Volume 88, Number 5

November 2013

Randomizing Immigration Enforcement: Exploring a New Fourth Amendment Regime

Cynthia Benin

This Note draws upon immigration law to analyze a new Fourth Amendment regime put forth by criminal law scholars Bernard Harcourt and Tracey Meares. In Randomization and the Fourth Amendment, Harcourt and Meares propose a model for reasonable searches and seizures that dispenses with individualized suspicion in favor of random, checkpoint-like stops. Randomization, the authors contend, will ensure that enforcement is evenhanded and will alleviate burdens that result from discriminatory targeting. This Note explores the possibility of randomization in immigration enforcement, a useful context to test the Harcourt-Meares model because it exemplifies the ills the authors seek to address. Though analysis demonstrates that randomization falls far short of its goals, its failures are instructive. Indeed, the lens of immigration enforcement illuminates essential conditions that must exist in order for randomization to be viable.