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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 Nahid Khan, Ph.D candidate, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Accuracy, balance, completeness, and fairness are major values emphasized in news coverage; still, the field of journalism struggles with the ideas and ideals of diversity.

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? Newspress.com, “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.

Gimmicks and Games

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

As the November election approaches, immigration remains a key topic of debate. It can be a bit disconcerting how decisions and policy changes that will potentially affect millions of humans, seem to be implemented with an immediacy that belies months of inaction. There is nothing quite like the fear of losing office to get politicians to act; unfortunately, campaign politics do not always display the type of nuance that would best serve such important decisions.

Love, Babies...and Migration

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

Human beings continue to act like human beings--to fall in love, marry, have babies, and want to preserve family ties--even as they migrate across national boundaries. Their completely normal choices pose fundamental
challenges to common assumptions about citizenship. They complicate the already-complex politics of devising and implementing immigration policies.

"I am a worker, not a criminal"

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

Through an accident of professional travel, I was in France on March 28, as
a million protestors hit the streets. Young people were objecting to a law
that would allow employers to dismiss them without cause. They carried
signs that said “?No to trial employment!?

The protests were effective: this Monday the French government dropped the
proposed legislation. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4865034.stm)

Will we see equally swift and dramatic responses in Washington to the
millions demonstrating in American cities over the past 10 days?
(http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/11/us/11immig.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

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