Martin A. Schain 

is Professor of Politics at New York University.  Among other books, he is the author of The Politics of Immigration in France, Britain and the United States: A Comparative Study (Palgrave, 2008), French Communism and Local Power (St. Martin’s, 1985), and co-author of Politics in France (Harper-Collins, 1992).  He is co-editor and author of Comparative Federalism: The US and EU in Comparative Perspective(Oxford, 2006) and Shadows Over Europe: The Development and Impact of the Extreme Right in Europe (Palgrave, 2002). Professor Schain is the founder and former director of the Center for European Studies at NYU and former chair of the European Union Studies Association. He is co-editor of the transatlantic scholarly journal, Comparative European Politics.

Research Project

The Border: the Immigration Dilemma and the State

Since the end of the Second World War, the number of people crossing international borders without proper documentation in Europe and the United States, and the number of undocumented residents, has steadily increased.  State authorities have reacted in a variety of ways to this challenge.  Many states in the West, including the United States, generally accepted—even encouraged—this pattern of immigration, at least for a limited period of time.  Others have attempted to strenghthen the border, and have created new instruments to deal with the frontier. Most have done both, sometimes at the same time, sometimes during different periods. This project will focus on the politics of border control and enforcement in Europe and the United States, and the implications for law, justice and punishment. I will analyze cycles of border enforcement, the dynamics that have driven enforcement; the laws and administrative instruments that have been developed to strengthen the border, how they have been used, and how successful they have been.  In this project, I will look at the open/closed frontier as a variable that can be explained by politics and the policy process. Differences within countries over time, and differences among countries, I argue, can be explained in the same way.