Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Emilio Parrado

Second Advisor

Amada Armenta


With the intensification of immigration enforcement, detention, and deportation in the United States in recent years, an ever-increasing number of immigrants find themselves in immigration court facing removal from the United States. As the site where immigration judges and prosecutors decide who will be deported and who can remain in the United States, the immigration court is an important, yet understudied, institution in the immigration enforcement bureaucracy. Situating this study at the intersection of sociolegal literatures on immigration enforcement, bureaucracies, and decision-making, each chapter of this dissertation focuses on how the judges, prosecutors, and immigration attorneys navigate the labor of removal in immigration court. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations of these court actors, I link their bureaucratic working conditions, as well as varying professional norms, to the process and outcomes of immigration removal hearings. While illuminating the black box of immigration court workings, this project explicitly contributes to research on legal decision-making and the bureaucratic values revealed in the process of adjudicating the important public, civil, and criminal justice issue that is immigration in the United States.

Included in

Sociology Commons