Recently in Immigration and the Economy Category

By Walker Bosch

That is the message of Phillipe Legraine in his interview with the New York Time's Freakonomics blog. Moral viewpoints drive policy debates across a wide spectrum of issue areas, and immigration is no different.

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.

Send Me your Rich and Talented

Donna R. Gabaccia
Director, Immigration History Research Center

In the past weeks, I’ve fielded almost a dozen inquiries from journalists pondering what the impact of a proposed skills-based point system would be on the current immigration “crisis.? Can historical perspective help us to answer their question?

By Elizabeth Boyle, Associate Professor of Sociology & Law, IHRC affiliate

When my Grandfather Cianciaruso was a young man, he worked as a shoe repairman in Iowa, and every month he sent most of the money he earned back to his mother in Italy. At that time, it was common for migrants to send money back to family members (these payments are called "remittances"). And remittances are still exceedingly common among new migrants today. The more things stay the same, the more things change, however. Today, remittances are viewed as a possible solution to global inequality and poverty. From where does this view come, and how realistic is it?

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.

By Erika Lee, associate professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 mark a definitive turning point in many aspects of American life. We tend to think in terms of "before 9/11" and "after 9/11." On the morning of the attacks, I was getting ready to teach my Asian American history class at the University of Minnesota. I can't remember what the prepared lecture for the day was, but I do remember abandoning the lesson plan and instead spending the next hour talking with students about what we knew and what might happen. Given the subject matter for our course, we were highly aware of America's history of racial profiling, race-based immigration restriction, and incarceration. Many of us wondered aloud if Muslims or Arabs might experience similar treatment that many Asians did before and during World War Two.

Immigrants in the Heartland

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Rudolph J. Vecoli Professor of Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

It was no accident that President Bush chose to talk about immigration in Omaha, Nebraska last week.

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