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The Evolution of Ideas in South America’s Immigration Policy in the Past Century

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Ideas or paradigms play a pivotal role in shaping immigration dynamics, serving as cognitive filters through which policymakers interpret and assess information (Paul 2018, Lester 2018, Cohen 2020). The act of legislators of assigning names and labels, particularly in the formulation of legal categories, transcends mere semantic exercises. Rather, it is within the meticulous selection of different words that these policies concretize prevailing paradigms or ideas (Cohen, 2020; Paul, 2018).

Building upon this insight, and through the analysis of legal corporea, encompassing legislations and regulations governing the entry, stay, and exit of foreigners, Mayra Feddersen* will describe the evolution of the ideas that drove South America’s immigration policy in the past century. By adapting Pécoud's (2020) five governance philosophies into three central ideas—anti-immigration, rights-based, and managerial developmental—she will classified, with natural language processing techniques, all the articles within the immigration laws and regulations of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay over the past 118 years. First, she will provide the first comprehensive account on the evolution of ideas that have dominated immigration policy for a selected group of South American countries. Second, she will show how we can measure ideas using recent advances in AI, specifically, in the sub field of Natural Language Processing.

*Please note this talk is based on a paper co-authored by Mayra Feddersen and Felipe Castro

Mayra Feddersen serves as an assistant professor at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile. She holds a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) and an L.L.M (2011), both awarded by UC Berkeley School of Law. Her legal education was completed at Diego Portales University in 2006, and she was admitted to the bar by the Chilean Supreme Court in 2007.

Currently, Mayra is one of the principal researchers at the Millennium Nucleus MIGRA. Additionally, she presides over the Center for Immigration Policies, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing immigration policy through rigorous empirical research and fostering dialogue among political stakeholders, policymakers, and civil society.

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