Recently in Immigration and Policies Category

What I'm Reading

By Anna-Maria Nykänen

Even though many people think that theories are useless in our everyday lives and that they just serve the interests of the academics, theories do matter. Theories about immigration policy are no exception.

What I'm Reading

By Molly Illes

First-hand accounts like Enrique's story, told in There's No Jose Here: Following the Hidden Lives of Mexican Immigrants (Nation Books 2006), by journalist Gabriel Thompson, can humanize the issue of immigration for legislators and the broader community.

By Kelly M. Anderson

Plead guilty and the U.S. government will not charge you with the felony of identity theft, but rather offer a "bargain" of 6 months in prison followed by deportation. Plead not guilty, request a trial, wait several months in jail for a trial, and then face the prospect of 2 years in prison. . . followed by deportation.

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Director, Immigration History Research Center

In debates about immigration, Americans prefer watery metaphors--of waves or streams of migrants washing into the United States. Maybe that's why so many imagine that their government can simply "turn off the tap." World historians explain why such faucets don't always work.

By Debra Kay Markert

There have been many articles in the papers about the raids that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has carried out in the name of national security. But instead of focusing on the criminals and terrorist suspects, ICE is targeting those that are relatively easy to find. They are finding them hard at work in the meatpacking plants.

The Erosion of Immigrant Rights

by Katherine Fennelly, Professor
Humphrey H. Institute of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota
IHRC Affiliate

The rights of immigrants –both authorized and unauthorized—have steadily eroded as the result of actions and policies of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Unauthorized immigrants
In the absence of meaningful immigration reform the Bush Administration has recently begun selectively targeting unauthorized immigrants (individuals without legal visas). The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has described “Operation Return to Sender? as a program to arrest individuals who have missed deportation hearings or returned to the US after having been deported, but many of those arrested in well-publicized raids do not fit this profile. Instead, some appear to have been randomly selected on the basis of their appearance. The example of Joel Baltazar Reyes was cited in an article in the San Bernadino Reporter. He was walking down a street in Pomona, California when he was stopped and asked if he had immigration documents. Because he had no papers, he was arrested and deported to Mexico the following day. Furthermore, among those individuals detained, and later released in raids on Swift meat processing plants several weeks ago were permanent residents and citizens who ‘looked Latino’.

Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free?

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

Americans have long associated immigration with the images that Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus? affixed to the pedestal supporting the Statue of Liberty—images of the “tired? and of the “poor? and of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.?

Historians now dispute whether the immigrants of the past were either tired or particularly poor. Most were working age people, full of energy, and in possession of sufficient cash to pay their own passages, as the truly poor of their times were not. Today, those images of huddled masses seem even less appropriate than they did a century ago.

By Katherine Fennelly, Professor of Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute, IHRC Affiliate

The American press has been filled with news stories on the rapid increase of the Latino population in both traditional and non-traditional immigration states (“Hispanics driving population growth in Georgia? The Telegraph, “Lee minority population young, soaring?, “Beaufort County leads state in growth? The Beaufort Gazette). At the same time local officials in some parts of the country are proposing legislation that would deny benefits to the US-born children of undocumented immigrants, a majority of whom are Latinos.

On Efficiency and Immigrant Labor

By Andy Urban, PhD candidate in History at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty

A recent article in the Economist [link] attempts to complicate the current debate surrounding immigration by reiterating the point that undocumented immigrants typically do not compete with native-born Americans for the same jobs. The article focuses on Jim Pederson, a Democratic candidate for senator from Arizona. Pederson has been touting a guest worker program as a “sensible? alternative to the impossible task of securing and closing-off the border with Mexico. In part, the Economist article draws from a scholarly report recently published in Foreign Affairs by Tamar Jacoby [link], a member of the conservative Manhattan Institute think-tank. Jacoby critiques the arguments of her conservative counterparts seeking to restrict immigration by asserting that, “The market mechanisms that connect U.S. demand with foreign supply, particularly from Latin America, are surprisingly efficient.? Essentially Jacoby promotes a free market approach to immigration, whereby a cheap labor supply from abroad will provide construction and service sectors with a labor supply that they cannot attract from the native-born American population.

By Louis Mendoza, associate professor and chair of the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty.

This week’s immigration news was dominated by proclamations either celebrating or condemning President Bush’s signing into law a new homeland security bill that includes a 1.2 billion dollar appropriation for building 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border to stem unauthorized immigration.

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