Law and politics are inextricably entangled in the immigration policymaking domain, as a range of actors mobilize and respond to judicial engagements with immigration and asylum questions. Leveraging a comparative analysis of three national case studies, we examine the differing registers through which judicialized immigration politics has been enacted in the United States, France, and Switzerland. Our empirical analysis of participants’ shared understandings of what is happening when immigration policy is judicialized lifts up the shared repertoires that emerge from routinized interactions between repeat players in this field. In the United States, we find that the judicialization of immigration policy centers on open confrontation between litigators and administrators. In the French context, by contrast, the judicialization of immigration politics is performed in the register of instruction and collective adherence to legal formalism. Finally, in Switzerland, the judicialization of asylum policy consists of the massive individual appeals against administrative decisions and centers on competing assertions of expertise, particularly over country conditions information. This comparative analysis, drawing on a relational and pragmatist methodology, reveals that the register through which judicialized immigration politics is enacted varies substantially across national contexts and also demonstrates the extent to which these distinct registers are self-reinforcing.
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