Institute, and the Graduate Institute of International Studies. The book's foreword notes that its purpose is to provide "a concise guide to international legal norms and standards in the field of migration." Aleinikoff's overview of the law and summary of multilateral, bilateral, and regional cooperative arrangements begins the book. Linda S. Bosniak wrote in the American Journal of International Law that Migration and International Legal Norms "might best be described as a comprehensive reference handbook on the international law of migration in its various dimensions. There is no other resource in the field that is as thorough or as authoritative."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Aleinikoff, T. Alexander, and Vincent Chetail, editors, Migration and International Legal Norms, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Aleinkoff, Thomas Alexander, and David A. Martin, Immigration: Process and Policy, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1985, 5th revised edition, also with Hiroshi Motomura, published as Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy, Thomson/West (St. Paul, MN), 2003.
Aleinikoff, T. Alexander, Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
American Journal of International Law, January, 2004, Linda S. Bosniak, review of Migration and International Legal Norms, p. 234.
Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, summer, 1999, Jeffrey R. O'Brien, "U.S. Duel Citizen Voting Rights: A Critical Examination of Aleinikoff's Solution," pp. 573-595.
International Affairs, July, 2001, Jean Tillie, review of From Migrants to Citizens: Membership in a Changing World, p. 709.
International Lawyer, winter, 1987, Hiroshi Motomura, discussion of Immigration: Process and Policy, pp. 261-266.
Library Journal, March 15, 2002, Steven Puro, review of Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship, p. 95.
Maryland Journal of International Law and Trade, fall, 1985, review of Immigration, p. 248.
Michigan Law Review, February-April, 1986, Lynda S. Zengerle, review of Immigration, pp. 1084-1090; May, 2003, Peter J. Spiro, review of Semblances of Sovereignty, p. 1492.
Political Science Quarterly, fall, 2002, Peter H. Schuck, review of Semblances of Sovereignty, p. 536.
Georgetown University Law Center Online, http://www.law.georgetown.edu/ (March 23, 2005), "T. Alexander Aleinikoff."