Austin Kocher is a research assistant professor with the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a 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., & Stuesse, A. (Forthcoming). Undocumented Activism and Minor Politics: Inside the Cramped Political Spaces of Deportation Defense Campaigns. Antipode.
Coleman, M., & Kocher, A. (2019). Rethinking the “Gold Standard” of Racial Profiling: §287(g), Secure Communities and Racially Discrepant Police Power. American Behavioral Scientist.
Kocher, A. (2018a). Blurring the Border: Immigration Enforcement and Solidarity in Ohio. The Public Eye, Summer 2018.
Kocher, A. (2018b). 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). The New Resistance: Immigrant Rights Organizing in an Era of Trump. Journal of Latin American Geography, 16(2), 165-171.