Austin Kocher is a research assistant professor with the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a Syracuse University research institute that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to study the federal government. Key areas of Kocher’s current research at TRAC include federal immigration detention, enforcement and deportation; the immigration court system; and trends within the federal criminal and civil courts.
Kocher’s research interests focus on the political and legal geographies of immigration enforcement, policing and the immigration court system. His ongoing work interrogates the legal rationalities and everyday practices of producing “illegalized” immigrants through the U.S. immigration court system, and he examines how the immigration courts link up with local immigration enforcement on the ground. His research also includes grassroots immigrant rights and worker rights movements that seek to push back against deportation as a tool of social and labor control.
Kocher is a co-PI on the National Immigration Lawyer Survey (NILS), in collaboration with Maya Barak (University of Michigan-Dearborn) and Kathrine Abbott (University of New Hampshire), uses a mixed-methods approach to study the field of immigration lawyering and perceptions of procedural justice.
Kocher is currently chair of the Legal Geography Specialty Group within the American Association of Geographers and is active in the Law and Society Association.
Recent publications include:
Kocher, A. (2022). ‘Studying Up’ the FOIA State (in Symposium on Margaret Kwoka's "Saving the Freedom of Information Act”). Yale Journal on Regulation. https://www.yalejreg.com/nc/symposium-saving-foia-08/
Kocher, A. (2022). Welcoming the stranger in Trump’s America: Notes on the everyday processes of constructing and enduring sanctuary. Hospitality & Society, 12(2), 165-183. https://doi.org/10.1386/hosp_00050_1
Putnam Hart, J., & Kocher, A. (2022). Impacts of Teaching Critical Race Theory and Applying Contact Theory Methods to Student’s Cross-Cultural Competency in Diversity Courses. Teaching Sociology.
Kocher, A. (2021). Migrant Protection Protocols and the Death of Asylum. Journal of Latin American Geography, 20(1), 249-258.
Sperling, R., & Kocher, A. (2021). Lawsuit Claims LIBRE BY NEXUS ‘Cheats Immigrants,’ But Will Biden Administration Address Roots of Problem? Latino Rebels. https://www.latinorebels.com/2021/02/25/lawsuitlibrebynexus/
Unger, A.-T., & Kocher, A. (2021). Migrant Protection Protocols Along U.S.-Mexico Border Come to an End, but the Assault on Asylum Continues. Border Criminologies. https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2021/03/migrant
Kocher, A. (2021). Will 'protected areas' really be safe from immigration enforcement? Probably not. The Hill. https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/580530-will-protected-areas-really-be-safe-from-immigration-enforcement-probably
Kocher, A. (2021). Biden ends policy forcing asylum-seekers to ‘remain in Mexico’ – but for 41,247 migrants, it’s too late. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/biden-ends-policy-forcing-asylum-seekers-to-remain-in-mexico-but-for-41-247-migrants-its-too-late-156622
Kocher, A. (2021). Court of Injustice: Law without Recognition in U.S. Immigration. Contemporary Sociology, 50(6), 507-509. https://doi.org/10.1177/00943061211050046r
Kocher, A., & Stuesse, A. (2020). Undocumented Activism and Minor Politics: Inside the Cramped Political Spaces of Deportation Defense Campaigns. Antipode.
Kocher, A. (2020). Book Review: Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law. International Migration Review, 54, 1283–1285. https://doi.org/10.1177/0197918320915693
Kocher, A. (2020). Challenging State Narratives about Immigrant Criminality. Border Criminologies. https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2020/05/challenging-state
Kocher, A. (2020). ICE Filed Over 100,000 New Cases and Clogged the Courts at the Peak of the Pandemic. Documented. https://documentedny.com/2020/09/16/ice-filed-over-100000-new-cases-and-clogged-the-courts-in-the-peak-of-the-pandemic/
Kocher, A. (2020, December 3, 2020). The swamp that needs draining now: It’s the immigration backlog ICE created through indiscriminate deportations. New York Daily News. https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-the-swamp-that-needs-draining-now-20201203-uji2d6slkja3jfmho2ldafg7nq-story.html
Kocher, A. (2020, October 26, 2020). What's behind Trump's project to defund 'anarchist jurisdictions?'. The Hill. https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/522748-whats-behind-trumps-project-to-defund-anarchist-jurisdictions
Coleman, M., & Kocher, A. (2019). Rethinking the “Gold Standard” of Racial Profiling: §287(g), Secure Communities and Racially Discrepant Police Power. American Behavioral Scientist, 63(9).
Kocher, A. (2018a). Blurring the Border: Immigration Enforcement and Solidarity in Ohio. The Public Eye, Summer 2018. https://politicalresearch.org/2018/08/13/blurring-border
Kocher, A. (2018). Book Review: Terrorizing Latina/o Immigrants: Race, Gender, and Immigration Policy Post-9/11. International Migration Review, 50(2), e19-e20. https://doi.org/10.1111/imre.12284
Kocher, A. (2018). Greasing the Deportation Machine: US Immigration Courts under Trump. Borderline Criminologies. https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/03/greasing
Kocher, A. (2018). Immigration Courts, Judicial Acceleration, and the Intensification of Immigration Enforcement in the First Year of the Trump Administration. In J. Kowalski (Ed.), Reading Trump: A Parallax View on the US Presidency. Palgrave.
Burridge, A., Gill, N., Kocher, A., & Martin, L. (2017). Polymorphic Borders. Territory, Politics, Governance, 5(3), 1-13.
Kocher, A. (2017). Book Review: Carceral Geographies: Spaces and Practices of Incarceration by Dominique Moran. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, 61(1), e17-e18. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cag.12346
Kocher, A. (2017). The New Resistance: Immigrant Rights Organizing in an Era of Trump. Journal of Latin American Geography, 16(2), 165-171.
Kocher, A. (2017). Trump and Immigration Enforcement: The First 100 Days. Society & Space.
Kocher, A. (2016). Book Review Precarious Worlds: Contested Geographies of Social Reproduction by Katie Meehan and Kendra Strauss. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015. Historical Geography, 44, 173-174.
Ahlqvist, O., Loffing, T., Ramanathan, J., & Kocher, A. (2012). Geospatial Human-environment Simulation through Integration of Massive Multiplayer Online Games and Geographic Information Systems. Transactions in GIS, 16(3), 331-350.
Coleman, M., & Kocher, A. (2011). Detention, Deportation, Devolution and Immigrant Incapacitation in the U.S., Post 9/11. Geographical Journal, 177(3), 228-237.