Doris Marie Provine

Professor Emerita, Arizona State University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Law & Courts
  • Criminal Justice
  • Immigration

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About Doris

Provine’s research and teaching have focused on law and courts, and particularly on their capacity to achieve justice. In recent years, she has become immersed in the implications of living undocumented in the United States and elsewhere. The political debate around those who have settled without authorization tends to be legalistic, but at bottom the differences are what it means to be a member of society in the contemporary era. She is active in the effort to protect rights and liberties in Arizona through the local affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, Mi Familia Vota, and the Arizona Advocacy Network.



"The Morality of Law: The Case against Deportation of Settled Immigrants" in Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: Emerging Possibilities for Social Transformation, edited by LaDawn Hagland and Robyn Stryker (University of Pennsylvania Press, under review).
Demonstrates how the law has created a great divide between citizens and non-citizens that obscures the considerable capacity of American domestic law for forgiveness (e. g. bankruptcy legislation). Viewed in this light, forgiveness for illegal border crossing and visa overstays is no outlier. Rather it is compatible with the practical drive in American law for getting past previous wrong-doing.
Unequal under Law: Race in the War on Drugs (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
Narrates how decades of both manifest and latent racism helped shape a punitive U.S. drug policy whose onerous impact on racial minorities has been willfully ignored by Congress and the courts.
"Race and Inequality in the War on Drugs" Annual Review of Law and Social Science 7 (2011): 41-60.
Considers how the “war on drugs” approach came to be adopted in the United States and why it persists despite its evident shortcomings.
"The Criminalization of Immigrants as a Racial Project" (with Roxanne D. Doty). Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 27, no. 3 (2011): 261-277.
Argues that contemporary policy responses to unauthorized immigration reinforce racialized anxieties by (a) focusing attention on physically distinctive and economically marginalized minorities – a Latinos in particular – who are defined as the nation’s immigration “threat,” (b) creating new spaces of enforcement within which racial anxieties flourish and become institutionalized; and thereby (c) racializing immigrant bodies while structurally overemphasizing Latino arrests and deportations.
"A Multilayered Jurisdictional Patchwork: Immigration Federalism in the United States" (with Monica W. Varsanyi, Paul G. Lewis, and Scott Decker). Law & Policy 34, no. 2 (2012): 138-158.
Focuses on the immigration-related demands currently being placed on local police in the United States, and the emergence of what we call a “multilayered jurisdictional patchwork” (MJP) of immigration enforcement.
"Why Do (Some) City Police Departments Enforce Immigration Law? Political, Demographic, and Organizational Influences on Local Choices" (with Paul Lewis, Monica W. Varsanyi, and Scott Decker). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 23, no. 1 (2013): 1-25.
Looks at the role of local police departments in enforcing national immigration legislation, and finds that immigrant-supportive city policy commitments and the presence of a Hispanic police chief are associated with less intensive immigration enforcement by local police.

In the News

"Migrant Issue Needs a Blend of Compassion, Law," Doris Marie Provine, Arizona Republic, June 14, 2009.
Guest to discuss the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070 on PBS’ Arizona Horizon with Ted Simons, Doris Marie Provine (with Evelyn Cruz), July 7, 2010.
"Immigration Federalism: What Policy Prevails?," Doris Marie Provine (with Monica W. Varsanyi and Paul G. Lewis and Scott Decker), Migration Information Source, October 9, 2012.
"Arizona Residents are the Winners with Supreme Court Voter Registration Ruling," Doris Marie Provine (with Sam Wercinski), AZCapitolTimes, June 21, 2013.