POLS V. POLICE: Bureaucratic Responsiveness and the Intergovernmental Debate Over Enhanced Immigration Enforcement
Description Degree awarded: Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy. American University Understanding what factors should and do drive bureaucratic behavior are the questions at the heart of the field of public administration. These questions have particular relevance today in the context of the varied and disparate policy decisions being made by local law enforcement agencies across the United States relating to enhancing the enforcement of civil immigration violations. Specifically, the study assesses the impact of organizational, political and demographic factors on the decision of sheriff departments to adopt enhanced immigration enforcement measures under the Immigration and Enforcement Service's voluntary 287g program which grants local law enforcement officers enhanced immigration enforcement powers. Of particular interest is accounting for the probability that sheriff departments deviate from their state legislature's position on immigration enforcement. The data informing the analysis are culled from multiple sources including principally, the National Council of State Legislatures, Immigration and Custom Enforcement's 287(g) program guide, and the 2007 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Survey (LEMAS) administered by the National Institute of Justice. The analysis is supplemented with qualitative data derived from interviews and supplemental county demographic research conducted on departments and counties found to be outliers as it relates to their immigration related choices. Analysis reveals that local community demographics, as well as departmental professionalism, are the most important determinants of sheriff departments' 287g adoption choices, as well as their probability of deviating from the policy preferences expressed by their state legislatures. This finding thus suggests that in the case of local immigration enforcement bureaucratic discretion is in balance with both bottom-up and top-down influences thus reflecting an excellent model of the U.S Madisonian system of checks and balances.
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