Imagine the United States of America in the near future, a few decades hence. Conservative, anti-immigration sentiment has dominated government and policy. Congress passed the Licensing Act, which denies public services (like education and health care) for children born to immigrants unless their parents obtain a special license. Any state that doesn’t enforce this law is denied certain federal funds.
In November of 2014, I sat down to construct a near-future scenario for a science fiction novella that became Runtime. I wanted my invented world to be plausible and believable, not an unexplained dystopia. This had to feel real. A significant part of world-building is research, which also happens to be one of my favorite pastimes, and so I began with the history of immigration in the United States.