Logo en Global Donate now


Document Details


Print and save


Immigration and the legalization of racism




Lisa M. Jacubowski


This dissertation explores the process

through which racism comes to be

manifested in contemporary Canadian

immigration law, policies and practices.

To begin, the concept of "race" and how

it comes to be used commonsensically to

justify the marginalization of visible

minorities is reviewed. Tracing the

transition from "races" to racialisation

and the ideology of racism, it becomes

clear how the inherent dissimilarities

among groups of people can form the

basis for invidious distinction. A

conceptual framework is then created to

investigate how these real human

differences are used to "naturalize" and

legitimize the privileging of some over

others. Here, it becomes apparent that

the success of this "naturalization"

process very much depends on ideology

and complementarity, in relation to the

reconstitution of hegemony. Law plays a

central role in the reproduction and

legitimation of unequal social

relations. Law is socially constructed

to be a detached, objective and neutral

expression of societal values. Inreality

however, it is an ideological discourse

that is shaped by, and reflective of,

the interests and experiences of those

who participate in society's defining

structures. This is exemplified in the

documentary analysis of immigration law

and policies. Towards better

appreciating the persistence of racial

discrimination in immigration, the

thesis explores the interplay between

the text of law and "law talk". With a

substantive focus on two amendments to

Canada's Immigration Act--the Live-In

Caregiver Program and Bill C-86, the

question of how racist practices

persist, in the presence of

deracialised, non-discriminatory texts,

is addressed. Emphasis is placed on the

power of equivocation, as it comes to be

institutionalized in both the text of

law and "law talk". Legislators rely on

equivocation as a means for providing

different responses to divergent

interests. Equivocation thus, plays an

integral role in the State's quest for


Number of pages


Place published



Fernwood Publishing


Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Policymakers and Researchers

Geographical focuses

National relevance

Spheres of activity

Law and Sociology