RESOURCES ON U.S. IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE POLICY AND THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT IN IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE INTEGRATION
Arranged in order of publication date
with the most recent on top. Scroll down for all entries. We regret that we may not be able to repair broken links promptly.The
conclusions and recommendations of the authors are not necessarily endorsed by Diversity Dynamics.
|Unlike governments in other immigrant-receiving countries,
the United States does not have a clear and consistent national immigrant integration policy. In recent years, many
groups have called for the development of such a policy, and the Obama Administration took some significant steps in this
direction. The future of these initiatives is now in doubt. What is clear, however, is that federal policies in a wide range
of areas, including education, workforce development, and civil rights -- not necessariily designed with immigrants in
mind -- have a major impact on the ability of state and local governments, as well as organizations in the private sector,
to promote immigrant integration. Federal immigration law enforcement activities also impact local communities. Studies in
this collection deal with U.S. immigration and refugee policy and the current or potential federal role in immigrant
Transatlantic Trends: Immigration 2010,
Welcome to Work? Legal Migration Pathways for Low-Skilled Workers,
Migration Policy Institute, January 2018, 16 pp.
Authors: Kathleen Newland & Andrea Riester
brief explores the international migration opportunities available to low-skilled workers, the constraints on their movement
and the development impacts of these patterns. Permanent admissions programs for low-skilled labor are rare. However, a number
of trends in Western industrialized countries have combined to create high demand for low-skilled workers to fill temporary
and longer-term jobs. Some of this demand may be met indirectly, through family reunification or humanitarian admissions,
but currently most programs for the admission of low-skilled workers are temporary programs. These are problematic, as they
offer few rights and protections for migrants. Restrictions on the immigration of low-skilled workers have resulted in these
jobs being often filled by unauthorized immigrants. Providing legal migration channels for low-skilled workers is a focus
of a number of international discussions, including, for example, the Global Compact for Migration, which U.N. member states
have agreed to negotiate by the end of 2018. The brief makes a number of recommendations for policymakers interested in creating
or expanding low-skilled labor programs, including improving coordination between countries of origin and destination and
building careful evaluation into program design (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates).
The U.S. Undocumented Population Fell Sharply During the Obama Era: Estimates for 2016,
Center for Migration Studies, February 22, 2018, unpaginated
Author: Robert Warren
this study, the undocumented immigrant population in the United States fell by nearly 1 million persons between the years
2010 and 2016, from 11.7 million to 10.8 million. The number of undocumented is at its lowest level since 2003.The largest
undocumented group, persons from Mexico, has declined sharply. Undocumented Mexicans numbered 6.6 million in 2010 but fell
to 5.7 million in 2016. Populations from South America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) and Europe (Poland) also fell
between 2010 and 2016. Three groups from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) have increased in number
in recent years, as have persons from Asian nations including India and China. Their growth, however, has not offset
the decline of other groups. Only two U.S. states, Texas and Nebraska, registered an increase of 10,000 or more undocumented
immigrants between 2010 and 2016. Nine of the ten largest states lost population including California (-367,000), Illinois
(-118,000) and New York (-115,000). The greatest percentage declines were in Alabama (-37 percent), Mississippi (-32
percent) and New Mexico (-30 percent). Undocumented immigration rose in the 1990s by 145 percent and during the 2000s by 36
percent. The ongoing decline has been occurring across several administrations in Washington. Report author Robert Warren
employs a methodology in which respondents to the American Community Survey are assigned immigration status based on key characteristics
such as their period of entry, occupation, and likelihood of being immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (Rob Paral, Rob
Paral and Associates)
DHS Overestimates Visa Overstays for 2016: Overstay Population Growth Near Zero During the Year,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:3 (2017), 11 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
In 2017, the Department
of Homeland Security released a report on visa overstays, i.e. non-immigrants admitted to the United States on temporary visas,
e.g. visitors, students, who had not departed the country by the expiration date of their authorized stay. The report found
that there were 628,799 people in this category in 2016 and provided detailed breakdowns by country of origin. This paper
assesses the credibility of these estimates for 133 countries by comparing them to estimates derived by the Center for Migration
Studies of New York using a different methodology. Although the author found rough correspondence in estimates for 90
of 133 countries (less than 2000 difference), the study also found wide variations for other large sending countries, particularly
so-called visa waiver (VWP) countries. For example, CMS found only 500 overstays for the United Kingdom, but DHS reported
21,700; CMS found 900 for Canada, but DHS reported 119,400. The reason for these wide discrepancies is that the DHS estimates
include people who did indeed exit the country in a timely fashion, but whose departure was not recorded. Instead of 628,799
overstays, the actual number is probably closer to 316,000, according to the author. The report concludes that "the best
information available indicates that overstays from VWP countries remain at extremely low levels and that the total overstay
population is growing very slowly."
The Value of Family-Based Immigration
American Immigration Lawyers Association, Policy Brief, January 8, 2018, 8 pp.
Authors: Greg Chen & Diane Rish
The Trump administration seeks to make drastic cuts to America's family-based immigration system and uses the pejorative
term "chain migration" to refer to the immigration of close family members. This paper by the American Immigration
Lawyers Association (AILA) describes the categories of relatives who are eligible to come to the U.S. through the family immigration
system and the various hoops they must jump through before being awarded an immigrant visa. The authors lay out the facts
about caps in the various preference categories, the limited number of visas available, and the lengthy wait a typical immigrant
must endure before obtaining a visa. In doing so, the paper puts into context the Trump administration's insinuation that
immigrants are coming here and bringing in distant relatives in an unending chain. For example, the paper notes that the U.S.
government is currently granting green cards for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who filed applications more than 13
years ago. Looking at the number of siblings of U.S. citizens currently waiting for a visa, AILA estimates that someone applying
today will have to wait 36 years for a visa. The paper points out that most immigrants throughout American history have come
as the result of family ties. The paper briefly discusses the economic importance of family-based immigrants, who are generally
of prime working age when they arrive in the U.S. , and whose relatives often facilitate their economic integration (by, for
example, making it possible to start or grow a business). AILA notes that eliminating or significantly reducing the ability
of immigrants to bring family members will make it more difficult to attract immigrants with high-demand skills (since people
are reluctant to leave family members behind). Elimination of legal channels will also be a future driver of undocumented
immigration as families who want to be together will have no legal options (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates).
Understanding America's Legal Immigration System,
National Foundation for American Policy, December 2017, 19 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
paper very briefly describes the U.S. immigration system, explains why immigration is important to the country, and addresses
many of the myths prevalent in the immigration debate of today. In the context of current proposals to cut legal immigration,
the author explains the importance of Immigration for the growth in our workforce. He also notes that immigrants are disproportionately
entrepreneurs, and immigrants who've come on family visas start many of America's small businesses. Immigrants have also made
many important contributions in the fields of science and medicine. Temporary immigrants, too, are important to the U.S. economy,
and the author runs through the alphabet soup of temporary worker visas and their purposes. As to the myths being repeated
by advocates of lower immigration levels, the author notes that the number of new immigrants coming to the U.S. today is lower
than it was in the early 1900s relative to total population, and that since 2001, the annual level of immigration has remained
about the same. This contradicts those who say that "chain migration" is resulting in ever greater migration. The
author notes there are no visa categories for "extended" family members, and the wait for some close family members-brothers
and sisters, for example-may be 20 years due to the limited number of visas available and per-country limits on visas awarded.
The question of immigration's impact on native-born workers is also addressed, and there is little evidence for the idea that
immigrants adversely impact native-born workers in any way. Finally, the author focuses on a topic that has so far received
little press: education levels of new immigrants have been rising, and they are now, on average, higher than that of natives.
(Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
For Love of Country: New Americans Serving in Our Armed Forces
National Immigration Forum, November, 2017, 29 pp.
Authors: Maurice Belanger et al
Dating back to
the earliest days of the Republic, immigrants have played an integral role in the defense of the United States and its assets
around the globe. In the mid-19th century, half of all Army recruits were immigrants, and in 2016, 11 percent of U.S. veterans
were first- or second-generation immigrants. During past wars, immigrants were permitted to serve if they declared their intent
to become citizens and then were granted citizenship in recognition of their service. However, in 1961 Congress added lawful
U.S. residency as a condition for recruitment, one of many hurdles potential immigrant recruits now face. "For the Love
of Country: New Americans Serving in our Armed Forces" highlights not only the historical contributions of immigrants
to the U.S. military but also their potential to strengthen today's military by: expanding the pool of eligible candidates,
providing critical linguistic diversity and cultural competencies, and improving retention rates. It also outlines the unique
challenges faced by immigrant recruits and veterans alike such as worrying about potential deportation of undocumented family
members while serving overseas or facing deportation after completion of their own military service. The report calls on Congress
and the White House to modernize the immigrant recruitment process through reforms that would allow undocumented immigrants
to serve, provide pathways to citizenship for service members, and support families of immigrant service members thereby ensuring
fair treatment in light of their service to the country. (Jonathan Eizyk for The Immigrant Learning Center's
Public Education Institute)
Can the Government Deport Immigrants Using Information it Encouraged Them to Provide?
Administrative Law Review, 2:97 (2017), 14 pp.
Author: Amanda Frost
essay describes the legal and policy issues raised by any systematic effort to deport unauthorized immigrants based on information
the government invited them to provide. Part I of the essay briefly surveys some of the major laws, regulations, and programs
that encourage unauthorized immigrants to identify themselves. Part II assesses the statutory and constitutional arguments
that immigrants could raise as a defense against deportations based on self-reported data. Part III explains that even if
the government's systematic use of such data to deport unauthorized immigrants is legal, doing so would be a poor policy choice
for any administration, even one that seeks to drastically increase deportations. The federal government has always balanced
immigration enforcement against other goals and values, such as deterring crime, protecting wages and working conditions,
collecting taxes, and preventing U.S. citizen children from being separated from their parents. Deporting immigrants based
on information provided in the service of these greater goals would elevate immigration enforcement over all other federal
policies. Furthermore, doing so would almost immediately render these laws a dead letter, since no rational unauthorized immigrant
would apply for visas or pay taxes if doing so were tantamount to self-deportation. Accordingly, any increase in removals
from the use of such data will be fleeting, while the damage done to immigrants'-and perhaps all citizens'-trust in the government
will be permanent.
Differing DREAMs: Estimating the Unauthorized Populations that Could Benefit under Different
Migration Policy Institute, October, 2017, 5 pp.
Author: Jeanne Batalova et al
In 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
program. The DACA program had granted protection from deportation and work authorization to unauthorized immigrants who arrived
in the United States as children, also known as DREAMers. By mid-October 2017, multiple bills were introduced in response
to this announcement including the Recognizing America's Children Act (RAC Act), the DREAM Act of 2017, the American Hope
Act, the SUCCEED Act, and Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act. This fact sheet by the Migration Policy
Institute estimates how many DREAMers would benefit from each of these five legislative proposals. The charts show those initially
eligible to apply, as well as those eligible to advance to legal permanent residence status after a period of conditional
residence. The most generous bill, which would grant both eligibility and permanent residence to an estimated 3.6 million
immigrants, is the American Hope Act. The least generous bill is the Succeed Act, which would enable 2 million people to apply,
but only advance 1.3 million to permanent residence. Restrictive conditions for permanent residence include required
postsecondary education, military service, and employment.
U.S. Resettles Fewer Refugees, Even as Global Number of Displaced People Grows,
Pew Research Center, October 12, 2017, 38 pp.
Author: Phillip Connor
report presents a detailed demographic analysis of the incoming U.S. refugee population from FY 2002 to FY 2017 and includes
the following data points: nationality, religious affiliation, gender, age, and state of resettlement. The author points
out a number of trends observable in the data, including an increase in the share of refugees from the Middle East and Africa
(from 17 percent in 2002 to 68 percent in 2017), the growth in the share of refugees who are Muslim, reaching 43 percent in
FY 2017; and the large number of refugees ages 20 or younger (between 40 percent and 50 percent throughout this period). The
author also tracks U.S. resettlement activity in the context of the worldwide refugee problem and notes that U.S. resettlement
usually moves in tandem with the rise and fall of refugee numbers around the world. However, at a time when world refugee
numbers have peaked at 17.2 million, the U.S. commitment to refugees has faltered in recent years, dropping to 0.2 percent
of the world's refugee population, far less than the U.S. historic average of 0.6 percent.
The Education and Work Profiles of the DACA Population
Migration Policy Institute, August 2017, 16 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps, Michael Fix,
and Jie Zong
The authors of this report applied their unique methodology
to Census data to determine the characteristics of what they call the DACA “immediately eligible” population—those
who have met all educational requirements for participation in the program. Past studies of this population have been survey-based,
but have not been fully representative. The MPI estimate shows that approximately one-third of this population was still enrolled
in secondary school, a third had completed high school but had not gone to college, and another third was either enrolled
in college, had completed some college, or attained at least a bachelor’s degree. About three-quarters of the DACA-eligible
population who had completed high school were in the labor force. Compared to the unauthorized population, DACA workers were
more likely to be found in indoor, white-collar occupations, with regular hours and moderate pay. This report adds to a body
of evidence showing that DACA has improved the lives of its recipients in terms of educational attainment, work conditions,
pay, and prospects for upward mobility. If the program is terminated with no permanent solution and DACA recipients lose their
work authorization, most DACA workers would be unable to continue in their white-collar occupations, and future mobility in
the workforce would be reversed (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates).
Deportations in the Dark: Lack of Process and Information in the Removal of Mexican
American Immigration Council, Special Report, September 2017,
Authors: Sara Campos & Guillermo Cantor
This report is based on the testimonies of 600 migrants
who were deported from the United States to Mexico between August 2016 and April 2017. Those interviewed pointed towards
systematic failures to follow established procedures for detention and deportation. For example, 43.5 percent of interviewees
reported that they were not informed of their right to contact their consulate, and more than half (55.7 percent) were not
asked if they feared returning home – a key element of applying for asylum. Once the process started, half (50.7
percent) indicated they were forced to sign legal documents without getting a chance to review them, and more than half (57.6
percent) were not given their repatriation documents – necessary for legal readmission to their home countries.
In addition, many of those interviewed (23.5 percent) reported being mistreated during their apprehension, including physical
and verbal abuse. Respondents also recalled inhumane conditions while being held, including exposure to freezing temperatures.
Despite the prevalence of abuse, the authors report that for 95 percent of the 1,255 complaints lodged with Customs and Border
Patrol (CBP) no action was taken. The authors believe that as the current administration deports more migrants it is
likely that their rights will be increasingly under attack. Following the administration’s lead, CBP agents may
feel empowered to make the detention and deportation environment even more hostile to migrants. In particular, the move
to expediting deportations may increase the risk that CBP officers will not follow existing protocols, putting asylum seekers
lives at risk and breaking up US-based families (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University).
The Impact of a Point-Based Immigration System on Agriculture and Other Business Sectors
National Foundation for
American Policy and National Immigration Forum,
10, 2017, 57 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
This paper examines a congressional proposal known as the RAISE Act to substitute
an immigration point system for the current system of numerical limits within preference categories. The author notes that
the Canadian and Australian immigration point systems—often cited as models—are not analogous to the system proposed
by the RAISE Act. The Australian point system, for example, is meant to attract immigrants who have no other ties to Australia,
such as a job offer or family member. The point system proposed by the RAISE Act is meant to cut legal immigration by eliminating
several categories of family- and employment-based immigration. Furthermore, the Canadian and Australian political systems,
and the way those countries administer their immigration system, allow for speedy adjustments when economic conditions change.
Adjustments to our immigration system require Congress to pass a law (and adjustments have not been made in nearly three decades
despite repeated attempts). The RAISE Act’s proposed point system favors highly-skilled immigrants and would do nothing
for industries such as agriculture and construction that are already experiencing shortages of lesser-skilled labor. Many
of the industries that will add the greatest number of jobs in the coming decade require workers with little formal education.
Implementation of a point system such as proposed in the RAISE act, according to the author, would result in a significant
slowdown in the U.S. economy, at a time when some policy makers are making assumptions that U.S. economic growth will pick
up significantly. The author concludes by noting that the RAISE Act does nothing to address the key problems in our immigration
system today: what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., the lack of a year-round work visa
for lesser skilled immigrants, and long waits for green cards that family- and employment-based immigrants must endure. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
Enforcement, Integration, and the Future of Immigration Federalism
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:2 (2017), 31 pp.
Author: Cristina Rodriguez
In this paper, the author looks at the tension between federal and state and local policies on immigration enforcement
and integration. The paper looks at “enforcement federalism,” the level of state and local cooperation or noncooperation
with federal immigration enforcement, and “integration federalism,” the role of states and localities in promoting
or impeding immigrant incorporation. Within each of these areas of federalism, the author looks at the
limits of federal power, and the limits of local resistance to that power. She also examines the tension
between state governments that may be hostile to immigrants and the more welcoming cities within those states. With the increasing
polarization of our society, these tensions have become more pronounced. However, these tensions are entirely normal in our
federalist system. “In an arena as ideologically contested as immigration policy, it should
come as no surprise that our federal system will produce divergent policies and regular challenges to whatever might be the
federal government’s reigning conception of immigration policy.” Ultimately, however, the most contested
matter within immigration federalism—how to treat the undocumented population in this country—can only be resolved
by federal action (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates).
U.S. Leadership Forsaken: Six Months of the Trump Refugee Ban,
Human Rights First, July 2017, 26 pp.
Authors: Eleanor Acer & Natasha Ampriester
to advance America’s foreign policy and national security interests, as well as to protect some of the world’s
most vulnerable populations, the United States must be a global leader in the world’s refugee crises. According to this
report by Human Rights First, the United States is retreating from its responsibilities in this area. The report examines
the effects of the “travel ban” executive order of U.S. President Donald Trump and finds that it has worked to
make America less safe by destabilizing refugee resettlement programs worldwide. Utilizing Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing
Systems data, the report finds that the travel ban has more than halved U.S. refugee admissions in the six months following
the January 2017 order, including an 80 percent reduction in resettlement of Syrians; a three-fourths drop in resettlement
of Muslim refugees; an effective halt of new refugee processing worldwide, and the layoff of hundreds of refugee processing
staff. As a result, the report finds that the U.S. “abdication of leadership” in this area has burdened U.S. allies
and front-line refugee hosting countries, threatened intelligence sharing in the War on Terror, and fueled smuggling and trafficking,
which ultimately threaten the safety of American citizens. The report argues that the U.S. should reaffirm its commitment
to refugee resettlement and resume processing of refugees, in order to reassert its global leadership and protect its security
interests. (Joanathan Eizyk for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
How are Refugees Faring: Integration at U.S. and State Levels
Transatlantic Council on Migration, June, 2017, 33 pp.
Authors: Michael Fix, Kate Hoper, and Jie
This study looks at the educational and economic outcomes of five refugee
communities (Vietnamese, Cuban, Russian, Iraqi and Burmese) in four states (California, Florida, New York and Texas).
The key question is whether the location of refugee resettlement has a significant impact on refugee integration. This
has been described as “the lottery effect” – the idea that refugees’ lives are impacted by being placed
in locales with very different labor markets, costs of living and social safety nets. The authors begin by reviewing refugee
outcomes more generally, pointing out that they tend to enter employment quickly. However, these outcomes vary by community,
with some populations (e.g., Russian) faring better than others (e.g., Bhutanese). The study finds the same is true at the
state level, with Vietnamese and Russian refugees having higher employment rates and higher median income and the Iraqi and
Burmese refugee communities having lower employment rates and lower median income across the states. The authors conclude
that national origin seems to be more highly correlated with positive economic outcomes than location of resettlement. They
offer some suggestions for why this might be the case, including the fact that many Iraqi refugees are widows with limited
experience of the workforce. The authors also note that to get a fuller picture of resettlement outcomes, research should
be conducted on non-economic factors such as levels of civic participation and refugees’ sense of belonging to the community
where they have resettled (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University).
Fiscal 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report,
Department of Homeland Security, 2017, 42 pp.
This report contains data on the number of individuals
who enter the U.S. and who fail to depart when required by the terms of their admission. Only the second annual report by
DHS on visa overstays, this year's report includes nearly every class of nonimmigrant admissions, including students and temporary
workers, who enter through land and sea ports of entry. Collection of exit data from land ports of entry continues to be very
limited due to constraints posed by sheer volume and lack of space for the infrastructure needed to collect information from
exiting visitors. The report summarizes what information CBP collects and how it is collected. It also describes the process
by which the government identifies overstays, and what is done with the information. Tables give the total number of overstays
as well as the overstay rate for each class of nonimmigrant as well as for each country. For individuals traveling on the
visa waiver program (individuals coming to the U.S. for business or pleasure from 38 mostly European and Asian countries),
visitors from Hungary had the highest overstay rate, at 2.75 percent, but the total number of Hungarian overstays, at 2,272,
was far fewer than the 23,472 visitor overstays from the United Kingdom. For visitors required to obtain visas, the highest
overstay rate comes from Djibouti, at 27.23 percent, while the greatest number of individuals who overstayed came from Brazil,
at 39,455. The overstay rates for students, at 5.48 percent, was higher than for all other classes of admission, at 3.01 percent
(again, with wide variations among countries). The report notes that, for a given period, the overstay rate goes down over
time, as people continue to depart the U.S. beyond their expected departure date. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger
Is Border Enforcement Effective? What We Know and What It Means,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:2 (2017), 10 pp.
Author: Edward Alden
For the first time,
evidence is now available to settle the ongoing debate between the "enforcers," i.e. people who believe that strengthened
border enforcement can significantly reduce illegal immigration, and their critics, who believe that economic opportunity
would continue to drive illegal migration despite the billions of dollars spent on border security. According to the author
of this essay, the enforcers have won the argument. The author devotes much attention to a new methodology developed by the
Institute for Defense Analysis under contract with DHS for measuring success on the border. Moving beyond the flawed metric
of border apprehensions, the Institute was able to estimate the number of illegal entries - both on land and in the air -
that were undetected by the border patrol. "Unauthorized migration across the southern border has plummeted, with successful
illegal entries falling from roughly 1.8 million in 2000 to just 200,000 by 2015." This sharp drop has less to
do with any increase in the rate of apprehension and more with the power of deterrence, as penalties for illegal entry have
grown more severe. The author, however, believes that the enforcement strategy has reached a "point of diminishing
returns," and questions the value of additional major investments, such as the construction of a wall on the southern
border. He puts forth three arguments to support his point of view: first, most arrivals these days are not economic migrants
from Mexico but Central American asylum seekers, a population that the U.S. must treat differently under international law;
second, the majority of new additions to the undocumented population are coming from people overstaying their visas; and finally,
among Mexican migrants, a growing percentage of repeat border crossers are parents seeking to unify with children in the United
States, "a population that is far harder to deter than young economic migrants."
Zero Undocumented Population Growth is Here to Stay and Immigration Reform Would Preserve and Extend
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:2 (2017), 18 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
This report shows
that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the Great Recession had little, if any, role in reducing the growth of the undocumented
population in the United States. Rather, the population stopped growing because of greater scrutiny of air travel after 9/11,
additional resources dedicated to southern border enforcement since the mid-nineties, improved economic and demographic conditions
in Mexico, and the ability of some undocumented immigrants (those who overstayed their temporary visas) to acquire legal status.
The author examines changes in the undocumented population by world region, country of origin, and state of residence for
two periods: 2000 to 2008, and 2008 to 2015. He suggests that "the fact that (undocumented) population growth stopped
at about the same time that the recession began was merely a historical coincidence." He concludes that "it
is time to recognize that zero population growth is here to stay and this it is very much in our self-interest to seize this
opportunity to reform the US legal immigration system in order to preserve and extend these gains."
National Interests and Common Ground in the US Immigration Debate: How to Legalize the US Immigration
System and Permanently Reduce Its Undocumented Population,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5(2): 2017, 33 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin & Robert
The authors of this paper sketch out a path to reducing the undocumented population in the U.S. through
fundamental reform of our immigration system. In their plan, they seem less concerned with "amnesty" programs and
more with reforms that will ensure that the undocumented population does not grow again in the future. The paper begins with
an analysis of presidential signing statements for immigration-related legislation going back to 1924. "These statements,"
according to the authors, "reveal broad consensus on the interests and values that the U.S. seeks to advance through
its immigration and refugee policies." The authors also argue that "flexibility" should be an important
feature of a reformed system, so that admission levels can go up in times of economic need and down in periods of economic
sluggishness. Another important principle is "coherence," i.e. an immigration system that advances multiple
agendas and avoids contradictions in policy, such as a visa policy that has granted 4.26 million immigrant visas but that
has trapped these visa holders in multi-year backlogs, thereby creating the temptation to enter the U.S. illegally to reunite
with loved ones and drive up the size of the undocumented population. Among other reforms recommended by the authors
are: advancing the registry date at regular intervals and eliminating the three- and 10-year bars. In addition, they
argue for a broad legalization program "based on the high (and growing) percentage of undocumented residents with long
tenure and strong equitable ties to the United States."
Immigration and the Bully Pulpit
Harvard Law Review Forum, May 2017, 25 pp.
Author: Jennifer M. Chacón
This essay looks at
how the Trump administration's approach to immigration, while powered by a "rhetoric of unconstrained severity,"
has "deep roots" in the policies of the previous two administrations and represents a "doubling-down on some
of the least productive approaches to enforcement." The first part of the essay describes the enforcement landscape
of the Obama administration and how that landscape changed over time. Obama policies were on "autopilot" from the
Bush administration and seemed to be driven by an expectation that strict enforcement would win over legalization skeptics
in Congress and open the door to comprehensive immigration reform. Obama's eventual effort to be more selective in enforcement
priorities had unintended consequences. "The Administration's attempt to sort immigrants into high and low priority groups
was certainly reassuring to some, but it was also inherently troubled, relying as it did upon problematically constructed
notions of criminality." Obama also considered recent arrivals a priority for removal, meting out harsh treatment for
Central American asylum seekers between 2013 and 2016. The rest of the article looks at the unfolding policies of the Trump
administration, which seem "intentionally designed to stoke the insecurity of immigrant communities." Announcing
his intention to deport two to three million noncitizens in his first year in office, Trump greatly expanded the pool of potential
deportees beyond the 820,000 noncitizens with criminal convictions -- now including people who have been arrested but not
convicted. His plan to expand an administrative removal measure known as expedited removal to a broad segment of the unauthorized
population is now under legal challenge.
The Perils of Expedited Removal: How Fast-Track Deportations Jeopardize Asylum Seekers,
American Immigration Council, May 2017, 28 pp.
Authors: Kathryn Shepherd & Royce Bernstein Murray
paper documents what is happening to women and children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and seeking asylum in the U.S. For
the most part, they are fleeing horrific violence in Central America. Using information drawn from thousands of cases of families
detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, this report illustrates the difficulties these asylum
seekers are having navigating the fast-track removal process known as expedited removal. Among the problems documented are
a lack of ability for some to fully understand the credible fear interview process, a failure of some asylum officers to follow
procedures designed to elicit information from the asylum seekers who otherwise might not feel comfortable talking about sensitive
subjects; distraction caused by the traumas suffered in the home country, family separation by U.S. authorities, or medical
illnesses; limited access to interpreting services for those who speak less common languages; and lack of legal representation.
Those given a negative credible fear determination rarely are successful in having the negative determination reversed unless
they have a lawyer representing them. The cases highlighted in this report raise questions about the appropriateness of using
fast-track removal for individuals fleeing traumatic violence and seeking refuge in the U.S. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice
Crossing the Line: U.S. Border Agents Illegally Reject Asylum Seekers,
Human Rights First, May, 2017, 26 pp.
Authors: B. Shaw Drake, Eleanor Acer, & Olga Byrne
report, based on the cases of 125 individuals and families, documents the difficulties asylum seekers are having requesting
asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border. In many cases and at multiple ports of entry, asylum seekers are being turned away by Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) officers without being referred to an asylum officer. Many are told that they must have an "appointment"
from Mexican officials before they can seek asylum in the U.S. or that the U.S. is no longer providing asylum. Others are
intimidated or coerced by CBP officers into abandoning their attempt to gain safety. Some asylum seekers have resorted to
enlisting lawyers to accompany them to the border to ensure that CBP officers follow their own rules. Those who are turned
away-many fleeing violence in Central America-face violence and even death if returned to their home country. Those turned
back into Mexico have increasingly been at risk for kidnapping, extortion, rape, and even murder, as cartels have increased
their surveillance of U.S. ports of entry and see asylum seekers who have been turned away as easy targets. The authors report
that the practice of turning back asylum seekers, a problem that has been documented for many years, has proliferated since
the November 2016 election. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
The Ten Parts of ‘Illegal' in ‘Illegal Immigration' that I Do Not Understand,
Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 444, April 12, 2017, 13 pp.
Author: Kari E. Hong
The author frames this paper as a response to the question often asked by those in favor of harsher immigration
enforcement - "What part of illegal in illegal immigration do you not understand?" While
the paper specifies ten distinct problems with the concept of "illegal immigrant," several themes arise. For
example, the author refutes the idea that those who are undocumented are willingly in this status. Rather, the immigration
system as presently constituted makes it difficult for individuals to apply for changes in status. Although roughly
50 percent of applicants are allowed to become legal residents when their cases are heard, the wait to actually appear before
a judge can run from 3 to 7 years. There is a current backlog of 500,000 cases. The author also points out that previous
generations of unauthorized immigrants faced different laws and were able to more easily change their status. Thus,
a key conclusion of the paper is that the "illegal immigrant crisis" is actually a creation of changes in law and
policy, so "solving" the problem is a matter of changing policy to make it easier to gain status rather than increasing
the budget for deportation. The author suggests that a more accurate term for "illegal immigrant" might be "pre-legal
immigrant." The author also details the ways that violations of immigration law are not analogous to committing a crime
and provides examples of ways that immigration violations are viewed under the law. Finally, the author argues for recognizing
the economic contributions of unauthorized immigrants. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)
Overview of Refugee Resettlement in the United States,
Niskanen Center, March, 2017, 12 pp.
Author: Kristie De Peña
Though the federal government
retains control of the refugee resettlement process in the United States, it must consult with individual states for effective
and responsible resettlement. The Niskanen Center's report, Overview of Refugee Resettlement in the United States,
provides a summary and assessment of U.S. refugee resettlement. Currently, 21.3 million refugees worldwide require some form
of assistance from the world community; 4.9 million Syrians have registered as refugees since 2011. Individuals seeking refugee
status in the U.S. must receive a referral from the United States Refugees Admissions Program. All applicants are vetted through
rigorous biometric security checks and medical screenings by several government bodies before being interviewed by United
States Citizenship and Immigration Services, while Syrian refugees undergo an additional "Enhanced Syrian Review."
Applicants may be deemed inadmissible on health-related grounds or a variety of criminal grounds. Once a refugee is evaluated
and allowed entry, the federal government must work within the state's resettlement structure. Most states are enrolled in
state-administered programs and are reimbursed for the total costs of their refugee cash assistance and refugee medical assistance
programs, though several states use models involving volunteer agencies and nonprofits or public-private partnerships. While
states are crucial to refugee resettlement, recent legal challenges from governors have aimed to stop or curb the resettlement
of Syrian refugees in their states. The author maintains that such directives contradict traditional American principles and
suggests that the federal government give stronger consideration to state recommendations so that refugees are resettled in
areas where they are more likely to be welcomed and supported. (Sarah Purdy for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Social Science Research Network, March 1, 2017, 54 pp.
Author: Elizabeth Keyes
Believing that the 1951
Refugee Convention fails to cover all types of forced migration in the modern world, and that new approaches to protection
for "unconventional refugees" need to be developed beyond refugee status, the author - Director of the Immigrant
Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law -- spells out the rationale for an easily administered "sojourner
status" that would be country-specific -- similar in some respects to the Temporary Protected Status program. The status
would last for a period of five years, and would be granted only when certain conditions have been met, e.g. applicants would
have to have close relatives in the U.S. In addition, the U.S. would bear some responsibility for the instability in the home
country, and would undertake meaningful efforts to address the root causes of the displacement. There would also be a clear
understanding that the ultimate goal of the program is repatriation, not resettlement. One goal of the new policy would be
to "fit the response to the actual migration flow." The proposed approach would have special relevance to
the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The author believes that "do(ing) something
less-than-perfectly satisfactory" is better than doing nothing at all, as the pressure to migrate is difficult to contain,
and illegal flows create worse problems in the long run. One advantage of the proposed system is that it would avoid
costly and time-consuming individual legal proceedings. "The solution replaces costly individualized adjudications with
broader, simpler protection that is easier to access. It privileges investment in the security and governance of the sending
countries as the only durable way to change migration patterns in the long-term."
The Facts on Immigration Today: 2017 Edition
Center for American Progress (CAP), April 20, 1017, 61 pp.
This report - an update of an earlier CAP report
from 2014 -- gives "the latest and most essential facts about immigrants and immigration reform in the nation today."
The data cover the following broad topics: today's immigrant population, the demographics and political power of new Americans,
immigrants and the economy, the state of the border and interior enforcement, state and local immigration laws, refugees,
public opinion on immigration; and recent developments related to the Trump executive orders on immigration. More than 200
endnotes provide citations to each of the data points discussed in the report.
Creating Cohesive, Coherent Immigration Policy,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:1 (2017), 14 pp.
Authors: Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny
For anyone wanting a lesson in some of the contradictions apparent in U.S. immigration law, this article is a good
starting point. Examples of these contradictions include: trying to limit illegal immigration through strict border
control while tolerating lax interior enforcement. Another is the mismatch between the number of people granted temporary
work visas and the number of permanent employment-based green cards available for people completing their period of temporary
work (e.g. the wait time for Third Preference visas from China has grown from 9 months to 62 months over the last 25 years).
In the area of refugee policy, the authors question why there is an annual quota for refugees but not one for the number of
people granted political asylum. The authors also wonder why the Temporary Protected Status program has evolved into a program
of longer-term legal residence. Policy makers have also been oblivious to the fact that one aspect of immigration law, e.g.
tighter border enforcement, may be exacerbating another, e.g. creating an incentive for undocumented immigrants to remain
in the U.S., rather than to return to their home countries. The authors also believe that flexibility should be built into
the system "via automatic adjustment mechanisms, such as a formula that increases the number of temporary and permanent
employment-based visas when the unemployment rate is low and falling and GDP growth is rising..." They also argue that,
in order to maintain an effective immigration system and avoid political backlashes, "lawmakers have a responsibility
to prevent migration surges, keep migration legal, and maintain effective border controls."
The 2,000 Mile Wall in Search of a Purpose: Since 2007 Visa Overstays have Outnumbered Undocumented
Border Crossers by a Half Million,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:1 (2017), 12 pp.
Authors: Robert Warren & Donald Kerwin
only are "visa overstays," i.e. people who entered on valid visas but remained beyond their period of authorized
stay, a growing portion of the undocumented population (42 percent of the total undocumented population in 2014), they now
constitute the majority of all new undocumented people, e.g. visa overstays represented 66 percent of those who joined the
undocumented population in 2014. These are among the findings in this report analyzing the distribution of visa overstays
and entries without inspection (EWIs) in the undocumented population (EWIs are people who crossed the southern border without
proper immigration documents). The authors suggest that their "findings offer an additional reason to question the necessity
and value of constructing a wall: the large and growing percentage of newly undocumented persons will bypass the wall entirely
and simply overstay their visas." The authors include charts showing the percentage of overstays in all 50 states. The
variations are quite large, e.g. from a low of 22 percent in New Mexico to a high of 96 percent in Hawaii. Other states
with high percentages of overstays include Massachusetts (77 percent), New York (64 percent), and New Jersey (63 percent).
Working Together: Building Successful Policy and Program Partnerships for Immigrant Integration,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:1 (2017), 18 pp.
Authors: Els de Graauw & Irene Bloemraad
This essay argues for a "robust and coherent" national immigrant integration policy -- one that is "vertically
integrated" through all levels of government, and "horizontally integrated" to encompass public and private
sector actors and various types of immigrant destinations. At the apex of this structure would be a national immigrant affairs
office with "dedicated staff and funding to oversee, develop and coordinate immigrant and refugee integration among federal
departments and across levels of government." The authors also call for an expansion of the Office of Citizenship at
DHS and a broadening of the role of the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement at DHHS. The essay provides a summary
of federal, state and local efforts to promote immigrant integration over the last two decades, including the establishment
of 44 formalized city offices dedicated to immigrant affairs, the opening of five state offices with a similar mandate, and
initiatives by 90 municipalities that have developed immigrant affairs commissions, task forces, or programs related to immigrant
integration. At the same time, new public-private partnerships, such as the National Partnership for New Americans and Welcoming
America, have been established to enhance communication among these various entities and to provide additional resources for
their work. The authors also reference the nascent work of the Bush and Obama administrations to articulate and develop a
federal role in immigrant integration. Without such a role, the authors suggest, the United States will likely lag behind
the performance of other countries, especially in such areas as naturalization, economic self-sufficiency, and residential
The Evolving and Diversifying Nature of Migration to the U.S.-Mexican Border,
Migration Policy Institute, February 16, 2017, 8 pp.
Author: Jessica Bolter
Due to historically
low levels of Mexican migration in recent years, unauthorized migrants through the southern border are now more likely to
come from Central American countries, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as from countries in the Caribbean,
Asia and Africa. This article argues that policy changes are necessary given the growing diversity of arrivals. The majority
of new arrivals, particularly those from Cuba and Haiti, are trying to seek admission through official border crossings rather
than trying to evade detection. The article goes into detail on the circumstances facing migrants from these two countries,
including the displacement of Haitians from Brazil due to deteriorating economic conditions there, and the relaxation of exit
visa requirements by the Cuban government in 2013. These increasingly diverse migrant flows place pressure on the Latin American
countries that serve as transit nations. Haphazardly closing or opening borders to migrants can overwhelm local infrastructure
and resources of neighboring transit nations by causing a buildup of migrants awaiting asylum. Despite policy changes discouraging
migration, the diverse flow of migrants to the U.S. will not soon subside as many migrants are escaping deteriorating economic
conditions, political instability and persecution. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Critical Perspectives on Clandestine Migration Facilitation: An Overview of Migrant Smuggling Research,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:1 (2017), 18 pp.
Author: Gabriella Sanchez
looks at the scant body of research that has been done on clandestine migrant facilitators. The media frequently portray smugglers
as dangerous opportunists and, while the author acknowledges violence perpetrated against migrants, migrant facilitators depend
on referrals for continued business. Few smuggling facilitators are members of wealthy transnational criminal networks. Once
costs associated with the journey are paid, the earnings of individual facilitators vary greatly depending on the task performed
and the number of facilitators splitting the profits. For most, it is not a living, but an income supplement. At its root,
clandestine migration is produced by the restrictions states impose on the mobility of migrants and asylum seekers. With the
strengthening of immigration controls, reliable, experienced facilitators are being forced out of the market, and are being
replaced by less experienced facilitators, increasing the risks to migrants. Border enforcement has raised smuggling costs,
and forced migrants and asylum seekers to use more remote and dangerous routes, where they are more vulnerable to environmental
exposure and are more likely to be victimized by crime. Anti-smuggling activity does not punish the transnational criminal
networks that are popularly thought to be behind human smuggling, but rather it has made migrants and asylum seekers more
vulnerable. More empirical research may inform policies that will ultimately lead to improved safety for migrants and asylum
seekers. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
The U Visa's Failed Promise for Survivors of Domestic Violence,
Available at SSRN, November 19, 2016, 38 pp.
Author: Natalie Nanasi
Recognizing the unique vulnerabilities
of immigrants who become victims of crime, Congress enacted the U visa, a form of immigration relief that provides victims,
including survivors of domestic violence, a path to legal status. Along with this humanitarian aim, the U visa was intended
to aid law enforcement in efforts to investigate and prosecute crime, based on the notion that victims without legal status
might otherwise be too fearful to "come out of the shadows" by reporting offenses to the police. Survivors
were required to cooperate with law enforcement as a condition for receiving legal status. The author of this article argues
that the interest of victims, who may have legitimate reasons for not wanting to cooperate with law enforcement, have
often been ignored in the U visa process. Despite early feminists' support for punitive approaches, "many scholars and
advocates argue that the pendulum has swung too far and that the deprivation of choice inherent in mandatory legal interventions
can be extraordinarily harmful to survivors of domestic violence." The author recommends that the requirements for U
visas should be rewritten to permit exceptions especially for "survivors who are too traumatized to engage with law enforcement,
for those whose safety or security would be compromised by reporting or cooperating, or for victims who can demonstrate that
a law enforcement agency arbitrarily or unreasonably refused to sign a certification form."
Addressing the Syrian Refugee Crisis,
Brookings Institute, December 16, 2016, 9 pp.
Authors: Jessica Brandt & Robert L. McKenzie
a tradition dating back to 1921, Brookings scholars in late 2016 provided recommendations to the incoming Trump administration
on a range of vital public policy issues, including how to handle the Syrian refugee crisis. According to the authors
of refugee policy brief, the scale of Syrian humanitarian "catastrophe" is unprecedented and threatens to undermine
the security of frontline states in the region, like Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, which have taken in 5 million Syrians living
outside the borders of Syria. To effectively deal with the crisis will require both an American commitment to resettle a small
number of these refugees and support for refugees remaining in frontline states. Noting that the numbers and threat of Syrian
refugees in the U.S. have been "overstated in public discourse," and that our government gives preference to vulnerable
refugees, such as single mothers with children, this policy paper argues that the U.S. posture towards refugees will shape
the response of the world community, and that the U.S. should follow through on its commitment to resettle 110,000 refugees
in 2017 (a 30 percent increase from 2016). In addition, the administration must make Syrian refugee education in countries
of first asylum a top priority, ensuring that all refugee children living in the Mideast have access to primary and secondary
education by September of 2017, so as not to create "environments where violent extremism can take hold." In addition,
barriers to refugee employment need to be lowered, so that parents are not dependent on child labor and are willing to send
their children to school.
The Obama Record on Deportations: Deporter in Chief or Not?
Migration Policy Institute, January 26, 2017, 7 pp.
Authors: Musaffar Chishti, Sarah Pierce, & Jessica Bolter
This essay compares the Obama record on deportations with that of the two previous administrations. Obama
abandoned the policy of engaging in worksite enforcement operations and focused on recent border crossers and people convicted
of serious crimes. Specifically in 2011, newly apprehended individuals on the border were placed in "removal" procedures,
rather than given voluntary departure (Removed individuals are barred from reentry for a specified period of time, and if
they attempt to reenter, may be jailed for a felony offense). As a result, although the overall number of deportations
declined during the Obama years, compared to the Bush and Clinton administrations, the number of removals shot up to an all-time
high. More than 90 percent of interior removals were individuals convicted of serious crimes. The decline in the overall
number of deportations has much to do with a decline in unauthorized inflows, particularly of Mexicans. Although the incoming
Trump administrations promises to ramp up deportations, "only his eventual record on immigration will tell how it compares
with his predecessors' in terms of prioritizing overall numbers of removals and the categories of individuals being removed."
Borders and Walls: Do Barriers Deter Unauthorized Migration?
Migration Policy Institute, October 5, 2016, 6 pp.
Author: Reece Jones
This essay examines the history
of border walls and their effectiveness in curbing unauthorized migration. Despite impressions to the contrary, border walls
-- including the so-called Great Wall of China - have been rare occurrences in history and rarely, if ever, employed to deter
migrating people. Rather, they were largely used as defense fortifications around densely inhabited cities. The recent surge
in border wall construction has nothing to do with defense against enemies, as walls in the modern era have little value in
preventing invasion. Rather, they're intended to block migrants and refugees from entering the territory of another country.
The author questions whether walls of this nature are effective in achieving this purpose. Border walls tend to shift unauthorized
migration to more dangerous routes, generally leading to a spike in deaths. Walls also fail to prevent the "significant
share" of unauthorized immigrants who enter the United States on a valid non-immigrant visa but then overstay the terms
of their visa. Despite these drawbacks, coupled with the expense of construction, the author expects that there will be many
more walls constructed in the short-term because walls are "symbols that demonstrate that politicians are doing something
to address the perceived threats brought by unauthorized movement."
Beyond Earned Citizenship
Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, forthcoming, 51 pp.
Author: Muneer I. Ahmad
paper traces the development of, and critiques, the "earned legalization" and "earned citizenship" discourse
that has dominated discussions of comprehensive immigration reform for more than a decade. Described as a "rhetorical
move intended to distinguish such proposals from amnesty," the author - a professor at the Yale Law School -- finds that
this discourse "suffers from serious, previously unaddressed theoretical and conceptual flaws that illuminate and imperil
our larger understandings of citizenship..." He adds that "earned citizenship implicitly subscribes to the core
claim of restrictionists - namely, that undocumented immigrants have committed individual moral transgressions that require
some form of moral recompense." As such, it ignores "the complex, structural causation of undocumented migration"
and opens the door to an attack on birthright citizenship, based on the dog whistle of "the mythological anchor baby."
Instead of enabling this kind of discourse, the author suggests that the problem of undocumented immigration might be treated
as a matter of caste. "The undocumented population today consists of some 11 million people, most of whom have been here
for nearly a generation, are racially marked, disproportionately poor, categorically disenfranchised, systematically discriminated
against, and relegated by law to the absolute margins of the economy. These are the hallmarks of caste."
Shared Border, Shared Future: A Blueprint to Regulate US-Mexico Labor Mobility,
Center for Global Development (CGD), 2016, 65 pp.
Lead Author: Michael A. Clemens
A major think
tank in the field of international development, CGD convened a working group of international experts on migration to study
and propose a new bilateral worker agreement (BWA) between the United States and Mexico. Their report reviews previous agreements
dating back to the early 20th century, identifies their design flaws, and strives to design a new and improved
system attuned to the labor market needs of both countries. The working group makes no recommendations on permanent
migration, family reunification, or the fate of those who migrated unlawfully in the past. Instead, it focuses exclusively
on the contours of a new temporary worker program. Among the key features of the CGD proposal are the following:
preservation of US worker priority for jobs; prevent spikes in labor inflows, but respond to market conditions; suppress abusive
labor intermediaries; ensure employer compliance with labor standards for all workers; deal effectively with visa overstays;
focus on sectors where Mexican labor adds value; and develop transparent criteria for adjustment to shifting market conditions.
The working group sees its proposal as "an enlightened alternative to dark, extremist visions with nothing to offer but
militarized walls and vast deportation convoys."
Creating a 21st-Century Immigration System,
National Immigration Forum, September, 2016, 16 pp.
Suggesting that "bipartisan, commonsense (immigration)
reform may again be within reach" in 2017, the Forum sketches the outline of a "market-oriented" reform package
that would "strengthen border security, fix a broken visa system, preserve commonsense interior enforcement ideas and
provide an opportunity for earned legalization for undocumented immigrants..." The Forum notes that our current system
utilizes "arbitrary, decades-old quotas that do not reflect modern economic trends" and that the failure to provide
a sufficient number of visas to satisfy employer demand for immigrant labor is the "prime reason" so many undocumented
workers have come to the U.S. Reviewing the history of U.S immigration law, and the role that immigrants have played, and
will continue to play, in strengthening the U.S. economy, the Forum believes that immigration reform will benefit all Americans.
To bring about this outcome will require an immigration system that effectively uses labor market data to determine the number
of immigrant visas to be awarded each year. However, a shift to a more employment-focused immigration system "should
not be accompanied by an abandonment of the system's focus on family." The report goes into detail on the requirements
of an earned legalization program, endorses a strengthened E-Verify program, and outlines steps to improve border security
and operations, including the development of new border security metrics.
Immigrant Veterans in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, October 13, 2016, 9 pp.
Authors: Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova
many first and second generation immigrants are veterans? How has the percentage of immigrant veterans changed over time?
What are the top countries of birth of immigrant veterans? These are some of the questions addressed in this essay,
which also looks at the English proficiency, gender, marital status, age, education, employment status, and poverty levels
of immigrant military veterans. Relevant provisions of immigration and nationality law pertinent to military service are also
Technology Needs Among Immigrant Rights and Immigrant Service Organizations,
Immigrant Advocates Network & Idealware, August, 2016, 21 pp.
This paper presents the results of
a survey that was conducted with over 300 immigrant rights and immigrant legal services agencies with the goal of evaluating
their technology needs. The survey focused on three areas - hardware infrastructure, communications software, and case management
- and participating agencies were asked to respond to a series of questions about specific policies and practices deemed to
be effective. The results suggest that that while the programs had made progress when it comes to hardware infrastructure,
they do not do as well regarding using technology for communication and outreach or for case management. The authors express
a concern that failure to maintain good data hygiene and to address routine maintenance could cause programs to struggle with
basic tasks (like tracking clients) and to lose out on chances to engage with potential funders. Taking a closer look at the
data, the authors conclude that the nature of the agency and its relative size had little to do with how effectively they
were using technology. Rather, the authors find that many agencies have not thought about how technology fits into their work,
and that there may be a sense that any time spent on technology should instead be spent providing direct service to clients.
The report contains a series of suggested steps programs can take to shift attitudes about technology and to make concrete
changes in the areas of hardware infrastructure, communications software, and case management. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair
Access to Counsel in Immigration Court,
American Immigration Council, September 28, 2016, 12 pp.
Authors: Ingrid Eagly & Steve Shafer
there have been a number of local and regional studies on access to counsel in immigration court, this report presents the
results of the first national study of this issue. Drawing on data from more than 1.2 million deportation cases between 2007
and 2012, the report looks at the extent and impact of representation on the disposition of these cases. Nationally only 37
percent of all immigrants secured legal representation in their removal cases. However, the figures ranged widely depending
on whether immigrants were detained or not. Only 14 percent of detained immigrants secured counsel, compared with two-thirds
of non-detained immigrants. Representation rates also varied widely based on court location, e.g. immigrants with court hearings
in small cities were four times less likely to obtain counsel than those with hearings in large cities, and nationality, e.g.
Mexican immigrants had the highest detention rate (78 percent) and the lowest representation rate (21 percent) of all nationalities
examined. The report indicates that represented immigrants fared better at every stage of the court process. Detained
immigrants with counsel, when compared to detained immigrants without counsel, were ten-and-a-half times more likely to obtain
relief; released immigrants with counsel were five-and-a-half times more likely to succeed; and never detained immigrants
with counsel were three-and-a-half times more likely to succeed. The authors suggest that "preserving the integrity...of
the national deportation system demands serious thinking about how to ensure that immigrants facing removal are provided a
meaningful opportunity to be represented by counsel at every state of their proceedings."
Surge in Immigration in 2014 and 2015? The Evidence Remains Illusory
Center for Migration Studies, August 31, 2016, 12 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
New Data and Analysis Confirms Stable Growth in Immigration
Center for Migration Studies, 2016, 15 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
These articles challenge a recent
report by the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that concluded that the scale of new immigration in 2014
and 2015 was "enormous." Examining Census data, the author finds that essentially all of the increase in the foreign-born
population can be attributed to two sub-groups. The first is temporary non-immigrant residents-primarily students and temporary
workers who will eventually leave the country and cannot be considered new permanent immigrants. The second sub-group is returning
former immigrants, primarily legal immigrants. This sub-group has, until now, never been estimated to the author's knowledge.
(Methodology for this estimate is briefly explained in this paper.) Since these immigrants have left the U.S. and returned,
they cannot be considered new immigrants. The author also shows that CIS's finding that undocumented immigration had increased
by 200,000 in 2014 and 2015 over prior years was based on flawed methodology. The author concludes that there is no evidence
of a surge in new immigration. In the subsequent article, "New Data and Analysis Confirms Stable Growth in Immigration,"
the author examines recently released American Community Survey data-with a much larger sample size than the Current Population
Survey data the CIS report relied on-and confirmed the lack of evidence for concluding there has been a surge in immigration
in 2014 and 2015. Rather, the author concludes, the new data "indicates that foreign-born population growth, both legal
and illegal, has been stable since 2009." (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Terrorism and Immigration: A Risk Analysis
Cato Institute, September 13, 2016, 26 pp.
Author: Alex Nowrasteh
This study examines the visa
categories used by foreign-born terrorists who committed 3,432 murders in the U.S. from 1975 through the end of 2015 -- a
number which includes the fatalities on 9/11. The hazards varied considerably by visa category. Overall, the chance of an
American dying in a terrorist attack over the 41 year period was 1 in 3.6 million per year. However, refugees (1 in 3.64 billion)
and undocumented immigrants (1 in 10.9 billion) were much less likely to commit such acts, compared, for example,
to tourists on a B visa (1 in 3.9 million). Overall, the annual chance of being murdered by somebody other than a foreign-born
terrorist was 252.9 times greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist. The
second part of this paper compares the costs of terrorism with the costs of proposed policy solutions such as a moratorium
on refugee resettlement or on immigration as a whole. The author concludes that "the United States government should
continue to devote resources to screening immigrants and foreigners for terrorism or other threats, but large policy changes
like an immigration or tourism moratorium would impose far greater costs than benefits."
DACA After United States v. Texas: Recommendations for the President,
Committte for Immigration Reform Advocacy Working Group, July, 2016, 16 pp.
The Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country before age 16 to apply for temporary
protection from deportation. The initiative has been credited with raising tax revenues and increasing public safety, and
more than 728,285 individuals have been granted relief through DACA. The July 2016 report DACA After United States v.
Texas: Recommendations for the President outlines the impact and success of DACA and suggests steps that the United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can take in order to prevent financial and other burdens from discouraging DACA-eligible
youths from applying. Some of these recommendations include: allowing applicants to use credit cards to pay filing fees;
expanding eligibility for fee exemptions; and using a "balanced approach" in adjudicating applications so that primary
care givers are not excluded from the program, because they are unable to enroll in a qualified educational program. The report
also outlines ways that USCIS can improve the application process, so that applications are handled in a fair and consistent
manner. To this end, the report recommends strategies such as keeping juvenile individuals' legal records protected and providing
automatic, temporary grants of DACA while applications for renewal are being processed. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant
Learning Center Public Education Institute)
The Immigration Act of 1990: Unfinished Business a Quarter-Century Later
Migration Policy Institute, July, 2016, 21 pp.
Authors: Muzaffar Chishti & Stephen Yale-LoehrIt has been more than a quarter century since the U.S. immigration system
was last overhauled. The 1990 Immigration Act aimed to tilt the visa allocation system more toward answering the demands of
the U.S. economy. Much of this paper is dedicated to reviewing changes made by the 1990 Immigration Act and assessing their
effects. The authors note that, while the percentage of immigrants entering through the employment-based system has increased,
in reality more than half of those coming in on employment-based visas are family members of the workers admitted. Only 7
percent are actually coming in based on their skills. At the other end of the skills spectrum, the new law limited the admission
of lower-skilled immigrants to 10,000 (subsequently reduced to 5,000), and in subsequent years, the number of undocumented
immigrants (filling mainly lower-skilled jobs) has tripled. Meanwhile, the new diversity visa provision, originally intended
to provide a vehicle for immigrants mainly from Europe, who had been adversely affected by changes made by the 1965 Act, has
more than any other provision of immigration law been responsible for the growth in immigration from Africa. The authors note
that, while the law helped achieve policy goals at the time, for example, by increasing the number of employment-based immigrants,
neither Congress nor business and labor leaders, who had conflicting views on admission numbers, had a true grasp of the future
workforce needs of the economy. In the ensuing years, "the U.S. and global economies have undergone multiple cycles of
change," while the visa allocation system remains frozen 25 years in the past. Unfortunately, during the same period,
political trust and bipartisanship in congress have declined, making compromise and the ability to enact much needed reform
more difficult. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Prosecutorial Discretion Power at its Zenith: The
Power to Protect Liberty
Boston University Law Review (Forthcoming),
February 17, 2016, 57 pp.
Author: Peter L. Markowitz
The author of this article asserts that "there are clear dangers in allowing a president to wield excessive
prosecutorial discretion power." He adds that limits must be set in order to "preserve the separation of powers
enshrined in our Constitution.... Taken to its extremes," he writes, " the power not to enforce could act as a constitutionally
suspect second veto for a broad swath of legislation." Although the article focuses on the actions taken by President
Obama to spare certain undocumented immigrants from deportation, the author looks at other examples of perceived executive
overreach, including President George W. Bush's decision to refrain from prosecuting operators of coal-fired power plants
in violation of the Clean Air Act and to relax enforcement regimes at the Department of Labor and Office of Civil Rights,
presumably in pursuit of a larger political agenda. Markowitz refers to these instances of prosecutorial discretion
as "normative" or "categorical," as opposed to "administrative" in nature, i.e. where the decision
is based solely on resource constraints. The author then develops what he considers to be a constitutionally legitimate principle
to guide the executive branch in exercising categorical discretion. He asserts that an action to prevent "the deprivation
of liberty" has ample constitutional sanction and legal precedent and that by this standard, the Obama executive actions
in the case of the DACA and DAPA programs can be justified -- and presumably affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Refugee Integration in the United States
Center for American Progress & Fiscal Policy Institute, June, 2016, 56 pp.
Authors: David Dyssegaard Kallick
& Silva Mathema
Refugee Integration in the United States analyzes levels of economic and social
integration of refugees over time through the study of Somali, Burmese, Hmong and Bosnian refugee groups. This report examines
data from the American Community Survey and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and finds that refugees are
integrating well into their new communities as evidenced by growing rates of labor force participation, business and home
ownership, naturalization and English language acquisition. For example, the homeownership rate for Bosnian refugees rose
from 57 percent to 72 percent after 10 years' residence in the United States, exceeding the average homeownership rate of
the U.S.-born. Burmese refugee men saw their wages nearly double after 10 years in the U.S. The significant impact of these
refugee groups on the economic revitalization of metropolitan areas such as St. Louis and Minneapolis is a clear sign of their
successful integration. To ensure that refugees can reach their full economic and social potential to contribute to community
improvements and the growth of the U.S. economy, the authors recommend that federal, state and local governments invest in
refugee integration efforts. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Maintaining Public Trust in the Governance of Migration
Transatlantic Council on Migration, Migration Policy Institute, May, 2016, 18 pp.
Author: Demetrios G. Papademetriou
As President Emeritus of the Migration Policy Institute and convenor of the Transatlatnic Council on Migration,
Demetrios G. Papademetriou has a long and distinguished career promoting engaged scholarship on migration-related issues.
In this essay, he reflects on the current challenges facing political leaders in the migration sphere and offers a number
of recommendations designed to enable governments to regain public confidence in the management of migration. Without
such confidence, he argues, governments will not be able to maintain an effective and responsive immigration system serving
the interest of the entire nation. One of his key points is that governments, such as Australia and Canada, that exercise
greater control over immigrant selection through point or employer-based systems, seem to enjoy greater public support compared
to governments, such as those in the European Union, that draw new residents from sporadic but sometimes massive asylee flows.
Compounding the problem for the EU is the challenge of dealing with those who "game the (asylum) system." Too many
"economic migrants," he suggests, melt into the irregular population and are not deported back to their home countries.
"Europe's failure to adjudicate (asylum) claims quickly, and remove expeditiously those whose applications fail,
has contributed to the chaos the European Union is facing in this regard and the gathering storm of negative public reaction
to most immigration." Papademetriou also challenges the conventional wisdom that there is a "demographic imperative"
behind high levels of immigration. While birth rates may be low in most western countries, job production may not sustain
continued high levels of migration, He cautions policy makers to take account of "changing labor markets in advanced
industrial societies, which will most likely require better skilled and fewer workers in the future (due in part
to accelerating innovations in labor-saving technologies)..." Finally, Papademetriou urges leaders to recognize that
there are "winners and losers" in any immigration system, and that when immigration serves the greater good, governments
must address the needs of losers, or risk losing public support.
Deferred Action for Unauthorized Immigrant Parents: Analysis of DAPA's Potential Effects on
Families and Children,
Migration Policy Institute & Urban Institute, February, 2016, 32 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps et al
What impact will President Obama's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)
program have on the economic condition of families and on the school performance and well-being of citizen children in undocumented
families? Through demographic research and a review of the existing literature, the authors are able to make a number
of predictions, all contingent upon Supreme Court approval and full utilization of the program by eligible undocumented people.
MPI estimates that as many as 5 million unauthorized immigrants could benefit from the Obama administration's deferred action
programs. However, the benefits of DAPA would extend to many millions of additional family members, both children and adults,
who are either citizens or green card holders. Most DAPA-eligible parents labor under serious disadvantages: 57
percent of those with minor children had less than a high school education and 80 percent were limited English proficient.
Although more than two-thirds had lived in the U.S. for at least ten years, household income for these families was $31,000
compared to $43,000 for all families with at least one immigrant parent and $47,000 for those with U.S.-born parents. Reviewing
prior research on the effects of the 1986 legalization program on family income, the authors forecast that DAPA will lead
to a 10 percent income gain for families, as well as a 6 percent reduction in the number of DAPA families living in poverty.
The emerging literature also suggests that deportation can have harmful psychological and economic effects on children, and
even the threat of deportation may negatively affect child development, especially when combined with stressful and exploitive
working conditions for parents. Thus, children stand to gain important benefits from the DAPA program through greater family
stability and security.
Potential Beneficiaries of the Obama Administration's Executive Action Programs Deeply Embedded in US
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 4(1): 2016, 12 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin
& Robert Warren
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an initiative known as Deferred Action
for Parents of Americans (DAPA), extending temporary protection from deportation and work authorization to certain undocumented
parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children. At the same time, he announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals program (DACA) would be expanded to cover additional individuals. DAPA and expanded DACA were placed on hold pending
a decision by the Supreme Court. This report paints a statistical portrait of potential beneficiaries of DAPA, DACA, and expanded
DACA. What emerges from the data is a clear picture of the deep roots potential beneficiaries of all three programs have in
the U.S. (For example, 81 percent of potential DAPA beneficiaries have lived in the U.S. for 10 or more years, and 27 percent
have lived in the U.S. for 20 or more years.) More than 3.7 million undocumented immigrants-approximately 35 percent of the
total U.S. undocumented population-are potential DAPA beneficiaries. Another 1.5 million undocumented immigrants (14 percent
of the total undocumented population) are potential beneficiaries of the DACA and expanded DACA programs. This portrait includes
statistics on length of residence in the U.S., education, labor force participation rates, income level and even access to
the internet (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting).
How For-profit Companies Are Driving Immigrant Detention Policies
Center for American Progress, December, 2015, 15 pp.
Author: Sharita Gruberg
Since 2005, revenues for
the two biggest for-profit prison companies (Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, Inc.) have doubled. According
to this report, this increase largely results from the privatization of the immigration detention system beginning in the
year 2000. Today, 62 percent of all immigration detention beds are operated by for-profit prison corporations. The report
suggests that these companies have an economic incentive to perpetuate detention policies, even though the majority of detainees
pose a low security risk and detention programs have not proven to be cost effective. Private companies lobby heavily for
measures such as minimum bed mandates that incentivize greater detention. The data shows that asylum seekers are less likely
to be granted asylum when detained especially when held at for-profit detention facilities; the average asylum grant rate
is 49 percent nationally, 13.5 percent for asylum seekers detained in government-owned centers, and 8.1 percent at for-profit
facilities. The report also notes cases in which for-profit detention centers failed to meet adequate health and security
standards for detainees especially LGBT immigrants. The author proposes alternatives to the current system such as congressional
measures to eliminate bed quotas, increased monitoring of detention centers, and preventing the federal government from contracting
with private companies for detention programs. (The ILC Public Education Institute)
US Undocumented Population Drops Below 11 Million in 2014, with Continued Declines in the Mexican
Journal on Migration and Human Security (Center for Migration Studies), 4:1 (2016), 15 pp
This paper seeks to show that, contrary to widespread belief, the undocumented population has not been
trending upward, but has instead been decreasing for half a decade. The total undocumented population in the U.S. dropped
to 10.9 million in 2014 - the lowest level since 2003. The undocumented population has declined by an average of almost 200,000
each year since 2008. The decline has largely been driven by a decrease in the Mexican undocumented population, which dropped
9 percent nationally from 2010 to 2014, but with sharper decreases in some states, e.g. California (13 percent), Illinois
(23 percent), and New Jersey (14 percent). The report contains longitudinal population data for the top 15 states of residence
of undocumented Mexicans. In addition, the report examines the undocumented population by region of origin, as well as trends
from selected countries within those regions. Sixteen countries showed declines in undocumented residents, while ten countries
showed increases. The authors note that these demographic patterns seem to run counter to speculation that the undocumented
population would rise as a result of the nation's economic recovery.
Border Metrics: How to Effectively Measure Border Security and Immigration Control,
Migration Policy Institute, January, 2016, 35 pp.
Authors: Marc R. Rosenblum & Faye Hipsman
paper recommends a series of steps that the Department of Homeland Security can take to improve data-gathering on illegal
migration in order to "build credibility and win the trust and confidence of Congress and the American people."
A comprehensive approach must provide reliable information on four groups of migrants: those entering between ports of entry,
e.g. crossing in remote or unguarded areas; those entering through ports of entry, e.g. using fraudulent documents or hiding
in vehicles or truck cargo; those entering legally but overstaying their visas; and the total number of unauthorized immigrants
in the U.S. The report provides a general overview of the available methods for estimating each of these flows, critiques
some of these methods, and suggests new approaches, including recidivism analysis and "observational analysis,"
that might improve accuracy and build confidence in the Department's work. According to the authors, simply reporting on apprehensions
at the border will not cut it. With regard to visa overstays, publication of the DHS's January 2016 visa overstay report "demonstrated
(DHS's) ability to identify overstayers among temporary visitors for business and pleasure; the next step will involve extending
this analysis to over other types of nonimmigrant visas." Of particular importance will be the need to "confront
a gaping hole at the Southwest border" and begin collecting data on southbound travelers leaving the U.S., who are not
Managing Immigration in the 21st Century,
IZA Policy Paper No. 108, November, 2015, 18 pp
Author: Barry R. Chiswick
An economist at George
Washington University, Barry R. Chiswick has written a primer on policy issues involved in managing immigration. He
examines the major approaches taken by governments in selecting immigrants: family reunion (United States), skill-based (Canada,
Australia), and humanitarian (Sweden). He notes that all countries combine these three approaches, but may give greater weight
to one approach over the others. He sees no evidence that skill-based approaches would discriminate against immigrants from
any one region of the world. The paper also discusses the need to maintain an adequate supply of low-skill immigrants to fill
jobs in the service sector, particularly in childcare and elder care. However, governments must gain effective control over
such migration because "the supply of low-skilled immigrant workers will likely continue to exceed the number of available
visas, thereby encouraging illegal immigration." For Chiswick, the key to controlling illegal migration is not
through further hardening of the southern border, but through "mandated nation-wide use of an updated electronic E-Verify
system." Such a system will create the political space to open up more opportunities for high-skilled migrants, particularly
in STEM fields. However, the increased mobility of STEM workers is a two-edged sword. Not only will advanced economies attract
talent from abroad, they may also lose talent, as native-born STEM-trained professionals take jobs in other advanced countries.
For this reason, the author urges policy-makers to think about the employment aspects of immigration policy in the broader
context of overall skill and workforce policy.
White House Task Force on New Americans: One-Year Progress Report,
The White House, December, 2015, 36 pp.
In April of 2015, the White House Task Force on New Americans
published its strategic action plan to advance the civic, economic, and linguistic integration of new Americans. At the time of the plan's release, the President
requested the 16 executive departments, agencies, and White House offices participating on the Task Force to report on their
progress in implementing the 16 goals and 48 recommendations in the plan by the end of the year. This report is the
result of that review process. Among the accomplishments to date have been: spearheading the development of the Building
Welcoming Communities Campaign which now counts 48 cities and counties as members; developing an AmeriCorps program deploying
150 volunteers to assist with refugee resettlement work around the country; launching the Small Business Administration's
"Made It In America" website and piloting entrepreneurship training for immigrants and refugees; and launching a
citizenship awareness and promotion campaign. Plans for 2016 include: hosting a Credentialing Academy "to share
current best practices and to develop tools and resources to address credentialing and licensing issues" facing skilled
immigrants; expanding and refining the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) website -- the "nation's
largest online collection of resources related to refugee and immigrant children and families;" establishing a working
group "to streamline and improve language access across federal agencies;" investing in a new model of providing
integrated English and civics education; and hosting regional immigrant integration conferences throughout the U.S.
More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S.,
Pew Research Center, November 19, 2015, 32 pp.
Author: Ana Gonzalez-Barrera
This study calls
attention to a reversal in the pattern of migration from Mexico to the U.S. More than 16 million Mexican immigrants came to
the U.S. between 1965 and 2015 -"one of the largest mass migrations in modern history." The Mexican population peaked
at 12.8 million in 2007 but fell to 11.7 million in 2014. The study finds that a majority of the 1 million Mexicans who left
the U.S. between 2009 and 2014 left of their own free will. According to Mexican data, six in ten (61 percent) cited family
reunification as their primary motive for returning, whereas only 14 percent cited deportation. Other reasons for the decline
in the Mexican population are the Great Recession in the U.S., which may have thrown some Mexicans out of work and reduced
the attractiveness of the U.S. to would-be migrants, as well as increased enforcement along the southern border. Despite this
contraction in Mexican migration, a substantial number of Mexicans (35 percent) are still interested in moving to the U.S.
‘The Right to Have Rights': Undocumented Migrants and State Protection
Kansas Law Review, Vol. 62, 21 pp.
Author: Jaya Ramji-Nogales
The principal thesis of this
paper is that international human rights law, although it pretends to be universal in scope, fails to provide protections
for the undocumented. Legal scholarship has been slow to recognize this problem. "The legal academy tends to reify
international human rights law as offering solutions to all of the world's problems." The author observes that the subordination
of human rights law to the interests of nation-states was a problem emphasized by Hannah Arendt in her 1950 classic The
Origins of Totalitarianism. The author reviews the main arguments Arendt made in this work. Although Arendt was writing
primarily about minorities and stateless people, the author finds that these arguments apply equally to the undocumented today.
Without "territorial security," migrants have limited access to the rights available to legally resident persons.
Nor do they have the right to procedural due process in immigration proceedings which might grant them access to those rights.
Moreover, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (and other international treaties) "fails to explicitly
reference immigration status in its long list of grounds for non-discrimination." The last section of this paper
offers some suggestions as to how the undocumented might overcome this lack of recognition, including the formation of "counter-hegemonic
transnational networks" and the possibility that countries of origin might demand better treatment for their nationals
An Analysis of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States by Country and Region of Birth,
Migration Policy Institute, August, 2015, 26 pp.
Authors: Marc R. Rosenblum & Ariel G. Ruiz
Using a methodology developed by researchers at Temple University and Pennsylvania State University, this
MPI report provides a detailed overview of the unauthorized population in the U.S. Although people from Mexico and Central
America constitute 37 percent of all immigrants in the U.S. (both authorized and unauthorized), they represent 71 percent
of the unauthorized population. Yet the composition of the unauthorized population has not remained static over time.
The researchers show how the distribution of the unauthorized population by country of origin has changed since 1990. For
example, there has been a sharp increase in the number of unauthorized from Guatemala and Honduras in recent years, while
the Mexican percentage has declined. Other groups, such as Indians, South Koreans, and Ghanaians, have also registered large
percentage increases. The report also provides data on the regional distribution of the following unauthorized groups:
Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, South Americans, Asians, Africans, people from the Caribbean, and people from
Europe, Canada, and Oceania. The report also examines participation rates in the DACA program by country-of-origin, noting,
for example, that young people from Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras have application rates in excess of 80 percent, while
some Asian groups, such as Koreans, Indians, Filipinos, have rates below 30 percent.
DACA at the Three-Year Mark: High Pace of Renewals, but Processing Difficulties Evident,
Migration Policy Institute, Issue Brief, August, 2015, 16 pp.
Authors: Angelo Mathay & Margie McHugh
This report analyzes renewal rates under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, launched by the Obama
administration in November of 2012. Under the program, applicants must renew their status every two years. Although
less than half (750,000 individuals) of the 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible to apply for the
program had come forward by March 31, 2015, the renewal rate stands at 87 percent, suggesting the "life-altering benefits
the program has provided to many." However, significant numbers saw their DACA grant and work permits expire despite
having applied within the recommended time frame. The consequences for those who fail to apply for renewal and those whose
applications are not adjudicated in a timely manner can be dire, including loss of employment and the imposition of an "unlawful
presence bar" if and when permanent residence becomes available to DACA grantees in the future. The report describes
three main barriers that are preventing compliance with renewal requirements: lack of outreach and information, due
in part to a "crowding-out effect" created by the publicity associated with other executive actions announced in
November of 2014; confusion over whether applicants must meet school completion or enrollment requirements; and difficulty
in affording the $465 renewal application fee.
Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief for 2014 and Beyond: A Report on Behalf of the Committee for Immigration
Reform Implementation (CIRI), Human Resources Working Group
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 3:3 (2015), 22 pp.
Authors: Charles Kamasaki et al
is a consortium of more than 25 organizations dedicated to advancing the successful adjustment of status of eligible immigrants
through legislation or executive action. In this report, CIRI draws on the lessons of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control
Act (IRCA), DACA, and other initiatives to provide a roadmap for immigrant service agencies and their partners in planning
for the implementation of the expanded DACA and DAPA programs. If these programs are unblocked by the courts, a total of 5
million people may be eligible to participate, of whom an estimated 1.08 million will need some form of legal assistance.
Working with an estimate of six hours of time per case, the report calculates that 6,480,000 staff hours will be required,
or about 4,000 full-time equivalent staff. There are currently 1,020 nonprofit organizations providing immigration legal services.
They employ 2,018 attorneys and many accredited representatives. While some portion of current staff time (no more than 25
percent) might be dedicated to work on these cases, the authors estimate a "funding gap" of about 83 million, net
after collection of fees, to cover the cost of hiring additional staff. As the government is not likely to cover this
cost, the private nonprofit and philanthropic sectors will have to pick up the slack. According to the authors, the societal
benefits of deferred action, in the form of wage increases, job creation, and greater tax revenue, justify the "investment
in building and sustaining the infrastructure needed to maximize participation in deferred action."
Resolute Enforcement is Not Just for Restrictionists: Building a Stable and Efficient Immigration Enforcement System,
Journal of Law and Politics (Forthcoming), 30:4, 2015, 55 pp.
Author: David A. Martin
The author, former General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton Administration and currently
Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, makes the case for "resolute enforcement" of the nation's immigration
laws in order to sustain a generous immigration policy, particularly America's singularly high lawful admission levels and
relatively successful immigrant integration record. The paper explores the risks to a reasonable and humane admission policy
when the public perceives that migration is out of control. The public reaction to the Mariel boatlift, Congress's enactment
of harsh enforcement measures in 1996, and the Obama administration's stern response to the child migrant crisis of 2014 illustrate
the point. Though the current period is relatively quiet on the public opinion front, that situation is fragile, highly dependent
on the relatively low net inflow of unauthorized migrants. The essay then examines specific ideas for building a truly effective
and sustainable enforcement system. All would work far better if accompanied by an expansive one-time statutory legalization
program - which is both a humane response to the reality of long-resident populations and a step that would empower more resolute
enforcement against newer violators. With regard to the E-Verify program, the author believes that Congress should provide
strong inducements for states to share driver's license photos to strengthen E-Verify's "photo tool." He also
urges stronger enforcement against visa overstays in order to foster a culture of compliance with the immigration laws.
Finally, he calls for "revitalized and carefully designed cooperation" with state and local law enforcement agencies
(LEAs). The essay recounts the history of Secure Communities (SC), "a fundamentally sound and efficient program"
and its replacement with a new Priority Enforcement Program. This change addressed most LEA objections but preserved key enforcement
efficiencies pioneered through SC, while laying the groundwork for eventually rebuilding sound LEA cooperation.
The Integration Outcomes of U.S. Refugees: Successes and Challenges,
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2015, 36 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps et al
to inform a 2014 MPI Roundtable on the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, this report examines trends in refugee arrivals
and integration using previously unpublished data from the State Department and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as well
as data from U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The researchers examine educational attainment, English language
proficiency, household income, and participation in public benefit programs. They find "that, as their years in the United
States increase, refugees' income levels and benefits use approximate those of the U.S. born, suggesting that most refugees
become self-supporting over time - a core goal of the U.S. resettlement program." However, refugees arriving in recent
years with low levels of education and literacy: Bhutanese, Burmese, Liberians, and Somalis, in particular, may be at a disadvantage
compared to those resettled earlier. The 2007-2009 recession had a particularly adverse impact on low-skilled workers. Moreover,
the U.S. resettlement program, with its emphasis on early employment, provides minimal support for education and language
services for these groups.
The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States,
American Immigration Council, July, 2015, 25 pp.
Authors: Walter A
Ewing, Daniel E. Martínez, and Rubén G. Rumbaut
This report addresses the criminalization of immigrants
from two angles. First, it cites research to show that immigration is not associated with "crime" as it is commonly
understood. For more than two decades, rates of violent crime and property crime have fallen in the U.S. as the immigrant
population (including undocumented immigrants) has grown. Moreover, immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be
imprisoned or to engage in criminal behaviors, such as violent crime or delinquency. Second, the report describes the ways
in which U.S. immigration laws and policies are re-defining the nation of "criminal" as it applies to immigrants,
while also ramping up the enforcement programs designed to find anyone who might be deportable. More and more, "a zero-tolerance
policy has been applied by the federal government to immigrants who commit even the slightest offense or infraction. "
Behavior, which might result in, a fine or a suspended sentence for the native-born end up getting immigrants detained and
deported. According to the authors, "this represents a double standard of justice." The report includes a chronology
of "the federal government's drive to criminalize immigration and expand the reach of the enforcement dragnet" going
back to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
Local Insights from DACA for Implementing Future Programs for Unauthorized Immigrants,
Brookings, June, 2015, 31 pp.
Authors: Audrey Singer, Nicole Prchal Svajlenka & Jill H. Wilson
Although implementation of the DAPA program has been blocked by the courts, there are important lessons to be learned from
the operation and outcomes of the DACA program, which was established by the Obama Administration in 2012. Using a combination
of quantitative data (applicant numbers and estimates of the size of the eligible population) and qualitative data (Interviews
and focus groups with key individuals in eight metropolitan areas), the researchers detail the challenges faced by service
providers in getting the DACA program off the ground. Of particular interest to the Brookings researchers was the gap
between those eligible to apply and those who actually applied. Public perceptions of the program, i.e. that the program was
intended to benefit in-school, college-bound youth, tended to discourage out-of-school, working, and married young people
from applying - a population that will loom larger with the DAPA program. The DAPA-eligible population will also have
a harder time proving continuous residence in the U.S. The authors stress the importance of local conditions in determining
how many DACA-eligible immigrants came forward. For example, application rates tended to be higher in areas lacking public
transportation, i.e. where the ability to obtain a driver's license was a powerful incentive, in localities where cooperation
between local authorities and ICE was strong and fear of deportation was greatest, and in areas where there were concentrations
of particular ethnic groups (Mexicans were more likely to apply than Chinese, who apparently felt greater shame over their
undocumented status and did not want to reveal their status by applying. Although service strategies should be adapted
to fit local conditions, the authors conclude with a number of general policy recommendations for future programs, including
special efforts to engage hard-to-reach populations, perhaps through use of community navigator models; careful preparation
to meet the more demanding paperwork requirements for DAPA; outreach to employers to ensure that they don't discourage workers
from applying; and work to connect the DAPA-eligible population to educational and workforce providers, even though there
is no educational requirement per se for participation in the DAPA program.
Removing Insecurity: How American Children will Benefit from President Obama's Executive Action on Immigration,
Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, University of Southern California, & the Institute for Immigration, Globalization,
and Education at UCLA, April, 2015, 27 pp.
Nearly 4.5 million U.S.-born American children
are dealing with the consequences of having at least one parent in unauthorized immigration status. Their number is
increasing over time, as undocumented people stay longer, raise families, and sink roots in American communities. As cited
in this report, research by leading developmental psychologists, sociologists, and demographers points to the negative effects
of parental undocumented status on the cognitive development, educational achievement, and emotional stability of citizen
children. These children are also more likely to experience poverty, reduced access to health care and food insecurity. Most
studies, the authors observe, were careful to isolate immigration status from other factors, such as poverty, that might have
produced similar results. Given the frequency of deportation (more than 70,000 adults with U.S.-born children were deported
in 2013 alone), children of undocumented parents are also more likely to show symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially
in adolescence and as young adults. The report catalogues "the life-altering benefits" that would accrue to these
children if President Obama's DAPA program (Deferred Action to Parents of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents
Program) were to be implemented. "Protecting a parent from deportation," the authors observe, "improves a child's
prospects for a lifetime." (The ILC Public Education Institute)
2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Hart-Celler
act in 1965 which abolished the national origins quota system, created a new legal framework for immigration, capped immigration
from the western hemisphere for the first time, and opened the doors to immigrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
The law figures prominently in Ann Coulter's recently published book Adios America! The Left's Plan to Turn
Our Country into a Third World Hellhole, where she charges that the law "was expressly designed to change the demographics
of our country to be poorer and more inclined to vote Democratic." Politifact has already found blatant manipulation
of fact in the book and given her its lowest "pants on fire!" rating. Many of her other claims are contradicted
by scholars who have studied the origins and impact the 1965 Act. In the June 2015 issue of Contexts, the online journal of
the American Sociological Association, five scholars reflect on the legacy of the Immigration Act of 1965. John D. Skrentny
(University of California, San Diego) suggests that the law's Western Hemisphere limitation (120,000 in place of unlimited
immigration from the region prior to 1965) was put in place to appease "traditional supporters of the national origins
system (veterans groups, patriotic societies, conservative nationality organizations)." Zulema Valdez (University
of California, Merced) points out that although the law was in theory race-neutral, a "restrictionist character"
remained, especially in its failure to provide adequate legal channels for Mexicans to work in the U.S. Jody Agius Vallejo
(University of Southern California) reflects on the experience of 500,000 Mexicans and Cubans holding what were called "Silva
Letters" in the seventies, which granted relief from deportation similar to the beneficiaries of President Obama's DACA
and DAPA programs. Jennifer Lee (University of California, Irvine) credits the exceptional success of Asian immigrants post-1965
not to any innate superiority of Asian culture, but rather to the "hyperselectivity" of the law with privileged
college-educated immigrants over those with working-class backgrounds. And Donna R. Gabaccia (University of Toronto) challenges
the notion that the 1965 law contributed to "the feminization of migration," or that the wage-earning rates of women
were substantially lower than those of men. As noted in our Events section, the Immigration History Research Center of the
University of Minnesota will be hosting a multi-disciplinary conference on the 1965 law in the fall.
The Arc of Reform? What the Era of Prohibition May Tell Us About the Future of Immigration Reform,
Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, 28:3 (2014), 33 pp.
Author: Andrew F. Moore
that "preventing undocumented immigration has largely been a failure" in the United States, the author of this study
sees similarities with the short-lived effort to outlaw the production and sale of alcohol in the U.S. during the Prohibition
Era (1919 to 1933). Both efforts consumed huge amounts of resources and created unintentional harms, such as the creation
of criminal conspiracies to evade the law. Both movements created a strain in our international relations -- with Canada in
the case of Prohibition and with Mexico and other Latin American countries in the case of illegal migration. Both movements
produced "similar geographic and cultural divides" over the wisdom of strict enforcement, with large cities opposed
to such enforcement and states in the South and the West being fervent champions of the law. In both instances, there was
a fundamental disagreement as to the importance of the law being enforced. Were the violations malum in se or intrinsically
wrongful acts, or were they malum prohibitum, acts that are wrong because the law bans them, not because they are
intrinsically evil? And finally, according to the author, "the nation's identity is implicated...In both cases, there
was and is a repudiation...of some unwanted part of national identity." In conclusion, the author asks "whether
the lessons of Prohibition have been learned." He speculates that people in the U.S. may be slow in coming to this realization
because the effects of border and interior enforcement of immigration laws may not have the same pervasive impact as Prohibition
had on the American people. However, just as with Prohibition, demographic shifts may spell the doom of the enforcement enterprise,
and the "growing interconnectedness to Mexico and our southern neighbors" may cause future generations to look "at
the rusted border fortifications and wonder...what their predecessors were thinking, just as we do today looking back at Prohibition."
Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the US Immigration Detention System,
Migration and Refugee Services/US Conference of Catholic Bishops & Center for Migration Studies, 2015,
Arguing that "the U.S. immigrant detention system is neither humane nor, in its current form, necessary,"
these two organizations, grounded in Catholic social teaching, present a nine-point plan to transform the system from one
"characterized by prisons, jails, and jail-like facilities, to one characterized by supervised release, case-management
and community-based support programs." As a preliminary step, the report urges Congress to commission "a comprehensive
study on the benefits, challenges, cost, and time frame for creating a truly civil immigrant detention system."
The authors point out that choice is not between outright release or detention in jail-like facilities. Supervised release
programs are a key element of the general criminal justice system, "ensuring high appearance rates at modest cost,"
and should be expanded in the immigration area. The report argues that the government should stop viewing the detention system
as a deterrent to illegal migration or de facto refugee flows because such an attitude "treats human beings as a means
to an end...pushes the boundaries of legality and, at times, has been counter-productive."
Measuring the Metrics: Grading the Government on Immigration Enforcement,
Bipartisan Policy Center, February, 2015, 72 pp.
Principal Author: Bryan Roberts
the massive and growing investments made by the federal government in border enforcement (now consuming 48 to 52 percent of
the federal law enforcement budget), the government has yet to develop a coherent and consistent method for measuring the
effectiveness of this investment. The absence of a set of agreed-upon metrics “contributes to the disagreements over
the state of immigration enforcement.” The author distinguishes between measuring inputs, e.g. amount of funding,
number of deployed agents, or miles of fencing – numbers that are frequently reported -- and measuring outcomes. He
contends, however, that the methodology for the latter form of measurement, in part developed by private researchers, is readily
available. The metrics should cover the three forms of illegal entry: illegal entry at regular border crossings, illegal entry
between border crossings, and visa overstays. Moreover, the government should maintain data on the size of “outflows,”
including undocumented immigrants removed, adjusted to legal status, leaving of their own accord, and deaths. “Taken
together, estimates of the inflow and outflow channels could provide a ‘complete stock-and-flow accounting’ of
the unauthorized immigrant population.” This “holistic model…would help policymakers and the public better
understand the success or failure of immigration enforcement policies and implementation.”
The Geopolitical Origins of the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965,
Migration Policy Institute, February 5, 2015, 6 pp.
Authors: David S. FitzGerald & David Cook-Martin
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 transformed immigration policy in the U.S. and significantly
impacted the national demographic makeup. Prior to 1965, the U.S. had quotas that capped the number of people allowed to migrate
to the U.S. from certain nations, resulting in a bias toward European countries and against Asian and African countries. In
"The Geopolitical Origins of the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965," the authors posit that passing this legislation
had less to do with that era's civil rights movement, as was commonly thought, and more to do with international pressures
and foreign policy. Following World War II and the creation of United Nations, some 40 nations gained independence and, as
a result, greater influence in international relations. Meanwhile, as the Cold War intensified, the national-origins quotas
became a liability for the U.S. as they alienated potential allies in the developing countries of Asia and Africa. Many of
these newly independent countries, backed by the United Nations, successfully pushed the U.S. to end nationality- and race-based
immigration discrimination. Similar to 1965, the authors assert that today's national immigration legislation is influenced,
at least in part, by foreign relations and geopolitical concerns. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Beyond DAPA and DACA: Revisiting Legislative Reform in Light of Long-Term Trends in Unauthorized Immigration
to the United States
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 3:1 (2015), 28 pp.
Authors: Robert Warren & Donald Kerwin
Relying on a new dataset on the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S., the authors have uncovered some trends that
"defy conventional wisdom" and that have broad public policy consequences. One important trend has been a
steady decline in the number of new unauthorized arrivals since 2000, which the authors say is largely unrelated to the effects
of the Great Recession. Another trend has been a sharp decline in the number of unauthorized arrivals from Mexico. Arrivals
from Mexico fell below the combined number of arrivals from all other countries for the first time in 2006. By 2012, Mexicans
constituted only one-third of all new unauthorized arrivals. From 2010 to 2013, the overall unauthorized Mexican population
declined by 8 percent nationally, and by an even greater percentage (10 to 13 percent) in major immigrant-receiving states
like California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. As annual unauthorized arrivals have fallen and departures have increased,
the average length of residence of unauthorized people has increased. In 2000, only 26 percent of unauthorized residents had
lived in the country 10 years or more; by 2013, that percentage had risen to 60 percent. One of the more striking statistics
pertains to the mode of arrivals of new unauthorized immigrants. Since 2004, the percentage of people who overstayed visas
has gone up sharply, not so much because their absolute numbers have increased, but because of a decline in the number of
people crossing the southern border illegally. By 2012, the majority of new unauthorized immigrants were visa overstays. The
authors conclude with a policy analysis emphasizing "the fluidity" of the unauthorized population. For example,
there are substantial numbers of unauthorized people who transition to legal status through approved family visa petitions
but who may live clandestinely in the U.S. until visas become available. An estimated 6.5 million unauthorized immigrants
who entered from 1982 to 2012 left voluntarily, were deported, or died. Finally, the authors suggest that the goal of reducing
the unauthorized population - a goal shared by all sides in the immigration debate - "will require reform of the legal
immigration system, legalization of a substantial percentage of the unauthorized, and a more effective response to nonimmigrant
The Facts on Immigration Today,
Center for American Progress, October, 2014, 25 pp.
Facts on Immigration Today, updated in October 2014, covers a wide range of data points on immigration, including basic
demographic information; data on immigrant political participation; estimates of the economic impact of immigration; details
on proposed federal immigration legislation and executive actions; results of public opinion polling on immigration; and data
on unaccompanied children. The report finds that although the immigration population in the U.S. grew by 31.2 percent between
2000 and 2012 to 13 percent of the total population, doubling its size from the 1960s, this share is still less than the 1890
peak of 14.8 percent. At the same time, the diversity of immigrants today is unprecedented. Latinos and Asian Americans, in
particular, are becoming a significant part of the U.S. population, producing a record number of new voters who will shape
the outcome of future presidential elections. The study notes that legalization and naturalization of undocumented immigrants
would increase their wages by 15.1 percent within five years making it easier for them to access better jobs, education and
training, and to create small businesses. The report cites research from Giovanni Peri et al that shows most American
workers may benefit from immigration because immigrants tend to complement the skillset of American workers therefore making
the latter more productive. (Robert Smith for the ILC Public Education Institute)
Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant & Refugee Integration,
The White House Task Force on New Americans, April, 2015, 64 pp.
In November 2015, President
Barack Obama created a formal interagency body, called the White House Task Force on New Americans, to develop a plan of action
to integrate immigrants into the civic, social, and economic life of the nation. Personnel from 18 federal departments and
agencies served on the task force. The Task Force sought public input to guide its deliberations, including a National Call
for Ideas, which generated approx. 350 submissions, online stakeholder listening sessions, and site visits to local communities.
The plan contains 48 recommendations in four broad areas: building welcoming communities, strengthening pathways to naturalization
and promoting civic engagement, supporting skill development and entrepreneurship and protecting New American workers, and
expanding opportunities for linguistic integration and education. Within each of these four areas, the report reviews
existing federal, state, and local efforts, and then outlines recommended actions to be taken by relevant federal agencies.
In December 2015, the task force is scheduled to submit a status report to the President on progress made in implementing
these recommendations. Although the report refrains from recommending the establishment of a separate White House office to
coordinate, monitor, and support integration efforts in the future, it does call for “strengthening the underlying federal
infrastructure” and creating “interagency working groups” to focus on key issues, such as workforce development.
The National Center on Immigrant Integration Pollicy of the Migration Policy Institute has assembled on its website the recommendations submitted to the White House Task Force by a variety of national and local organizations.
Deportees Will Risk Harsh Penalties to Return to Families in the U.S.
Policy Brief, Center for Poverty Research, University of California, Davis, 3:2 (2015), 2 pp.
Author: Erin R. Hamilton
Why it is so common for immigrants deported from the U.S. to return despite the risk of facing severe penalties?
In this research brief, authors Erin Hamilton et al find that the main reason for returning to the U.S. is to reunite with
family (spouses and children). Using data from a survey of deportees in El Salvador conducted by a deportee reintegration
program called “Bienvenido a Casa” (“Welcome Home”), the authors found that 52.5 percent of deportees
with children and a spouse in the U.S. intend to return compared with 32.9 percent of those without family. The data suggest
that the majority of deportees who intend to return to the U.S. (45 to 75 percent) do actually migrate. Parents of children
in the U.S. made up one-quarter of all deportation cases in 2013 and, given the high rate of re-entry within this population,
the researchers argue that the penalties in place for re-entry (two to 20 years of jail time) are not effective in discouraging
repeat migration when families are separated. Based on the results of the study, the authors question the effectiveness of
and logic behind deporting immigrant parents of children in the U.S., which costs approximately $2.9 billion per year to enforce.
The researchers conclude that, “harsh penalties designed to deter reentry, even for deportees with criminal records,
clearly do not work when families are involved.” They also urge greater prosecutorial and judicial discretion
in deportation hearings.” (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Immigration Detention: No Turning Back?
South Atlantic Quarterly, 113:3, 2014, 7 pp.
Author: Jennifer M. Chacón
detention rates of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have quintupled in the last two decades – from around 6,000 detainees
per day to up to 30,000 detainees per day – according to Jennifer Chacón’s article “Immigrant Detention:
No Turning Back?” The escalated detention rates are attributable to a number of legislative changes both before and
after September 11, 2001, that broadened the number of non-citizens subject to detention. Chacón argues that it is
a problem that immigrant detention is not considered “punitive” (intended to punish) under the current law but
rather a “holding mechanism” for this accused of a “civil” violation. As a result of that distinction,
detainees are not afforded constitutional due process as with criminal proceedings, such as the right to post bail prior to
a trial. Disputing the idea that immigrant detention is “non-punitive,” this article cites a 2009 Department of
Homeland Security report stating that “the vast majority of immigrant detainees were detained under punitive conditions
inappropriate for civil detainees.” Noncitizens are detained for an average of 81 days regardless of their risk of flight
or danger to the community, are held in jails or jail-like facilities, and lack access to adequate health care. Chacón
asserts that the goal of truly comprehensive immigration reform legislation cannot be achieved without addressing the
“deep systemic problems” in current detention practices. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
A Modest Proposal: Legalize Millions of Undocumented Immigrants with the Change of a Single Statutory Date,
John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Ohio State University, January 1, 2015, 28 pp.
Author: Alexander Thomas
Athough “A Modest Proposal” does not attempt a full solution to the nation’s
immigration-related challenges, author Alexander Holtzman seeks to address one major aspect of reform: creating a path to
legalization and citizenship for the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the
U.S. He would do this by means of the so-called registry date. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), originally
established in 1929, provides aliens who can show continuous residence back to a statutorily set date, currently 1972, an
opportunity to become permanent residents. Updated four times since 1929, the date was last changed during the Reagan
administration. Since most current undocumented immigrants arrived in the U.S. after 1972, they are ineligible to register
under the INA. Moving the registry date closer to the present is a low-cost, low-resource way to improve the lives of millions
of undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. with strong connections to their communities. Holtzman gives the
pros and cons of various registry years, including 2000, 2004, but settles on 2009 as the best option. Although
the government would have to dedicate staff time to processing applications for registration, the author concludes that, “amending
registry is a commonsense legislative solution that could be achieved with minimal resources.” (Jamie Cross
for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Childhood and Migration in Central and North America: Causes, Policies, Practices and Challenges,
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, University of California, Hastings College of Law, and
Migration and Asylum Program, National University of Lanús, Argentina, 2015, 390 pp.
Authors: Karen Musalo &
Pablo Ceriani Cernadas
The principal objective of this study was "to identify
the main advances, setbacks, and challenges to the human rights of children and adolescents in the context of migration in
Central and North America." Funded by the MacArthur and Ford foundations, this study examines the needs and circumstances
of migrant children and adolescents in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States. Through a network
of researchers in each country, the authors are able to illuminate the forces that impel young people to flee their homelands,
either alone or with their parents. With separate chapters on each country, the study offers richness of detail and places
the phenomenon of child migration within a broader social, economic, and political context. The authors call for a "paradigm
shift" in how governments treat these children. The study finds four major shortcomings in current policy: (1) lack of
attention to the root causes of migration including social exclusion, marginalization and poverty, violence, and the need
to reunify with family, (2) policies that prioritize immigration enforcement-such as detention and deportation-over the rights
and best interests of children and adolescents, (3) an absence of adequate reintegration programs for repatriated children,
and (4) the lack of comprehensive regional accords and policies informed by human rights, human development, humanitarian
law, and international refugee law.
The Status of Nonstatus,
American University Law Review, forthcoming, Posted SSRN February 17, 2015, 50 pp.
Author: Geoffrey Heeren
This paper examines the “growing enigma” of hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. with no status
being offered what the author calls “nonstatus.” As time goes by, a “rapidly growing segment” of the
immigrant population in the country consists of people in this kind of “limbo” situation. The evolution of nonstatus
dates back many decades and has many names, including Deferred Enforced Departure, Extended Voluntary Departure, Temporary
Protected Status, Stays of Removal, and the more recent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action
for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs of the Obama administration. “The many names for nonstatus all emphasize
their transitory nature, but people can, and do live for years or even lifetimes in the United States within these categories,
without the rights afforded lawful residents.” After reviewing the various forms of nonstatus and the numbers of persons
affected, the author discusses what nonstatus means for those who have it and for society at large. He ends with a warning:
unless these people are offered a path to legal residence, then nonstatus could “calcify,” and immigrants could
end up as “a potentially permanent subcaste” of society
Unaccompanied Migrant Children from Central America: Context, Causes, and Responses,
Center for Latin American & Latino Studies, American University, November, 2014, 44 pp.
Authors: Dennis Stinchcomb
& Eric Hershberg
This paper examines conditions in the Northern Triangle countries of
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that have produced a steady increase in the migration of unaccompanied children
(UAC) to the United States. The three primary "push" factors are: economic stagnation and social exclusion,
societal violence, and household violence. The report also traces the hardships and abuses that these children undergo as
they traverse Mexico on their way to the U.S., including sexual assaults, kidnappings, and disappearances. "Given
the range and severity of the abuses," the authors observe, "UAC migration on a mass scale seems implausible absent
grave, even life-threatening circumstances in migrants' communities of origin." Reinforcing the primacy of push
factors is the fact that children are dispersing throughout the region, including Nicaragua, Costa Rica , Panama, and Mexico.
Nicaragua, for example, saw a 420 percent increase in asylum claims from 2012 to 2013. The U.N. also reports that large
numbers of central Americans (130,000 within El Salvador alone) are internally displaced within their own countries.
"These numbers," the authors write, "cast doubt on unsubstantiated allegations that lax border enforcement
and U.S. immigration polici8es, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, are primarily to blame
for the surge in Central American Migration." The report also looks at the trajectory of UACs after
arrival in the U.S. and steps that have been taken, albeit limited in scope, to afford these children the opportunity to make
the legal case for asylum. The Ford Foundation provided support for the research involved in producing this report.
The Morality of Law: The Case Against Deportation of Settled Immigrants,
Chapter 6 in Closing the Rights Gap: From Human Rights to Social Transformation, edited by LaDawn
Haglund and Robin Stryker, Forthcoming, 20 pp.
Author: Doris Marie Provine
This chapter calls for a "transformation
of immigration law" through the introduction of the concepts of "forgiveness and repair," found in domestic
law. "Immigration law must respect the dignity of the whole immigrant person, as modern legal systems do for citizens.,"
writes the author. The source of the "impenetrable line" that has been drawn between immigrants and citizens were
the Chinese exclusion cases of the 19th century, which asserted that the federal government had an absolute right
to deport non-citizens. The reason why many American are uncomfortable with this position is that there is a "cognitive
dissonance between how American treat each other in law and how we treat immigrants." Rather than emphasizing the
"injustice" or "impracticality" of mass deportation - the usual arguments for legalization, the author
prefers to rely on a legal argument. She cites numerous examples in domestic law where "forgiveness" and "closure"
are preferred solutions, such as declarations of bankruptcy, statutes of limitations, tax amnesties, the pardoning power of
executives, and prosecutorial discretion. "These principles of forgiveness and closure have endured because they allow
the system to save its resources for more serious misbehavior and because it seems to unjust to apply the heavy hand of law
in cases where the defendant poses no threat to society." Although, the author writes, it may be "a formidable task
to convince the American public that time in a place matters more than how one arrived in that place," she also asserts
that the "law, in a real way, is on the side of repose for settled immigrants."
You Don't Have Rights Here" US Border Screening and Returns of Central Americans to Risk of Serious Harm,
Human Rights Watch, October, 2014, 44 pp.
Author: Clara Long
this article, Human Rights Watch (HRW) collected data from more than 683,000 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehensions
between 2011 and 2012 and interviewed 35 Central American migrants in 2014 who had recently been deported to Honduras or who
were in US detention. HRW also interviewed border patrol officials in McAllen, Texas, migrant service providers, lawyers,
academics, and government officials in Honduras and the United States. The report found flaws in the effectiveness of the
screening system of CBP and immigration agencies ostensibly designed to "identify people fleeing serious risks to their
lives and safety." Based on her analysis of the data and the first-hand accounts detailed in the report, the author argues
that in many cases, expedited removal does not allow for adequate consideration of asylum claims; "...the fears they
expressed should have led US immigration authorities to give their cases sufficient scrutiny before they were returned to
their home country." The article notes the prevalence of violence, gang wars, sexual harassment and abuse, and the breakdown
of the justice system, in the environments into which these migrants are deported. To increase the accuracy of assessment
of the danger of immigrants and to combat the identified priority of CBP officers who have been shown through this research
to be focused primarily on removal, rather than an assessment of the dangers present required by the principle of nonrefoulement,
the author makes a number of recommendations. These include: having CPB apply a presumption of fear of return to migrants
from countries where basic security is lacking, and strengthening legal representation for indigent migrants. (Kate
Lesnewich, Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work)
Believable Victims: Asylum Credibility and the Struggle for Objectivity,
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 16: 1 (2015), Forthcoming, 14 pp.
Author: Michael Kagan
This article assesses the current state of the art in adjudicating asylum claims both in the U.S. and internationally. The
author finds that the U.S. process is flawed and highly subjective and "in danger of being left behind" by developments
elsewhere in the world. Acknowledging the paucity of evidence available to substantiate asylum claims, and the role
that the adjudicator must play in determining the credibility of the applicant, the author nonetheless argues for a "more
objective analytical approach" similar to the one developed by UNHCR and incorporated into a training manual produced
by the European Commission. As the consequences for negative determinations can be grave, i.e. return to countries where
applicants could be persecuted or killed, the standard of proof in such cases, the author points out, should be low. Past
experience also suggests that asylum officers often minimize the threat to applicants, especially during the early stages
of a world crisis. The author also suggests that the U.S. may be rushing to judgment on the veracity of young people fleeing
gang violence and other threats in Central America. "Implicit assumptions about how foreign countries work and, most
importantly, how a genuine victim would act or talk can lead to inconsistent, unreliable decisions with grave consequences
for people in danger."
U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends,
Congressional Research Service, December 17, 2014, 26 pp.
Author: William A. Kandel
publication provides historical data on immigration trends "that touch on the main elements of comprehensive immigration
reform." Much of the data comes from the Departments of Homeland Security and State, along with historical data
from the Census Bureau. Some of the data series span decades, other capture just a few years. The report covers a wide range
of issues, including the composition of the immigration flow by ethnicity and entry category, the number of people with approved
visa petitions who are "on line," nonimmigrant admissions, deportation statistics over time, the number of
employers enrolled in E-Verify, and civil fines and criminal penalties levied on employers hiring unauthorized workers. The
report also gives contact information for CRS staff members and their areas of immigration expertise.
Paths to Lawful Immigration Status: Results and Implications from the PERSON Survey,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 2:4 (2014), 17 pp.
Authors: Tom K. Wong, Donald Kerwin, Jeanne
M. Atkinson, Mary Meg McCarthy
This paper may be the first published study that looks at the question of how
many undocumented people may be eligible for permanent residence without knowing it. The authors surveyed 67 immigrant-serving
organizations that provide legal services to people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.
The survey found that 14.3 percent of those found eligible for DACA were also eligible for some other form of immigration
relief that preexisted the DACA Program. The most common remedies were family-based petitions (25.5 percent), U-Visas
(23.9 percent) and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (12.6 percent). This surprising result highlights the importance of tapping
into the experience of these organizations, not only for research purposes but also to expand their capacity to provide legal
services to people who might not otherwise know what their options are. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations,
including improvements in the screening process used by immigrant-service organizations to ensure that immigrants understand
all options available to them. "DACA and DAPA will continue to lead many to ‘walk in the door' of immigrant-serving
organizations that provide legal services-organizations should thus view each of these interactions as opportunities to identify
paths to legal permanent residency for the immigrants they serve."
Democratizing Data about Unauthorized Residents in the United States: Estimates and Public-Use Data, 2010 to 2013,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 2:4 (2014), 18 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
paper discusses a new methodology for estimating the size and characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population in
the United States. This methodology makes it possible to produce demographic profiles for states and geographic units as small
as 100,000 persons, an important advantage over the "residual estimation techniques" used in recent years.
The main purpose of this paper is to describe the construction of the database. However, to demonstrate the effectiveness
of the methodology, the paper includes several tables showing the kinds of information that can be compiled, e.g. state breakdowns
of the unauthorized population by country of origin and trends in the growth or contraction of the unauthorized population
by world region of origin. The author suggests that immigrant-service organizations will use the database to gather the following
information: the number of unauthorized residents in the service area, their countries of origin, their native language,
their ability to speak English, how many children they have, and whether they live below the poverty line. This project
to "democratize" the data available on the undocumented population grew out of a meeting convened by the Center
for Migration Studies in 2013 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
A Guide to the Immigration Accountability Executive Action
American Immigration Council, December, 2015, 9 pp.
This report summarizes available information about
the full range of immigration-related Executive Actions announced by President Obama in November of 2014. These include the
Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, which provides deferred action and work authorization to qualified
unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides deferred action and work authorization to qualified young people brought to the U.S.
as children (The expansion eliminates the age ceiling and extends the grant from two years to three years). The Guide points
out that both programs are temporary measures "that do not meet either the technical or the political definitions of
amnesty in use today" and that recipients will not be eligible for federal public benefits. Moving beyond these controversial
and well-publicized programs, the Guide also describes other executive actions intended to improve visa processing, attract
and retain high-skilled visa applicants, clarify enforcement priorities, reform the Secure Communities Program, and promote
immigrant integration. Finally, the Guide discusses the legal authority by which the President undertook these actions;
the authors conclude that the President has not exceeded his authority: "the obligation of the executive branch to enforce
the law also carries with it the discretion to determine when, how, and against whom the law will be enforced."
Children Fleeing Central America: Stories from the Front Lines in Florida,
Americans for Immigrant Justice, August, 2014, 43 pp.
Prepared by: Cheryl Little
2009, thousands of unaccompanied children in the "Northern Triangle" - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - have
fled their homes in search of a better life in the United States. Published by an organization that has operated an immigrant
Children's Legal Program in Florida since 1999, this report identifies the factors that lead these children to seek refuge
in the U.S. and recommends steps to protect them, legally and physically, upon entering the country. Replete with quotes,
interviews and case histories, the report describe lives of desperation in Central America, harrowing border crossings and
deplorable conditions in the "hieleras" (Spanish word for iceboxes), or detention centers run by the U.S government.
The author points out that Post-Traumatic Stress disorders and other mental health conditions "are disturbingly
common in this vulnerable population." She also notes that many of these children can assert a legal right to stay in
the U.S., if they are represented by attorneys or accredited representatives. The report explains the process of transferring
these children to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which enables them to stay in shelters and/or to be reunited
with relatives in the U.S. To ensure the humane treatment of the migrant minors, the report recommends better conditions in
detention centers, faster court processing without sacrificing due process, access to refugee processing in countries
of origin, and humanitarian relief in the form of Temporary Protected Status. (Ariella Katz Suchow for The Immigrant
Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)
Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System,
American Civil Liberties Union, June, 2014, 101 pp.
Over a four year period beginning in 2009,
"a veritable army" of researchers from the ACLU of Texas and national ACLU investigated conditions in Texas detention
centers run by private companies under contract to the federal government. Nearly 14,000 immigrants are held in these Texas
centers. The researchers conducted 12 site visits and interviewed over 250 incarcerated individuals, in addition to advocates,
attorneys, journalists, consular officials, and family members. This report found that inmates were subjected to "shocking
abuse and mistreatment." Contracts were written in such a way as to ensure overcrowding and inordinate use of solitary
confinement. Prisoners have limited access to emergency and routine medical care. They are far less likely than citizen prisoners
in other federal facilities to have access to work and recreation opportunities. ACLU also reported that these prisons "operate
in the shadows, effectively free from public scrutiny." Their records are exempt from the open records laws, and the
Bureau of Prisons "fails to subjects its private prison contractors to adequate oversight and accountability."
The report concludes with a series of recommendations to Congress, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Office of the Inspector
General of the Department of Justice. Congress, for example, is asked to close the loophole in the Freedom of Information
Act exempting private prisons from disclosure and to request a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on existing
New Directions in Research on Human Trafficking,
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 653 (May 2014), 18 pp.
Introducing an entire issue of the ANNALS devoted to human trafficking, Ronald Weitzer, Professor of
Sociology at George Washington University, laments the paucity of rigorous research on the subject. As a result,
"much of the popular writing on human trafficking has been anecdotal or sensationalistic..." Too much attention,
according to the author, has been paid to the problem of sexual exploitation, to the neglect of labor trafficking - in agriculture,
manufacturing, fishing, mining, and domestic service. Moreover, "definitional problems plague both scholarly and policy
discussions on human trafficking." Some people, for example, claim that any illegal migration for the purpose of obtaining
work, including prostitution, should be classified as trafficking, even if the migrant gave tacit or open consent to such
an arrangement. The author disputes "four central claims" that are often made about trafficking: that the number
of victims is huge; that the problem is growing in magnitude, that human trafficking is the 2nd or 3rd
largest organized criminal enterprise in the world, after illegal drug and weapons trading; and that sex trafficking is more
prevalent and/or more serious than labor trafficking. He is particularly harsh on the U.S. government and the International
Labor Organization for greatly inflating the number of people victimized by trafficking. The research in this volume suggests
that "the lived experiences of human trafficking and migration vary tremendously. They range from highly coercive and
exploitative to cooperative, consensual, and mutually beneficial relationship between migrants and their facilitators, with
more complex gray areas in between the two poles."
North America: Time for a New Focus
Council on Foreign Relations, Independent Task Force on North America, October, 2014,
Co-chaired by David H. Petraeus and Robert B. Zoellick, the Independent Task Force calls for moving
the partnership of the "three vibrant democracies" of North America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico) "to
a new stage." In its report, the Task Force calls for deepening cooperation and coordination in four areas: energy,
economic competitiveness, security, and community. Instead of being an "afterthought" of U.S. policy makers,
North America should be the "pillar" of U.S. strength in the global economy. The Task Force also asserts that "a
stronger and more united North America needs coherent policies for the movement of people within the region." North America
enjoys a "demographic advantage" over other parts of the world, i.e. a relatively young and fertile population,
but to use that advantage will require boosting the skill levels of its working age population, and bringing about greater
harmonization of migration policies. For this reason, the Task Force endorses comprehensive immigration reform "that
secures U.S. borders, prevents illegal entry, provides visas on the basis of economic need, invites talented and skilled people
to settle in the United States, and offers a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants now in the United States."
The Task Force also calls for the creation of a "North American Mobility Accord to facilitate the movement and ensure
the rights of North America's workers, in particular lower-skilled guest workers and professionals on temporary assignments."
Belonging: The Resettlement Experiences of Hmong Refugees in Texas and Germany,
Migration Policy Institute, September 30, 2014, 9 pp.
Author: Faith Nibbs
This article is
drawn from Faith Nibbs' book on the same subject. The author compares the resettlement experience of Hmong refugees in two
different locations: Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas and the small town of Gammertingen in Germany. Approximately 120,000 Hmong,
a minority group from Laos, were resettled in third countries beginning in 1978, primarily in the U.S., but also in Argentina,
Australia, Canada, France, French Guyana, and Germany. Although there were local sponsors in both locations, the role and
responsibilities of sponsors differed considerably. In the U.S. "a more diffuse approach privileging immediate
self-sufficiency led to weaker links between refugees and sponsors," whereas in Gammertingen, a kind of division of responsibility
was worked out between local government and sponsors, in which the former could focus on the mechanics of resettlement, whereas
sponsors could concentrate on socialization activities, or "benevolent inclusion." The imperative of early employment
was not as strong in the German context as it was in the U.S. Indeed, in Germany, the refugees were given a full year of language
and cultural instruction to prepare them for the labor market. In the U.S. context, the relationship with the sponsor was
"hierarchical" in nature, with approval based on meeting sponsor's expectations for early employment and quick adaptation
to local culture. In Gammertingen, sponsors became "special friends" and relationships often lasted a lifetime.
The author devotes much attention to the capacity of refugees to navigate different reception environments and achieve results
beneficial to the community and themselves.
The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations,
Global Cities Initiative: A Joint Project of Brookings and J.P. Morgan Chase, August, 2014,
Author: Neil G. Ruiz
The number of foreign students at U.S. universities has increased almost five-fold over
the past decade and has simultaneously pumped billions of dollars into local economies. Those who stay on to work temporarily
also make substantial economic contributions by bringing unique workplace skills and connecting local companies to foreign
markets. These are the major findings of The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations.
Utilizing 2001 to 2012 data on F-1 visa approvals from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), this report,
for the first time, measured the economic impact of foreign students on local economies rather than on the U.S. as a whole.
It finds rapid growth in the number of F-1 students overall - 110,000 in 2001 to 520,000 in 2012 - two-thirds of whom study
in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and business subjects, compared to 48 percent of U.S.-born
students. Between 2008 and 2012, most foreign students were concentrated in 118 metropolitan areas where they contributed
$21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in other spending to the local economies. On completion of their education
in the U.S., almost half were able to work in the same geographical area where they obtained their degrees, thus providing
valuable linkages to their home economies and important skills to employers. The authors suggest that realizing the full benefit
of the presence of foreign students involves leveraging their connections with home countries to facilitate economic exchange
and retaining foreign student skills by developing programs to connect graduates to local employers. The report includes charts
showing the top overseas source cities of foreign STEM students, top metropolitan areas by "intensity" of foreign
student presence, and top metropolitan areas by ability to retain students after graduation. (Denzil Mohammed)
There and Back Again: On the Diffusion of Immigration Detention
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2:3 (2014), 32 pp.
Author: Michael Flynn
This paper analyzes
the role that the United States played in promoting immigration detention as a world-wide policy response to irregular migration.
Prior to the 1980s, detention was "largely an ad hoc tool, employed mainly by wealthy states in exigent circumstances
and typically made use of prisons, warehouses, hotel rooms, or other ‘off-the-shelf' facilities." During
the 1980s, the U.S. established the first privately-run immigration detention facility in the country and began the process
of externalizing immigration control when it created "one of the world's first offshore immigration detention facilities"
at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Using concepts from diffusion theory, the paper traces how these policy
innovations "traversed the planet." In the European Union, for example, countries lying on the periphery of
Europe were expected to shoulder the burden for the high immigration demand countries of the North, while externalization
also went beyond the borders of the EU, as when Spain set up a detention center in Mauritania to deter migrants from reaching
the Canary Islands. The paper also details the efforts of the Australian government to offshore immigrant processing. A clear
theme of the paper is how wealthy countries try to evade the "normative pressure stemming from international human rights
obligations (like the right to asylum) by seeking ways to circumvent, co-opt, or otherwise counteract this pressure through
the diffusion of detention to upstream countries." The author, however, also points out how some transit countries use
their status as way stations as bargaining chips to negotiate deals granting favorable immigration treatment of their own
nationals. According to the author, all these practices should "spur questions over where responsibility for the wellbeing
of migrants begins and ends."
Temporary Protected Status in the United States: A Grant of Humanitarian Relief that is Less than Permanent,
Migration Policy Institute, July 2, 2014, 9 pp.
Authors: Madeline Messick & Claire Bergeron
This essay discusses the history of temporary protected status (TPS), a form of relief created by Congress in 1990 and currently
benefitting an estimated 340,000 people in the U.S. TPS is granted to foreign nationals at the time of a national disaster
or civil war or conflict in their home countries. The report discusses the conditions under which the Secretary of Homeland
Security may designate a country for TPS and reviews some of the problems that occur when people are forced to remain in this
status for long periods of time. Finally, the report reviews conditions in the countries that currently have TPS designations:
Syria, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan, South Sudan, and El Salvador. The authors expect that the number of people granted
such status will grow in the future, noting that in 2012 alone, some 29 million people were displaced by extreme weather events.
No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes,
American Immigration Council, July 1, 2014, 5 pp.
Author: Elizabeth Kennedy
This essay discusses
the role that gang violence, extreme poverty, and family separation play in pushing Central American children to leave their
home countries. The author was a Fulbright fellow who lived in El Salvador and interviewed 322 minors who attempted
to migrate to the U.S. Males fear assault or death from gang activity and abuse from corrupt officials while females express
fear of rape and kidnapping from the same sources. Meanwhile, fear arises from inadequately equipped, corrupt government and
legal systems that fail to provide protection or programs to counter violence. However, in the most rural areas of El Salvador,
extreme poverty drives migration, especially for adolescent males expected to provide support for their family members. Meanwhile,
for one third of children interviewed, family reunification seems to be the primary motivation for leaving. Over 90 percent
of the children had a family member in the United States, with just over 50 percent having one or both parents there. The
U.S. is not always the destination of choice as many move within El Salvador or to neighboring countries. While risks associated
with journey to the U.S. create trepidation among parents, families often decide that long-term safety in the U.S. is worth
the short-term risk. As children reach adolescence, gang threats increase, as does the potential to withstand the rigors of
the long and hard journey. Even police move from place to place to shield their family members from retaliation from gangs.
The author believes that these children should be given full opportunity to assert their claims to asylum in the U.S. under
relevant statutes. (Colin Liebtag)
Detention, Deportation, and Devastation: The Disproportionate Effect of Deportations on the Latino Community,
MALDEF, The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, & The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, May, 2014,
The authors of Detention, Deportation and Devastation maintain that the U.S.
immigration enforcement system is discriminatory and unfairly targets Latinos to the detriment of the wider Latino community
in the U.S. Ironically, the report states, the crucial Latino vote in 2012 which went decisively to President Barack Obama
signaled a call for action on immigration and yet the main response has been record levels of deportations of low-priority
Latino immigrants. Using data from a variety of sources including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the report notes
that in 2013, the top nine countries with the highest rates of deported nationals were all Latin American. And despite the
Department of Homeland Security's stated policy of not targeting low-priority individuals, two-thirds of all deportees were
convicted of traffic violations or had no criminal record at all. This increase in deportations, according to the report,
contributes to higher rates of poverty, unemployment, single-parent households and parentless children in the Latino community.
As such, the report argues for humanitarian steps to reduce this crisis in the Latino community caused by a broken immigration
system. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public Education Institute)
Restoring America's Commitment to Refugees and Humanitarian Protection,
(Article available through subscription only)
Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Spring, 2013,
Authors: Eleanor Acer & Tara Magner
The authors of this article discuss
flaws in existing immigration law which limit the rights and protections afforded to asylum seekers and propose policy and
legislative reforms designed to ensure humanitarian rights for such individuals while promoting efficiency and decreasing
government costs. Among the roadblocks faced by asylum seekers are: a one year filing deadline for asylum claims, delays in
the court system, policies used to exclude individuals deemed to be potential terrorist threats, evidence requirements to
establish membership in a persecuted social group, and lack of protection based on humanitarian needs for security. In addition,
the authors object to the use of penal facilities to detain asylum seekers -- a practice they see as both a human rights violation
and a waste of resources owing to its high cost compared to other approaches such as monitoring. They also find flaws in U.S.
maritime interdiction of Haitian asylum seekers; language barriers and the absence of interpreters make it difficult
to assert asylum claims. In addition to legislative reforms, the authors also propose steps to eliminate backlogs in an underfunded
asylum adjudication system. Potentially, handling more cases in a better equipped and staffed asylum office rather than immigration
court would reduce adjudication time, as would the provision of appropriate legal orientation and representation. The
paper also discusses the need for protection for stateless persons. Finally, the paper urges passage of provisions in the
bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill that would achieve compliance with terms of the Refugee Convention, or in lieu of
a comprehensive approach, special legislation to address problems in the asylum and refugee system. (Colin Liebtag)
What Would an Unbroken Immigration System Look Like?
University of Virginia School of Law, March, 2014, 8 pp.
Author: David A. Martin
David A. Martin,
Professor of International Law at the University of Virginia and former Homeland Security official in the Obama administration,
first presented this paper as the keynote address at the Miller Center's immigration reform conference in 2013. Miller
believes in the importance of maintaining a generous immigration system to take advantage of the nation's historic capacity
to attract and integrate talented, industrious, and creative people from around the world. But in order to maintain
this tradition, the U.S. must operate according to the "principle that migrants comply with the law." If the nation
abides by this principle, it will avoid "periods of acute public alarm over illegal immigration" that have "often
produced serious proposals to slash legal admissions." Miller sees two ways to achieve greater legality in our
system: first, passing a "capacious" legalization program as a way of achieving a new system of control
and compliance; "legalization of long-stayers," he argues, "empowers vigorous, resolute enforcement against
short-stayers." Second, he advocates for "smart enforcement measures" and reminds opponents of legalization
that "this is not 1986." The nation has tools and resources available to it that simply did not exist at the
time of the 1986 legalization program. His preferred enforcement strategy is the E-Verify program, which allows employers
to verify the immigration status of prospective employees. However, the program, as it currently exists, does not adequately
guard against fraud. Thus, Miller urges Congress to redirect the billions allocated for border enforcement in the Senate bill,
as well as the "lavish sums" of money set aside for a planned biometric exit system, to establishing a biometric
program for E-Verify either using fingerprints or photos on state-issued drivers licenses. "Getting completely
serious about interior enforcement and about identity fraud in E-Verify are the most important enforcement investments
Congress could make if it really wants to fix the immigration system."
Giving Voice to Unaccompanied Children in Removal Proceedings
Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution, 34 (2013), 22 pp.
Author: Warren Binford
Although the author of this essay acknowledges that significant advances have been made in the treatment of unaccompanied
children, i.e. children entering the U.S. without parents or guardians, she also believes that "the failure to appoint
government-funded counsel...remains a significant children's rights concern." Even though pro-bono counsel may
be available for small number of these children, such representation, according to the author, is "ineffective."
The fact that 93 percent of unaccompanied children fail to win their cases, even though legal remedies may be available to
them, is symptomatic of a deep-seated problem. The author reviews the gradual expansion of children's rights during
the last century culminating with the universal adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the U.N. General
Assembly in 1989. The convention codifies "the child's right to be heard in any judicial or administrative manner affecting
the child." Article 22 of the Convention obliges host countries to provide both a personal representative and legal
counsel to unaccompanied children. Although the U.S. is one of only 3 countries in the world not to have ratified the
Convention, the U.S. Supreme Court has, according to the author, "relied on the near universal ratification of the U.N.
Convention in considering juvenile jurisprudence." The root of the problem, she suggests, may be the fact that the U.S.
legal system was late in recognizing the importance of legal representation for native-born children. For example, the need
for representation of children in dependency proceedings was not addressed until the 1970s. Citing the "perfect storm"
unfolding at the border, as the number of unaccompanied children continues to soar, the author urges Congress to take corrective
Redressing the Shame of U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Policies,
Forthcoming book chapter in Hidden Lives and Human Rights in America: Understanding the Controversies
and Tragedies of Undocumented Immigration, Lois Lorentzen, Ed. (Praeger 2014), 30 pp.
Author: Bill Ong Hing
University of San Francisco Law School Professor Bill Ong Hing presents evidence in this essay for the "failure"
and "inhumanity" of U.S. immigration enforcement efforts since the introduction of "Operation Gatekeeper"
by the Clinton administration in 1994. Gatekeeper sought to beef up security in the 14-mile stretch of the southern border
near San Diego - the preferred border crossing at the time for the vast majority of undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
Architects of the new policy, called "prevention through detention," believed that the construction of walls, barriers,
and the stationing of more Border Patrol agents would deter would-be migrants, who would avoid more perilous crossings through
the inhospitable terrain of dessert and mountain. Instead, migrants chose other crossing routes, opportunities opened
up for human smugglers, and deaths soared. "The number of migrant deaths increased 600 times from 1994 to 2000, and since
then, about 400 deaths occur each year." The author also turns his attention to interior enforcement and the "silent
raids," or audits of company records, preferred by the Obama administration. While such operations may be successful
in getting workers fired, they don't generally lead to deportation, only to greater desperation and more exploitive working
conditions for fired workers. For Hing, the entire panoply of U.S. immigration policy, including limitations on the number
of legal immigrants from Mexico, suggests a pattern of "institutionalized racism" directed at Latinos. A system
"molded by decades of racialized refinement" allows the racist intent of U.S. immigration law and procedure to be
masked so that the entire effort can be portrayed as a law and order operation. Despite his indictment of the current
system, Hing believes that "the quiet majority of Americans who would not condone the callous or insensitive treatment
of immigrants and the failure to implement smart integration strategies...have the power to redirect our government's commitments
to moral and civil principles of justice and community."
Enforcing Masculinities at the Borders,
Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2013
Author: Jamie R. Abrams
This article proposes a
reinterpretation of U.S. immigration history from a "masculinities" perspective, rather than the "prevailing
race and class accounts." The author describes masculinities as "the study of how men relate to each other and construct
their identities..." This perspective "can be used as a powerful sociological and legal tool to understand institutions,
power structures, and human relations." Applying the masculinities frame to immigration history, the author "unpacks"
two paradigm shifts: the movement to exclude Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century, and the immigration restriction
movement which culminated in national origins quota system of 1924. In both cases, men's identities were undergoing profound
"destabilization," as the nation shifted from a predominantly agrarian to an industrial society. Referring to the
pre-World War I period, the author notes that "measures of masculine power (shifted) from physical strength to wealth.
It left men punching a time clock, working for corporations and dependent on them, and performing work that ‘every women
(knew) she could easily undertake.'" In this environment, "hegemonic masculinity" resorts to nativism to prop
up its threatened position in society. The author then cites two more recent examples of masculinities in action: the Immigration
and Nationality Act of 1965, which "reflected back the new cultural ideals emphasizing the nuclear suburban family and
the American male's role in that family structure," and the recurring emphasis on military service as a path to citizenship.
Creating a More Responsive and Seamless Refugee Protection System: The Scope, Promise and Limitations of Temporary Protection
Center for Migration Studies, Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2014, 29 pp.
Author: Donald Kerwin
This paper reviews the broad range of U.S. temporary protection programs, including temporary protected status
(TPS), humanitarian parole, executive discretion, "T" visas for victims of human trafficking, and "U"
visas for crime victims. Although each program addresses a specific need, with greater or lesser degrees of effectiveness,
the programs combined leave many gaps. The author points out that in 2011 "only one-fourth of the world's 72 million
forced migrants - those displaced by violence, conflict, development projects, natural disasters and hazards - met the refugee
definition" under the U.N. Protocol (and the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 which is modelled on the U.N. Protocol).
For example, TPS does not cover people from designated states who arrive after the effective date of the designation, even
those who fled life-threatening situations, and the parole authority of the executive branch, although used repeatedly prior
to 1980, is severely limited by the Refugee Act of 1980. For these and other reasons, the author makes a number of recommendations,
including the creation of a new "protection" visa limited to 10,000 per year for primary beneficiaries; allowing
long-term TPS recipients to adjust to permanent resident status through an automatically updated registry date; and prioritizing
TPS-designated states for reconstruction and development assistance in order to make repatriation a viable option.
Temporary Protected Status after 25 Years: Addressing the Challenge of Long-Term ‘Temporary" Residents and Strengthening
a Centerpiece of U.S. Humanitarian Protection,
Center for Migration Studies, Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2014, 21 pp.
Author: Claire Bergeron
This paper reviews the purpose, legislative history, and use of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) since its enactment
into law in 1990. TPS provides a mechanism to allow people who cannot qualify for refugee status but who cannot return to
their countries of origin because of warfare, civil conflict, or natural disasters to legally remain in the United States
for the duration of the emergency. Natives of 19 countries have been granted TPS since 1990. An estimated total of 340,310
people from 9 countries (El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria) currently hold TPS.
According to the author, the workings of the law have been problematic for two reasons: first, many people remain in
this status for long periods of time, e.g. TPS holders from Honduras and Nicaragua have been residing in the U.S. for more
than 15 years; and second, no provision has been made to facilitate repatriation once conditions improve in countries of origin.
Noting that long-term grants of TPS status run contrary to Congressional intent while at the same time locking people into
"legal limbo," the author recommends amending current immigration law to provide a pathway to permanent residents
for TPS holders. A variation on this option would allow TPS holders to adjust status to permanent residence should they marry
an American citizen or qualify for an employment-based visa (Most TPS holders who entered the U.S. without permission are
barred from adjusting their status in this manner). A complementary reform would establish procedures, such as providing
financial assistance and/or social security tax payments, to incentivize TPS holders to return to their countries voluntarily.
The author concludes that, "Given that the number of individuals seeking a TPS safe haven is likely to only increase
in the coming years, fixing the program at this juncture could not be more critical."
Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection,
UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, 2014, 114 pp.
Alarmed by the "surge" of unaccompanied children
apprehended by U.S. immigration authorities, UNHCR conducted interviews with 404 children to understand their reasons for
migrating and whether any of them were in need of international protection. The study was "specifically designed to be
representative and statistically significant for drawing conclusions and inferences..." Over half the children said that
their primary reason was to escape the violence in their homes or communities. "Two overarching patterns of harm related
to potential international protection needs emerged: violence by organized armed criminal actors and violence in the home."
Noting that UNHCR and the international community have an obligation to step in when governments are unable to protect their
own citizens, UNHCR concluded that on average 58 percent of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. from Mexico, Guatemala,
Honduras, and El Salvador are in need of international protection. The study explains the meaning of protection under international
law. The "cornerstone" of that protection is the guarantee against return to danger or non-refoulement
and the ability to remain lawfully in the country of asylum. Even if these children do not meet the definition of refugee
under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, they should be granted "access to a process to
review their eligibility for a formal, legal - complementary or subsidiary - status, with defined rights and obligations,
for the period of time necessary to safeguard their safety and security." The balance of the report provides recommendations
to the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States in three broad areas: recognizing
emerging forms of displacement in Central America and the need for international protection, strengthening and harmonizing
regional and national frameworks for ensuring international protection, and addressing the root causes of the problem.
A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) & Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), 2014, 84 pp. + appendix
Lisa Frydman, Elizabeth Dallam, & Blaine Bookey
This report addresses a range of issues stemming from the
dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border of the United States. The majority
of the 24,668 children who crossed in FY2013 were from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala
and Honduras. Many are fleeing violence in their homelands and/or seeking to reunite with family members in the U.S. The
study draws on qualitative data from case records compiled by the two sponsoring organizations, published studies, and statistics
provided by USCIS and EOIR. Although attempts have been made in the past, most notably through the Trafficking Victims Protection
Reauthorization Act of 2008, to protect children in immigration proceedings, the authors find major gaps and shortcomings
in the system. Although some children are represented by volunteer attorneys, the majority must navigate the system without
representation and in most cases in an unfamiliar language. The report recommends that the government mandate the provision
of legal counsel for these children to ensure protection of their interests. At the same time, all children should benefit
from the appointment of child advocates to guide them through the system. The authors also urge Congress to enact legislation
that would make the principle of the "best interests of the child" the "primary consideration" in all
immigration proceedings and to enact a new form of immigration relief that would prevent deportations when not in the best
interests of the child. The report also urges the U.S. government to support safe return and reintegration programs for repatriated
children. The balance of the report offers analyses and recommendations in specific areas of the law, such as procedures
for granting Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and challenges in obtaining T and U Visas for child victims of trafficking
and children who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain serious
crimes. The study was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Immigration: America's Demographic Edge
The Bipartisan Policy Center, January, 2014, 25 pp.
In this staff-produced paper, the Bipartisan Policy
Center's Immigration Task Force discusses the economic and geopolitical advantages of immigration as a counterweight
to fertility decline and population stagnation. In 2011, 81 of 197 countries or regions for which the World Bank had
data were below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. The situation was especially acute in developing countries.
With the "graying" of population, the elderly make up an increasingly larger share of total population. This age
imbalance places severe strain on a country's economy and social service sector, as there are fewer workers in their productive
years paying into the system and more retirees drawing benefits. The paper suggests that countries with relatively large immigrant
populations, such as the U.S., will more easily adapt to the worldwide demographic challenge. Immigrants tend to be younger
than the native-born, and significantly increase the size of the labor force. In addition, immigrants typically have much
higher birth rates than nationals, and therefore continually contribute to a country's overall population growth. This paper
presents several different country case examples within the European Union and Asia to illustrate global demographic trends
and the role of immigration in different contexts-noting that countries with positive demographic trends will likely wield
more influence within international affairs. The authors conclude that "the U.S. immigration system (is) an important
power asset....immigration policy has the potential to help the United States maintain its global political, economic, and
military primacy." (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Curbing the Influence of "Bad Actors" in International Migration: Council Statement,
Migration Policy Institute, February, 2014, 9 pp.
Author: Demetrios G. Papademetriou
reflects the consensus reached at the 8th plenary meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration, held in Washington, D.C.
in June of 2012. The theme of the conference was "Curbing the Influence of ‘Bad Actors' in International Migration."
The statement notes that "despite massive investments in immigration controls over the past two decades, illegal migration
and the unauthorized employment of migrants continue to thrive." The authors observe "that borders will never be
impermeable" and outline "three traps associated with the quest for ‘perfection' in border enforcement."
First, the volume of illegality "does not decrease anywhere near in direct proportion to the amount of money spent;"
second, hardening the border may prevent voluntary or seasonal returns, in effect cancelling out the gains from increased
enforcement; and finally, higher barriers may actually "empower " and strengthen bad actors. Bad Actors include
recruiters, moneymen who supply loans to migrants, travel agents, transporters of land and sea passage, smugglers, traffickers,
operators of safe houses, corrupt officials on both sides of the border, and family members who finance some of these activities.
Organized-crime syndicates exact tribute from, or insert their tentacles into, many of these activities. The "bad actors"
also include employers who exploit migrant workers and flout local labor laws in the process, and consumers who aren't concerned
about the source of the goods and services they use. The authors then discuss the costs, benefits, and tradeoffs of the three
principal approaches to enforcement: first, strengthening physical and virtual borders; second, attacking criminal operations
themselves; and third, addressing the root causes of illegality by changing the market for illegal labor. The statement concludes
with five broad policy recommendations: first, constantly assess and (re)evaluate enforcement efforts and trade-offs; second,
foster confidence in the migration system by creating realistic expectations and communicating clearly and regularly with
the public; third, increase incentives to operate within the law (by increasing penalties for operating outside it); and fourth,
promote communication and cooperation across agencies and across borders "as the ultimate force multiplier."
A Strategic Framework for Creating Legality and Order in Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, January, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Demetrios G. Papademetriou & Will Somerville
In this paper prepared for the 8th plenary meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration, held to discuss "Curbing
the Influence of ‘Bad Actors' in International Migration," the authors urge government policy-makers to take a
"strategic" approach to immigration enforcement. Such an approach involves marshalling all the resources of government,
not just ministries or departments responsible for the management of migration, and prioritizing the allocation of these resources
based on a cost-benefit analysis. The report suggests that this approach, common in other realms of government responsibility,
has been noticeably absent in the migration field. The report describes and assesses the various policy tools available to
governments, including: early interventions that disrupt illegal flows before they reach the border, cooperation between destination
and origin countries, border security efforts, efforts targeting organized immigration crime, reforming immigrant selection
systems and opening up legal migration channels, stricter enforcement of employer sanctions and labor standards, efforts to
reduce the size of the informal economy, the removal and return of unauthorized migrants, legalization, and limitations on
welfare benefits. In deciding which of these policy tools to use, governments should employ a "public interest test."
They should also reach for "slingshots" that address a specific problem and avoid "boomerangs" that create
new and unintended problems in the effort to correct the initial problem.
Trade-Offs in Immigration Enforcement,
Migration Policy Institute, January, 2014, 12 pp.
Authors: Elizabeth Collett & Will Somerville
this paper prepared for the 8th plenary meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration, held on the theme of
"Curbing the Influence of ‘Bad Actors' in International Migration," Collett and Somerville argue that immigration
enforcement must be "managed in the public interest." Doing so requires addressing a range of concerns and
often competing priorities, including maintaining "public confidence in the system." The authors steer clear of
policy prescriptions, other than emphasizing the importance of a "balanced" and "careful" approach that
"does limited (or zero) harm to a country's institutions of governance and to citizens' livelihoods, while fortifying
public trust that the government is running an efficient and effective system." Among the direct and indirect constraints
under which governments operate are: resource constraints which limit the size of enforcement budgets; the framework of international
law which confers certain rights on international migrants; other public policy goals in the areas of health and welfare;
market forces which propel labor, both legal and illegal, across international borders; and the "toxicity" of the
public debate on immigration, which can sway and swing voters. The authors caution against "making rules that are unenforceable,
applied inconsistently, or that the government does not intend to enforce." The balance of the paper discusses
the circumstances under which "return or regularization will produce the optimal outcome..."
Race and Immigration Reform, Then and Now
University of Baltimore, Legal Studies Research Paper (forthcoming in the Howard Law Journal),
Author: Elizabeth Keyes
In this paper, the author Elizabeth Keyes, Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore
School of Law, traces the eclipse of the "egalitarian goals" of the 1965 Immigration Act, which promised to eliminate
ethnic and racial preferences in immigration law and procedure. She sees this trend as reflective of a broader retreat from
the goals of the civil rights era. Despite the formal abandonment of racial discrimination in U.S. law, she notes, disparate
racial impacts persist in areas such as health, education, incarceration rates, voting, and immigration. Two developments
in immigration law hastened this retreat: first, the introduction of employer sanctions in 1986, which led to the growth of
an underground economy where workers could be easily exploited, and second, the association of immigration with criminality,
which was evident in the 1996 immigration laws, which made minor offenses grounds for deportation and greatly limited judicial
discretion in deportation cases. Regrettably, according to the author, immigration reform is not likely to reverse these
trends. Indeed, the tendency to confer legal status only on those who are "deserving," will likely lead to
the exclusion of many millions of undocumented, including those who came after the Senate cut-off date of December 31, 2011;
those whose work in the informal economy make it impossible to satisfy continuous work requirements; those who lack the time
to master English; and those who cannot afford to pay the fines and fees associated with the legalization process. The
residual undocumented will become the "super-undocumented," who will be even more marginalized and exploited than
the current cohort of undocumented workers. "If the undocumented are the subject of controversy and even hatred
pre-reform, those left out of reform are likely to be even more reviled, as their lack of status will signify their status
as those least desired among the undocumented population." As our leaders pursue immigration reform, they should "beware
of creating a new set of even deeper problems for the future."
Beyond Blood and Borders: Finding Meaning in Birthright Citizenship
Brooklyn Law Review, 835 (2013), 46 pp.
Author: D. Carolina Núñez
explores the concept of societal membership in the modern world with particular attention to the continuing relevance of "territoriality,"
or birthright citizenship, as a proxy for meaningful civic ties. The author notes that " territorial presence is
a waning proxy for substantive indicators of membership in other spheres of law," especially in a world of transnational
ties and ease of travel. However, the "underlying rationales" for birthright citizenship for the children
of undocumented immigrants still apply. After examining a series of court cases dating back to the American Revolution, the
author finds that "courts and legislatures have consistently focused on mutuality of obligation, community ties, and
the need to preserve an egalitarian polity by avoiding the creation of a caste system." Clearly, these children
are "subject to the obligations and burdens of U.S. law," have developed ties with local communities by virtue of
growing up in the U.S., and could easily become an exploited class if denied full citizenship rights. The author concludes
that "denying citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants threatens to put our sense of what it means to be a
just, egalitarian community at odds with what it means to be an American citizen."
At the Edge of US Immigration's "Halt of Folly:" Data, Information, and Research Needs in the Event of Legalization,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 1(4), 2013, 14 pp.
Author: Fernando Riosmena
of 2013 the Center for Migration Studies of New York, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
gathered together a group of immigration specialists, researchers, scholars and advocates to discuss research needs related
to legalization. This report summarizes the findings of the group. The assembled experts used S-744, the Border
Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, passed by the Senate in June, 2013, as the likely scenario
for future immigration reform. They also reviewed the legalization provisions and implementation history of the 1986 Immigration
Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in order to draw lessons for policy makers today. "S. 744 is a model of what a contemporary
legislation program may look like, while IRCA offers still useful lessons on successes and failures in outreach, enrollment,
and on the consequences of the program for applicants and others." Participating experts defined two major goals
for the research program: "planning for effective local outreach and service delivery efforts," and "broadly
assessing the effects of a legalization program." Detailed objectives within each of these goal areas included
determining: the estimated eligible population for legalization; the geographical distribution of this population; potential
barriers for individuals and/or groups; local capacity for outreach and service delivery; effects of legalization on immigrant
incorporation; and anticipating the impact of legalization on services provided by state and local government. (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Securing Borders: The Intended, Unintended, and Perverse Consequences
Migration Policy Institute, January, 2014, 15 pp.
Authors: Randall Hansen & Demetrios G. Papademetriou
This report discusses the complex challenges inherent in border security and gives examples of border security
issues and strategies in various national and international contexts. Some of the challenges include: border governance, illegal
migration, asylum policy, as well as smuggling and trafficking. The authors emphasize the intricate and interrelated nature
of border security noting that, "policies in any one area have perverse, regrettable, and often unintended, consequences
and feedbacks." For example, "hard" border approaches often lead to escalating rates of human smuggling,
as sophisticated criminal organizations seek to take advantage of the growing demand for illegal mobility. The report
offers four recommendations for effective border security: (1) build up infrastructures within sending countries to
improve a "weak" state's ability to enforce effective border security policies; (2) expand bilateral and regional
cooperation on migration-related issues; (3) increase physical border enforcement in states where it is sparse; and (4) continue
to expand border control outwards. With regard to this last recommendation, the report finds that the "remote control"
of migration, through such policies as forcing airline companies to scrutinize their passengers' passports and visas, or enticing
neighboring countries to guard their own borders, is an effective approach to border management. "Although unpopular
with activists, there is ample evidence that expanding borders outwards works." (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Gang and Cartel Violence: A Reason to Grant Political Asylum from Mexico and Central America,
Yale Journal of International Law Online 31 (2012), Posted December 21, 2013, 15 pp.
Author: Jillian Nicole
The growing threat of gang-related violence in Mexico and Central America has led to a significant increase
in the number of asylum applicants seeking safety and protection in the U.S. Even as this trend has intensified, U.S.
approval rates remain low- only 1.1 percent of asylum requests from Mexico in 2011 were granted, compared with 35 percent
from China, and 67 percent from Iraq the same year. The author describes the extent of gang and cartel violence in Mexico
and Central America to support the basis for protection from gangs and cartels under U.S. law. According to the essay, "Recent
gang-based asylum judicial decisions and scholarship focus heavily on the ‘particular social group' persecution ground."
The essay argues that the United States needs a broader perspective to create "coherent standards on the legal
status and rights of asylum seekers." Observing that refugee law is simultaneously international law, the author
discusses gang-based asylum within three theoretical contexts: humanitarian, political, and human rights -suggesting that
an integration of all three approaches would develop a best practice model for refugee law in the U.S. "The holistic
political asylum approach advanced in this Essay combines the level, type, and probability of harm (humanitarian), with lack
of sovereign control, political conflict, and opposition to a political element (political), with the failure of state protection
(human rights)." (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
The Criminal Alien Removal Initiative in New Orleans: The Obama Administration's Brutal New Frontier in Immigration Enforcement,
New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice(NOWCRJ), December, 2013, 21 pp.
Authors: Saken Soni, Jacinta
Gonzalez, Jennifer J. Rosenbaum, & Fernando Lopez
NOWCR reports on how the recently established Criminal
Alien Removal Initiative (CARI) has impacted the immigrant community in New Orleans. According to the authors, Louisiana leads
the country in deportations per capita and has the highest immigrant arrest rate of any non-border state. Under CARI,
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have conducted "a brutal program of race-based community
raids... at apartment complexes, grocery stores, laundromats, Bible study groups and parks - often working with local law
enforcement - based purely on racial profiling." The report contains fourteen first-person accounts of individuals affected
by these raids, often with depictions of verbal and physical abuse by ICE officers. According to the report, "New Orleans
ICE arrests people who appear Latino and uses high-tech mobile biometric devices...to conduct immediate biometric record checks.
Most people are handcuffed before the fingerprinting begins, and based on the results, many are immediately separated from
their families and transported to ICE detention centers for deportation." The report calls on the Obama Administration
to put an end to these practices. (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Tortured & Detained: Survivor Stories of U.S. Immigration Detention,
The Center for Victims of Torture & The Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition, International (TASSC),
November, 2013, 24 pp.
Author (Primary): Annie Sovcik
Current immigration law dictates that individuals
seeking asylum in the U.S. should be held in "mandatory detention" until they pass a "credible fear" interview.
This report finds that the detention of asylum seekers has negative psychological, emotional, and physical affects, and therefore
advises authorities to reform the immigration detention system to improve the treatment of asylum seekers and other detainees.
"The profiles in this report are comprised of self-reported information from the 22 individuals we interviewed in June
and July of 2013, though the accounts described here are all consistent with secondary research into U.S. immigration laws,
procedures, and practices." Interviewees share stories of being detained in adverse conditions without access to interpreters
or information with regard to U.S. immigration procedures. "Detention is a daunting experience for anyone but particularly
egregious for survivors of torture. For survivors, given the long-term impacts of torture and trauma, the fact of being detained
at all is often retraumatizing." The report offers recommendations for Congress, the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Examples include: "Eliminate mandatory detention" and "Provide
funding to support Community Based Alternative to Detention Programs" (Congress); "Promulgate regulations establishing
basic minimum standards of care at all U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities" (DHS); and "guarantee that
all immigrants in detention receive a legal orientation presentation as soon as possible" (DOJ). (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Expose and Close, One year Later: The Absence of Accountability in Immigration Detention,
Detention Watch Network, November 19, 2013, 12 pp.
Author: Carly Perez
The Detention Watch
Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations opposed to the current U.S. immigration detention and deportation
system. DWN produced this report as a follow-up to its original Expose & Close report which found "abuses
and inhumane conditions" at 10 immigration detention facilities across the country. The gatekeeper of this system
is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responsible for maintaining the "largest immigration detention infrastructure
in the world." Although ICE announced ambitious plans for reform after release of the original report, DWN's research
indicates that ICE has not followed through with these plans. In 2007 Congress mandated ICE to detain at least 34,000 immigrants
per day, at a cost of $159 per bed each day. In 2011, 429,247 immigrants were detained throughout the 257 facilities nationwide,
at an annual cost of 1.84 billion dollars. The report points to several areas of concern, including: dangerous and substandard
medical and mental health care; limited access to legal aid; intentional isolation from family and community support; inedible
food; and solitary confinement. The report concludes by urging ICE to take a number of "immediate steps" to rectify
these problems, including terminating contracts with facilities that are not complying with ICE standards, ending the
use of solitary confinement, and urging Congress to eliminate the detention bed quota and repeal mandatory detention. In
the long run, "The U.S. government should move towards permanently terminating its immigration detention system."
Smoke Screens: Is There a Correlation between Migration Euphemisms and the Language of Detention?
Global Detention Project, Working Paper No. 5, September 29, 2013, 11 pp.
Author: Mariette Grange
paper calls into question the "euphemistic" and "dysphemistic" language used to describe immigration
detention in countries around the world. Such language, the author suggests, cloaks the practice from public view, acts
to "demonize migrants and asylum seekers, and helps justify the at times harsh treatment meted out by authorities."
The effort to characterize migrants as criminals (dysphemistic) often exists side by side with an effort to whitewash the
consequences (euphemistic), e.g. use of terms such as "reception center," "hospitality center," or "guest
houses for foreigners," instead of prison. The European Union also refers to its generous support for the
construction and operation of detention facilities in countries at the periphery as part of its "Neighborhood Policy."
The author also questions the "burgeoning discussion of ‘migration management'" on the international level,
as exemplified by the motto of the International Organization for Migration (IOM): "Managing Migration for the Benefit
of all." Little reference appears on the IOM's web site to its complicity in developing detention facilities in Australia
and Armenia. In addition, the EUROSTAT statistics database fails to report data on detentions in the European Union. The
author concludes that the relationship between language and the denial of immigrant rights is "significant and troubling."
Undocumented No More: A Nationwide Analysis of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA,
Center for American Progress, September, 2013, 47 pp.
Authors: Tom K. Wong, Angela S. Garcia, Marisa Abrajano,
David FitzGerald, Karthick Ramakrishnan, & Sally Le
On the one-year anniversary of the DACA program,
a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Riverside, undertook a comprehensive
examination of the successes and shortcomings of the program. Announced by President Obama on June 15th,
2012, the DACA program enables qualified undocumented youth to apply for relief from deportation for two years, after which
renewal is required every two years. Although this program does not offer applicants an opportunity for legal permanent residency
or even a pathway to citizenship, the authors note that it does provide tangible benefits for the country's undocumented youth
as the nation awaits legislative action on immigration reform. The data presented in this study illustrates that there
was a significant response to the DACA program throughout the country with 573,000 people in the application pipeline and
more than 430,000 individuals having received DACA in just over a year. However, the data also shows that successful DACA
implementation is not uniform across the states, and not all national origin groups are benefitting from this program equally.
Moreover, denial rates are higher for some national origin groups, as well as for males in general. The researchers
also found that there is a statistical correlation between the number of immigrant-serving organizations in a particular state
and the application rate in that state. However, the existence of restrictive immigration legislation in a particular
state does not seem to suppress the DACA application rate. By providing information about which groups have successfully accessed
the DACA program, and which groups have experienced barriers, and by providing state-by-state comparisons, the study provides
pertinent data for practitioners and policy makers alike. (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Immigration Controls and ‘Modern-Day Slavery'
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper, July 16, 2013, 50 pp.
Author: Chantal Thomas
This essay asks the
question: "Are immigration controls the single biggest legal factor contributing to modern-day slavery?" The author
answers in the affirmative, and notes that policy makers often turn a blind eye to this reality. "Although legal as well
as non-legal commentators have noted that migration controls often contribute significantly to the abusive conditions of modern
day slavery, the focus of policy solutions tends to range from criminal law enforcement to the protection of the human rights
of victims, but with little or no direct discussion of the destructive impact of strict immigration laws." The author
devotes considerable attention to the scholarly controversy over whether modern forms of slavery are equivalent to chattel
slavery. She distinguishes between the position of "minimalists," who see chattel slavery as the only real form
of slavery because it was legally-sanctioned, and "maximalists," who define slavery by the degree of control exercised
over the individual, whether legally sanctioned or not. Although she sees flaws in the minimalist position, her main concern
is to "channel the intensity" of this debate into the "important adjacent issue" that undocumented status
"leads directly to precarious and abusive conditions and treatment...amounting to enslavement."
America's Immigration Policy Fiasco: Learning from Past Mistakes
Daedalus, Summer, 2013, 10 pp.
Author: Douglas S. Massey
Activity at the border has increased
in the past 30 years and it is a direct albeit unintended consequence of "failed" U.S. immigration and other policies,
argues Princeton sociologist Douglas S. Massey in America's Immigration policy Fiasco: Learning from Past Mistakes.
Massey chronicles the recent history of U.S. immigration policies and tactics to restrict unauthorized immigration. These
actions, Massey argues, were political rather than prudent and paradoxically led to an upsurge in the country's undocumented
population. In 1980, for instance, the Border Patrol comprised 2,500 officers with an $83 million budget. Today, the immigration
enforcement industry costs $18 billion per year and employs more than 20,000 officers. The militarization of the border disrupted
traditional cyclical movements of Mexican workers across the border. Not only did undocumented workers decide to stay
in the U.S., rather than risk the hazardous and increasingly costly border crossing, they brought their families as well.
Even legal Mexican immigrants rushed to become naturalized, so that they could bring their spouses and minor children to the
country and avoid the stigma of second-class status. As a result, the undocumented population rose from a few thousand in
1970 to 11 million by 2010, and legal immigration from Mexico increased from an average of 63,000 per year in the 1970s to
170,000 in the first decade of the new century. Mexican immigrants also fanned out to new destinations. The U.S.-Contra intervention
in Central America, too, precipitated mass migration of displaced immigrants from Nicaragua, El Salvador and surrounding countries.
Massey concludes that shifting from "a goal of immigration suppression to one of immigration management" with
an emphasis on integration and legalization of workers and residents is the only way to "break with the failed policies
of the past." (Denzil Mohammed)
Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America
Migration Policy Institute and Woodrow Wilson International Center, May, 2013, 65 pp.
Authors: Demetrios G. Papademetriou,
Doris Meissner, & Eleanor Sohnen
This is the final report of the Regional Migration Study Group, convened
by the Migration Policy Institute and the Wilson Center. Scholars and public officials from the United States, Mexico, El
Salvador, and Guatemala participated in the project. The report depicts regional migration less as a problem to be managed
and more as a resource to be developed to enhance the competitiveness of North America in the global economy. As Mexico undergoes
a major demographic transformation and as net Mexican migration slows to a trickle, the report notes that "the longstanding
assumption that Mexico and Central America have an endless supply of less-educated workers for routine, physically demanding,
and poorly paid jobs in the United States is becoming less and less accurate..." The report ponders the implications
of major developments in the region, including the impressive growth of the Mexican middle class, improving educational levels
among Mexican immigrants, and the effort to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. The group's findings and
recommendations encompass a wide range of issues. The report places emphasis on the importance of upgrading the skills of
workers in all countries, ensuring the "portability" of credentials from one country to another, recreating the
"circularity" that used to exist on the U.S.-Mexico border prior to the mid-1990s, and "normalizing the immigration
relationships within the region" by eliminating the illegality produced by flawed policies. The Study Group identifies
four growing economic sectors that would benefit from a regional planning approach: logistics and transportation, nursing
and associated health professions, advanced manufacturing, and agriculture. The Group also calls for the creation of a non-partisan
federal immigration research agency to carry out independent demographic and labor market research and advise the U.S. Congress
on regional migration needs.
What Makes the Family Special?
80 University of Chicago Law Review 7 (2013), 20 pp.
Author: Kerry Abrams
As Congress debates future immigrant
admission criteria, this paper makes the case for the continuation of family-based immigration. Seeking to move away from
the traditional human rights argument, the author presents three rationales for privileging family immigration: first, that
it promotes the long-term integration of immigrants; second, that it fills important niches in the labor market; and third,
that it allows the federal government to engage in "social engineering." With regard to immigrant integration, the
author stresses the role of children, noting the reverse acculturative role of children ("children bring American culture
home to their parents"). In discussing the nexus between family and work, the paper calls attention to the "screening
functions" performed by families, as for example, when a naturalized immigrant chooses to sponsor a particularly deserving
and entrepreneurial sibling. The author also discusses "the extensive, economically valuable care work that goes on inside
the family that is largely unrecognized when we measure the economic output of people as individuals." Such unpaid work
often makes it possible for other family members to participate in the regular labor market. Finally, the author discusses
other broad purposes that might be served by family migration, including promoting gender parity in immigration. As women
disproportionately use family categories to migrate, a family-based immigration system would supply more women to care for
an aging U.S. population.
Defining American: The Dream Act, Immigration Reform and Citizenship
Nevada Law Journal (forthcoming), University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper, April 18, 2013, 82 pp.
Author: Elizabeth Keyes
Although giving credit to the DREAM movement for a remarkable transformation of American
attitudes on the question of whether undocumented youth should be granted citizenship, the author of this article worries
that the narrative of "blamelessness" and "worthiness" may be "raising the bar" for other groups
seeking to acquire or retain citizenship rights. Dreamers are often depicted as innocent, hard-working, well-educated, law-abiding
and patriotic, but this portrayal "exposes a discourse of undesirability and unworthiness that is already vividly alive
not just within immigration reform debates and citizenship law, but also in such civil rights issues as felon disenfranchisement
and voter identification laws, both of which affect those who already have citizenship." The author traces the
development of the illegality frame from the 19th century, "when it was all but impossible to immigrate
illegally, to the relentless focus on illegality" today. Recent milestones include the 1996 immigration laws, which made
almost all interactions with the criminal justice system grounds for deportation, and the attack on birthright citizenship,
which seeks to penalize the parents of so-called "anchor babies." Even the parents of the virtuous dreamers are
tainted with this frame ("the blameless child is contrasted to the ‘wrong-doing' parent"), as are those without
the time and resources to learn English and pay stiff fines, two requirements for permanent residence under various immigration
reform proposals. The author challenges the argument that progress for the Dreamers would create "a positive policy feedback
loop." Evidence from recent history shows, in fact, just the opposite. She also warns of the dangers of "fluid conceptions
of citizenship," which might "undo or limit the open clarity of our jus soli citizenship law that has been
a laudable exception to the overall history of excluding people from citizenship by race."
Multiplying Diversity: Family Unification and the Regional Origins of Late-Age Immigrants, 1981-2009
Paper prepared for the 2013 Annual Meetings of the Population Association of America, March 25, 2013, 40 pp.
Authors: Stacie Carr & Marta Tienda
This paper seeks to explain how the "seemingly benign" provisions
of the 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act led to an unintended "surge of immigration from Asia"
and "aggravated population aging by adding parents of U.S. citizens to the uncapped family relatives category."
The authors argue that Congress made a "gross miscalculation" of the impacts of the 1965 amendments, believing that
the family reunification categories would tend to favor immigrants of European background. The bulk of the paper calculates
"family migration multipliers" (number of relatives sponsored for immigration for each originating immigrant) for
a succession of immigration cohorts broken down by region of origin. The paper also examines the age distribution of immigrants
by these various categories and suggests that current family reunification policies are leading to undesirable results. For
example, the huge backlogs in the 5th preference (adult siblings of U.S. citizens) have led to decade-long delays in granting
visas and have pushed up the arrival age of immigrants in this category. The authors conclude that "population aging
and soaring Medicare costs" are major policy concerns and that the nation can ill afford policies that disregard "the
social and economic costs of late-age migration."
Conundrum of an Immigrant: Assimilation versus Cultural Preservation
Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, 2012, 18 pp.
Author: Joanna Diane Caytas
Noting that "the
discourse about the cost and benefits of cultural diversity is intense" both in Europe and North America, this paper
reviews the different approaches to diversity, including the traditional model of assimilation, multiculturalism in all its
variations, hybrid models, and structuralism. The author also examines the role of religion in identity formation, as
well as the effects of intermarriage. Although elements of traditional culture may serve as a tool of adaptation, e.g.
the emphasis on education in many Asian cultures, Caytas posits that assimilation wins out in the end. "No genuine and
pure cultural preservation remains possible whenever a group faces assimilation. What appears to be an expression of determined
cultural preservation is, in fact, merely another expression of assimilation actually occurring." Although the
policy implications of her analysis are not entirely clear, the author does observe that "vigorous efforts to preserve
a culture alien to the place and country people inhabit may ultimately have an effect opposite to the one intended."
Immigration in the United States: New Economic, Social, Political Landscapes
with Legislative Reform on the Horizon,
Migration Policy Institute, April, 2013, 16 pp.
Hipsman & Doris Meissner
provides a sweeping portrait of U.S. immigration history, with special attention to post-1965 developments, as well
as a succinct but comprehensive overview of the U.S. immigration system. Topics covered include: family and employment-based
immigration, refugee admissions, temporary visitors, unauthorized immigrants, immigration enforcement, citizenship, and immigrant
integration. The authors also probe today's economic, social and political issues as they relate to proposed comprehensive
immigration reform. In looking at U.S. immigration history, the authors suggest a symbiotic relationship between economic
development and peaks of immigration, namely the industrial revolution and today's transformation from a manufacturing to
a knowledge-based economy. This relationship, however, is less deliberately crafted as it is determined by forces outside
of Washington: "For a nation of immigrants and immigration, the United States adjusts its immigration policies only rarely...
As a result, immigration policy has often been increasingly disconnected from the economic and social forces that drive immigration."
Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America,
Manhattan Institute, March, 2013, 20 pp.
Author: Jacob L. Vigdor
Less noticeable economic and cultural
differences between the foreign-born and native-born in the U.S. suggest a level of successful immigrant integration never
before seen in U.S. history. This report from the Manhattan Institute finds a remarkable "near-disappearance of newly
arrived, un-assimilated immigrants from American soil." The fourth in a series of reports gauging immigrant integration,
Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America uses an "assimilation index" comprising economic,
cultural and civic factors to measure the degree of similarity or difference between the foreign- and native-born populations
in the U.S. Relying on 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey data, it notes a stunning reversal in the traditional pattern
where more recently arrived immigrants tend to be less assimilated than long-term immigrants. Since the 2007 onset of the
recession, the report finds that post-recession immigrants were more assimilated than those who arrived prior to it. It also
notes that not only has immigration from Mexico, the largest immigrant supply country, dropped significantly but it is now
on par with immigrants from Asia, a significant proportion of whom speak English and are high-skilled. Now that comprehensive
immigration reform is back on the table, important shifts in U.S. immigration such as these must be considered in crafting
relevant, realistic and "forward-looking" policies. The report includes detailed charts showing assimilation indexes
for metropolitan areas in the U.S., as well as for immigrants from particular countries of origin. (Denzil
Bride and Prejudice: How the U.S. Immigration Law Discriminates Against
Spousal Visa Holders,
February 28, 2013, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice,
forthcoming, 51 pp.
Author: Sabrina Balgamwalla
article argues that U.S. visa law, rooted in antiquated, 19thcentury notions of spousal relations, has had "devastating
consequences for the day-to-day lives of H-4 spouses." These are the spouses of H-1B visa holders, who are coveted
by high tech firms for their technical skills. Unable to legally work in the U.S., spouses are effectively confined
to their homes. They are unable to obtain a divorce, maintain custody of their children, and escape relationships of
domestic violence. The article examines the origins of the spousal visa program in the gendered norms of "coverture,"
which "establishes a regime that subordinates one human to another." The situation of H-4 visa holders remains an
anomaly in the field of U.S. immigration law, as dependents in other visa categories, such as spouses of intra-company transferees
and exchange visitors, are permitted to work. The author finds this exception to be peculiar, because H-1Bs and their
spouses, unlike other non-immigrants, are considered "Americans in waiting," eligible to advance to permanent residence
through employer petitions. The author recommends that the plight of these spouses be addressed in new immigration reform
Going to the Back of the Line: A Primer on Lines, Visa Categories,
and Wait Times
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2013, 12 pp.
Author: Claire Bergeron
The concept of an immigration "line"
has been a contentious point in the immigration reform debate. This brief examines the family- and employment-based immigration
channels to dispel the myth of a single immigration line. The author outlines the current visa categories for family and employment
and their annual caps and describes the two-step application and approval processes for legal permanent residence (LPR). Of
the 4.4 million pending LPR cases (people whose petitions have already been approved but who have yet to receive visas), 97
percent were applicants for family-based visas. A handful of countries account for the majority of applications and these
countries, the findings show, have extremely long wait times that may exceed 20 years in the cases of Mexico and the Philippines.
Because U.S. law allows around 226,000 green cards annually for immigrants filing through one of several family-based preference
categories, the report conservatively concludes that it would take 19 years at the current rate of approval to clear the existing
backlogs in the family-based preference categories. No one knows how many undocumented immigrants may already be waiting on
one of these lines. However, U.S. law may bar them from permanent residence by virtue of their unlawful presence in the country.
Thus, the concept of a line that undocumented immigrants can join for an easy journey toward citizenship is shown to be far
from simple. Indeed, as the author concludes, any legalization program that requires applicants to "go to the back of
the line" will be meaningless unless additional visas are made available. And under current law, if you don't have a
close family connection in the U.S., there may be no line at all. (Denzil Mohammed)
Second-Generation Americans: A Portrait of the Adult Children of Immigrants,
Pew Research Center, February 7, 2013, 130 pp.
Second-Generation Americans analyzes U.S. Census Bureau data to show that the 20 million adult U.S.-born
children of immigrants are substantially better off than immigrants themselves. On key measures of socioeconomic attainment
such as income, homeownership, educational levels, and poverty rates, adult children of immigrants outpace their parents and
reach levels comparable to those of native-born Americans. As
the current second generation also includes the children of earlier immigrants now deceased, one cannot use these findings
to demonstrate upward mobility between recent immigrant parents and their children. However, by disaggregating Hispanics and
Asian-Americans from the broader second generation population, one can make useful comparisons between the two generations.
Hispanics and Asian Americans make up about seven-in-10 of adult immigrants and about half of the adult second generation.
The report finds that the second generations of both groups are much more likely than the immigrants to speak
English (about 90 percent are proficient English-speakers); to have friends and spouses outside their ethnic or racial group,
to say their group gets along well with others (52 percent of Latinos and 65 percent of Asian Americans), and to think of
themselves as a "typical American." The surveys also find that second-generation Hispanics and Asian Americans place
more importance than does the general public on hard work and career success. They are more inclined to call themselves liberal
and less likely to identify as Republicans. And for the most part they are more likely to say their standard of living is
higher than that of their parents at the same stage of life. Given current immigration trends and birth rates, virtually all
(93%) of the growth of the nation's working-age population between now and 2050 will be accounted for by immigrants and their
U.S.-born children. By then, the nation's "immigrant stock" could grow from 76 million now to more than 160 million,
at which point it would comprise a record share (37%) of the U.S. population. (Denzil Mohammed)
The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 2012, 39 pp.
Jennifer M. Chacon
This article seeks to bring immigration
law into the broader conversation about overcriminalization. The author contends that state and local governments are creating
"too many crimes and criminaliz(ing) things that properly should not be crimes." Immigration law is part of this
pattern. Three trends converge to reinforce this pattern: the challenge to federal exclusivity in immigration regulation,
sub-federal criminalization of migration, and increased federal enforcement efforts in response to charges that the federal
government is "not doing enough" to enforce immigration law. In 1993, only 5.4 percent of federal criminal cases
involved immigration offenses. By 2009, 46 percent of all federal arrests involved immigration, followed by drug (17 percent)
and supervision (13 percent) violations. In 2009, two-thirds of all individuals prosecuted for individual crimes were "petty
misdemeanants in...five Southwest border districts" According to the author, the criminalization of immigration
has had at best a "marginal effect on migration flows....(but) has come at huge cost and could likely have been attained
through more effective migration policy outside of the criminal sphere." Moreover, "the cost of immigration enforcement
is crowding out other investments in criminal justice, particularly during a time of scarce resources," and leading to
other harms, such as increased reliance on racial profiling and systematic violations of Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Resettlement at Risk: Meeting Emerging Challenges to Refugee Resettlement
in Local Communities,
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), February, 2013, 30 pp.
Commissioned by the J.M. Kaplan
Fund, this paper was written by Melanie Nezer, Senior Director of U.S. Policy and Advocacy for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
(HIAS). The paper explores the impact of resettlement on local communities and looks at the current rise of anti-refugee sentiment
through case studies in three states: Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Georgia. Beginning with an examination of how the current
refugee admissions program operates, Nezer discusses policy shifts within the program over the last few decades, moving from
a model focused on long-term support and gradual integration to one of immediate immersion and self-sufficiency. Nezer also
comments on the changing demographics of U.S. refugee populations, as the government has shifted focus from the resettlement
of refugees of political concern to the United States, e.g. Vietnamese and Soviet, to those with the most critical humanitarian
needs. According to the paper, in 2012 over 70 percent of refugees admitted in the U.S. came from just three countries: Bhutan,
Burma, and Iraq. In discussing the rising tide of anti-refugee sentiment, Nezer notes fiscal concerns over scarce resources
among local governments and social service agencies, unemployment, and the higher visibility of today's refugees when resettled
in smaller communities as factors. The spread of anti-immigrant groups and anti-immigrant legislation, along with the growth
of Islamophobia, have also played a role according to the author. The report concludes with a number of recommendations for
countering the refugee backlash and to foster integration and openness in communities. Recommendations include methods for
resettlement agencies to build capacity and gain the support of local and national stakeholders, and establishing national
benchmarks for integration along with a system of evaluation that measures progress. The Appendices provide a variety of tables
and charts relating to local, national, and global resettlement statistics. (Daniel McNulty)
Making Legal: The Dream Act, Birthright Citizenship, and Broad-Scale Legalization,
& Clark Law Review, Winter, 2012, 21 pp.
Author: Hiroshi Motomura
This paper looks at the arguments
for and against three types of policy initiatives to grant legal status or citizenship to persons who might otherwise be in
the U.S. unlawfully: the Dream Act, birthright citizenship, and a broad-scale legalization program. The author begins
her analysis by identifying the major arguments used by the Supreme Court in its landmark 1982 decision Plyler v. Doe,
which held that no state can limit a child's access to education based on immigration status. The three arguments were:
the complexity of unlawful presence, the limited role of states and localities, and the need to integrate unauthorized immigrants,
especially children. She shows how these three arguments remain pivotal in debates over the three legalization initiatives.
She also analyzes the principal arguments used by opponents of these measures, which often echo the arguments of supporters
through their reliance on concepts of "fairness" and "pragmatism." In general, she finds these arguments
unpersuasive. Indeed, she turns the "rule of law" argument on its head by showing how "malleable" the
rule of law actually is in immigration matters, referring specifically to measures adopted by Congress in 1996 that denied
discretionary relief to immigrants, limited the jurisdiction of federal courts to review removal orders, and stripped immigrants
of the right to counsel. The author concludes that "rule of law arguments in favor of conferring status are stronger
than rule of law arguments against doing so."
Amnesty in Immigration: Forgetting, Forgiving, Freedom,
Critical Review of International Social and Political
Author: Linda Bosniak
This paper analyzes the meanings of "amnesty" in political
discourse. The author identifies three separate, but sometimes overlapping, meanings, which she describes as forgive-and-forget,
administrative reset, and vindication. "Forgive-and-forget" emphasizes the state's beneficence in granting pardon
for the initial offense, as well as the seriousness of the original offense, often prompting the state to set qualifying conditions
for amnesty, e.g. fines, loss of benefits, community services, public apology, etc. The second amnesty model called "administrative
reset" is often predicated on the notion that the law in question is "largely unenforceable;" hence, it is
in the state's interest to reach an agreement with transgressors. This sort of amnesty often occurs in a regulatory environment,
such as tax collections or fines. The third model ("amnesty as vindication") carries with it an "acknowledgement
by the government that either the violated rule or norm, or the beneficiary's prosecution for it, was not justifiable in the
first place." There is a "reframing" of the original behavior, such that it appears "comprehensible,
excusable and, perhaps, justifiable." In the context of the current immigration debate, the author sees the three
models shaping the perspectives of participants and therefore "cut(ting) in various directions." However,
she feels that the "center of gravity" of the current debate lies somewhere between forgive-and-forget and administrative
reset. Even among immigrant advocates, there is a general consensus that some form recompense must be paid for the original
violation of immigration law. Although most political theorists also support immigration amnesty, they generally use a "time
and ties" argument, rarely calling into question the legitimacy of the original laws; nor do they "interrogate the
validity of the state's underlying border norm." The author concludes by laying out four arguments that could be used
to frame immigration amnesty as "vindication."
Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery,
Migration Policy Institute, January, 2013, 175 pp.
Meissner, Donald M. Kerwin, Muzaffar Chishti, and Claire Bergeron
This report analyzes the current immigration enforcement system which dates back to the passage of the Immigration
Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. It examines the evolution of the system in terms of budgets, personnel, enforcement
actions and technology, and reviews the genesis and impacts of programs, such as Secure Communities, Section 287(g) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g), post-9/11 visa screening and new federal databases. It explains how all of
these have combined into a complex, interconnected, cross-agency system, reflecting the development of a "strong, pro-enforcement
consensus" in Congress. Immigration Enforcement in the United Statesreveals that deportations have risen
more than ten-fold between 1990 (30,039) and 2011 (391,953), totaling more than four million non-citizens over two decades.
Less than half of the non-citizens deported from the U.S. are removed pursuant to a formal hearing before an immigration judge;
the majority are removed instead by the Department of Homeland Security. The report also finds that the population of the
immigration detention system in 2011 (nearly 430,000) exceeded the number of people serving sentences in federal prisons for
all other federal crimes. In total, immigration enforcement spending has totaled nearly $187 billion in the 26 years since
IRCA ($219 billion in 2012 dollars). The authors conclude that "the facts on the ground no longer support assertions
of mounting illegal immigration and demands for building an ever-larger law enforcement bulwark to combat it."
Indeed, the use of enforcement resources must be reexamined in light of reduced migratory pressure in Mexico, and lowered
pull factors in the United States, and the need to create an immigration system that better reflects economic and labor market
needs. According to the authors, the country has succeeded with the "enforcement first" approach. The time has arrived
to address fundamental immigration reform and "to mitigate the severest human costs of immigration enforcement thereby
ensuring the integrity of the nation's immigration laws and traditions." (Denzil Mohammed)
Persons Who Are Not the People: The Changing Rights of Immigrants in the
Valparaiso University Law School, Legal Studies Research Paper, December,
2012, 82 pp.
Author: Geoffrey Heeren
examines the legal history of "immigrant rights" in the United States, with special attention to the distinction
between rights of membership, which are restricted for those who lack legal status or citizenship in the country, and rights
of personhood, which are guaranteed by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. While rights of membership,
including the right to vote, were easy to acquire in the 19thcentury, often only requiring the filing of "first
papers" indicating the intention to become a citizen, they have become increasingly restrictive in recent times. At the
same time, the courts in the United States have grown reluctant to afford rights of personhood to immigrants, especially those
who lack legal status. Instead, when federal courts have ruled in favor of immigrants, they have generally invoked a preemption
argument. The author considers this a dangerous trend, as preemption doesn't work for immigrants when federal statutes are
at issue, and preemption arguments can also be used to strike down pro-immigrant statutes. The "dissipating membership
rights of immigrants," coupled with reluctance to use the equal protection clause as "a shield against majoritarian
abuse," puts immigrants in a vulnerable position, inconsistent with the core values of the nation. Indeed, "a
loss in immigrant rights might be a bellwether for a broader reduction of American rights."
Study of the Outcomes and Impacts of the Global Forum on Migration and Development
and Civil Society Days,
The MacArthur Foundation, October, 2012, 30 pp.
The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) was established after the
first UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in 2006. The Forum has been held annually since
2006, with host countries alternating between developing and developed countries. As the report notes, "migration and
development as thematic areas were combined in an effort to ensure (that) both countries of origin and countries of destination
would participate." Each year, the forum is preceded by "Civil Society Days (CSD)," a gathering of non-profit
advocacy organizations, convened to "ground the discussions in the realities migrants were facing ... (and) to inform
the state-led discussion and build off it." As the largest non-governmental donor to the GFMD process, the MacArthur
Foundation commissioned this study to assess the impact of the GFMD "on policies, practices, issue framing, and government-civil
society cooperation..." The study found considerable frustration with the ability of civil society organizations to impact
the agenda of the GFMD and the government policy-setting process. A major conclusion of the report is that stakeholders
need to develop a "credible and validated theory of change" and restructure the participation of civil society organizations
in a manner consistent with that theory. Moreover, "if stakeholders believe enhanced access and interaction with
government to be a key objective of the CSD, this need to be agreed at the State-led meeting and the structure and activities
will have to be modified accordingly."
Institute for Public Policy Research, October, 2012, 20 pp.
In this brief, Myriam Cherti & Clare McNeil challenge the two most widely
held assumptions in the debate on European immigrant integration policy, finding shortcomings in both the assimilative approach
which focuses on the forging of a shared, national identity, and the multicultural, group-rights approach. The authors
contend that both models are flawed because they start from the premise that communities and cultural identities are fixed
units, and, as such, focus attention on the "grand level of citizenship and national identity." Rather, building
from the work of Brubaker and others, the authors view culture as a collection of complex and shifting patterns that continually
negotiate the boundaries of identity and, therefore, research on assimilation must instead focus on the everyday experiences
of individuals and groups in order to develop effective integration policy. The authors probe "the process
of everyday integration" by surveying literature from four key areas where identities are often constructed and reconstructed:
childcare arrangements, patterns of shopping and consumption, leisure activities, and "supplementary education,"
such as that provided by madrassas in the U.K. Examining their hypothesis that policy can be better shaped through
a) understanding the way that identity formation occurs; b) identifying the problems for social integration and group identity
formation; c) and proposing ways in which they can be amended to ease tensions between groups as they emerge in each of these
settings, Cherti & McNeil conclude that further ethnographic research in these everyday areas would aid policymakers in
crafting a more effective approach to immigrant integration. (Daniel McNulty)
Stateless in the United States: Current Reality and a Future Prediction,
Emory University School of Law, September 30, 2012,
There are an estimated 12 million people worldwide who are "stateless," meaning that no nation-state
recognizes them as being citizens. This paper argues that the frequency of statelessness would be "exacerbated
exponentially" if states were to institute "jus sanguinis" policies, i.e. not awarding citizenship to children
born in a particular country ("jus soli"), but rather making citizenship dependent on the nationality of the parents.
"This is because the location of one's birth is generally easier to prove than the nationality of one's parents..."
Written by Prof. Polly J. Price, the paper reviews the various international efforts to address this problem, beginning with
the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. Despite these efforts, and the fact that most countries in
the Americas, with the exception of the Dominican Republic, practice jus soli, "widespread failures to register
existing citizens, displacement due to civil conflict and migration, and discrimination against indigenous groups and others
have resulted in a substantial number of persons in the Americas who are effectively stateless." Among these persons
are an estimated 250,000 children and adolescents in Nicaragua, a large numbers of indigenous and Afro-Colombian groups displaced
by the Colombian civil war, and stateless Haitians in the Dominican Republic. She then turns to the landscape of statelessness
in the United States, discussing recurring difficulties in deporting undocumented immigrants to countries that do not accept
them as citizens or where diplomatic agreements covering repatriation do not exist. She concludes with an analysis of the
potential adverse effects of the proposed Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, which if enacted into law, would likely create
a burgeoning "undeportable underclass" of stateless people.
Legalization of Undocumented Immigrants Can Reduce Crime,
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Policy Brief, September,
2012, 6 pp.
The author of this policy brief, Scott Ross
Baker, predicts a significant reduction in crime as a result of President Obama's Deferred Action Program. He bases his conclusion
on research showing sharp drops in crime after the implementation of the 1986 legalization program - a reduction apparently
unrelated to any other possible explanatory variable. He speculates that this phenomenon may be caused by one or more of the
following factors: more legalized immigrants started families or brought their spouses or children to live with them
(crime rates in general tend to be lower among people living in families), newly legalized immigrants were no longer
fearful of going to the police to report crimes, and they had more opportunities to obtain an education and enter the formal
South Asian Immigration in the United States: A Gendered Perspective,
Asian American Policy Review, 2012, 6 pp.
from the perspective of Manavi, a South Asian organization dedicated to combating domestic violence, the author Maneesha Kelkar
finds fault with a "male-centric immigration system in the United States" that has caused "untold misery for
countless immigrant women." One particular source of frustration is the H4 derivative visa, issued to spouses
of H1B visa holders. These visas place women in subservient positions, by denying them the right to work in the U.S.
Other problems arise when immigrant men, who are citizens or permanent residents, refuse to sponsor their wives for permanent
residence, or when men abandon women on visits to their home countries. The author argues that the voices of immigrant women
need to be heard in discourses on immigration reform, and that immigrant spouses should be granted the same rights as primary
Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially
Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy,
Migration Policy Institute, August, 2012, 10 pp.
This Fact Sheet raises the national estimate of unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for deferred action to 1.76
million from MPI's earlier estimate of 1.39 million. The increase reflects updated USCIS program guidelines permitting young
people lacking a high school diploma or GED certificate to re-enroll in school by the date of their application. The estimated
number of such young people is 350,000. The Fact Sheet also breaks out the potentially eligible population by level of educational
attainment: currently enrolled in K-12, high school graduate, enrolled in college, college degree, and no high school degree/not
enrolled. The authors also observe that 58 percent of prospective beneficiaries aged 15 and older are already in the workforce
and that their wages and working conditions are likely to improve if their applications are approved.
Who and Where the DREAMers are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might
Benefit from the Obama Administration's Deferred Action Initiative,
Immigration Policy Center, July 31, 2012, 13 pp.
This report breaks down the eligible population for Deferred Action by state, congressional
district, country/region of origin, and age. Of 1.4 million potential beneficiaries in the United States as a whole, 936,930
are in the 15 to 30 age bracket and thus immediately eligible by age. Comparable figures for other states include: New
York (70,170; 55,490), New Jersey (39,650; 28,460), and Pennsylvania (12,570; 8,580). Nationally, 68 percent of potential
beneficiaries (both immediate and future) are Mexican, while 13 percent are from other countries in North and Central America
and the Caribbean. The ethnic composition of the eligible population, however, varies from state to state, and region to region.
While Asians, for example, constitute only 8 percent of the eligible population nationally, they represent 15 percent of the
eligible population in New York and New Jersey and 19 percent in Pennsylvania.
Contested Ground: Immigration in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute & Transatlantic Council on Migration,
July, 2012, 21 pp.
In this paper prepared for the 7thplenary
meeting of the Transatlantic Council in November, 2011, Cornell Professor Michael Jones-Correa argues that the diversification
of migrant streams to the United States, the growth in the size of the undocumented population, and the dispersal of immigrants
to states and localities with little recent experience with migration, have "sparked anxiety among the American public."
This anxiety is especially pronounced among the elderly population, who wield "disproportionate influence on the political
system" and who grew up in an era when immigration was at a low point and when the racial complexion of the nation was
quite different. Jones-Correa finds little correlation between public attitudes towards immigrants and economic conditions
in states and localities, suggesting that unemployment rates and perceived competition for jobs are not significant factors
in shaping public attitudes. He concludes that "it would be a mistake to interpret the debate around immigration as solely
about economics." Instead, there is a widespread belief that "immigration is changing society, largely for the worse,"
and despite research to the contrary, this belief is hard to dispel. Although Jones-Correa offers no prescriptions for
allaying this anxiety, he does argue that "the central policy challenge" facing the country is quite different.
By 2009, almost one-quarter of children under the age of 18, or 17.4 million youth, were immigrants or the children of immigrants.
The future of the nation hangs on the ability of these young people to succeed in school and the workplace. Regrettably, however,
"integration efforts at the national level have been almost nonexistent."
Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States and Europe: The Use of Legalization/Regularization
as a Policy Tool,
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2012, 9 pp.
Drawing on previous MPI research, this paper provides a brief history of legalization
programs in the U.S. and Europe. More than 5 million unauthorized immigrants have been regularized in the European Union
since 1996 -- the vast majority in the southern tier countries of Italy, Spain, and Greece. Although leaders in northern European
countries now frown on regularization as a policy tool, policies of "toleration" have remained popular in these
countries. In the U.S., more than 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants have been legalized since 1986, mainly through the Immigration
Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, the Cuban Adjustment Program, Cancellation of Removal, and the Nicaraguan Adjustment
and Central American Relief Act. Between 1929 and 1986, more than 1.5 million undocumented people, or people on temporary
visas, acquired permanent residence in the U.S., some through the registry program. This program allows people who have
resided unlawfully in the U.S. for long periods and who meet other qualifications to adjust to permanent residence. Congress
has advanced the registry year four times since 1929: in 1940, 1958, 1965, and 1986. The current year is 1972. In addition,
since 1952 Congress has acted 16 times to grant permanent residence to persons in temporary legal status. According
to the authors, ever since Congress placed numerical restrictions on immigration in 1921, "Congress has regularly found
it necessary to legalize discrete groups that have strong equitable and humanitarian claims to remain in the United States.
Many argue that the current unauthorized population includes many residents who have similar claims and that Congress may
find it necessary to pursue the legalization option once again."
The Relationship Between Immigration and Nativism in Europe and North
Transatlantic Council on Migration, May, 2012, 42 pp.
This paper, written by Cas Mudde of DePauw University for the 7thplenary meeting of the Transatlantic
Council in 2011, attempts to map the landscape of "radical right" and "nativist" parties and organizations
in Europe and North America. Since 1980, such parties have had limited electoral success. They have gained more than 15 percent
of the popular vote in only three countries: Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland, but they have managed to shift the debate
in many European countries. According to Mudde, "nowadays, virtually all but a few radical left and green parties consider
immigration a fundamental challenge to their society at best and a threat at worst." Yet, there has also been a
strong countermovement of private organizations, such as SOS Racism in France and the British Anti-Nazi League, that have
worked to discredit the racist propaganda of these parties. Local and national governments have also utilized anti-discrimination
legislation to curb the activities of these groups and to stimulate a pro-immigrant discourse. Despite their impact
on national policies, the author considers the relationship between immigration and "extremism" to be "unclear
and complex ...rising numbers of immigrants do not automatically translate into increasing extremism in a country..."
The best example is the United States, where "a powerful pro-immigrant lobby," made up of "big business, immigrant
groups, and libertarians" stands as a counterweight to nativist forces. Despite the role played by nativist organizations
and parities in "the tightening of immigration laws, particularly those regarding asylum, they have lost the big
battle as both Western Europe and North American are increasingly multiethnic societies."
The Under-Registration of Births in Mexico: Consequences for Children,
Adults, and Migrants,
Migration Policy Institute, April 12, 2012, 7 pp.
This article examines the causes and effects of the under-registration of Mexican births. Estimates indicate that
more than 7 million people in Mexico currently lack a birth certificate, with approximately 30 percent of children under the
age of five going unregistered. Research suggests that the poorest and most marginalized groups within Mexico are the
most likely to go unregistered due to costs, civic disengagement, and cultural barriers. The author notes that the lack of
a birth certificate further increases vulnerability by limiting access to education, health care, labor markets, voting, and
other human rights. Additionally, individuals without identity face a higher risk of being victimized and recruited by traffickers
and criminal syndicates as their identity is nonexistent in government databases. The article also discusses the plight of
those who are "doubly-undocumented," i.e. Mexicans who migrate to the U.S. in search of the opportunities
they are denied in their homeland. Unable to obtain the matricula consular, an ID issued by the Mexican consulate
and accepted by some institutions and local governments within the U.S., they face challenges beyond those of undocumented
migrants who can claim at least one national identity. The author concludes by noting the progress Mexico has made in documenting
all births, but observes that the country "is far from achieving universal registration," and that the unregistered
living in the U.S. are likely to remain stateless for the foreseeable future. Dan McNulty
Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future,
Transatlantic Council on Migration (Migration Policy
Institute), March 2012, 32 pp.
Written by Will Kymlicka, of Queens University in Canada, this paper disputes
"four powerful myths about multiculturalism." The first is that multiculturalism represents the "uncritical
celebration of diversity." Instead, he sees multiculturalism "as the pursuit of new relations of democratic
citizenship, inspired and constrained by human-rights ideals." The second myth is that multiculturalism is in "wholesale
retreat." Instead, he marshals evidence to show that multiculturalism policies "have persisted, even strengthened,
over the past ten years." The third myth is that multiculturalism has failed as a social policy; instead he offers evidence
that multicultural policies have been successful. And the fourth myth is "that the spread of civic integration policies
has displaced multiculturalism or rendered it obsolete." Instead, he argues that multiculturalism is fully consistent
with progressive forms of civic integration policies. Finally, the paper discusses the conditions that would permit "multiculturalism-as-citizenization"
to flourish as a social policy. In this discussion, the author acknowledges that "desecuritization" (minorities
from potential enemy nations), lack of border control, the homogeneity of immigrants (most immigrants from a single source
country), lack of economic integration and excessive use of the welfare system by immigrants, could lead to a rejection of
multiculturalism policies. Nonetheless, even under these circumstances, he sees such a rejection as a "high-risk move.
It is precisely when immigrants are perceived as illegitimate, illiberal, and burdensome that multiculturalism may be most
National Identity in the Age of Migration: Council Statement
Transatlantic Council on Migration (Migration Policy Institute), February,
2012, 10 pp.
This statement emanated from the 7th
plenary meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration held in Berlin in November, 2011. The Council is composed
of public officials, business leaders, and academics from Europe, the United States, and Canada. The meeting "focused
on what policymakers can do to mitigate the disorienting effects of rapid social change - especially change tied or perceived
to be tiedto immigration..." The statement offers 10 key recommendations, providing a policy blueprint for
leaders in addressing questions of migration. Among the recommendations are: "hon(ing) listening skills to truly
understand their electorate's anxiety about immigration (and related issues)...emphasiz(ing) a process of belonging and ‘becoming'
rather than a static sense of ‘being'" in discussions of national identity..." and creat(ing) clear and transparent
pathways to permanent residence and citizenship... (to) encourage immigrants to make a long-term commitment to society."
The statement also makes a number of striking observations, including the following: "efforts to curb plural identities
are beyond the reach of state authority and will be counterproductive; accepting such identities does not erode social cohesion,
whereas limiting their expression can make them more salient." The Council also proposes a strategy to gain
broader public acceptance for public investments in immigrant integration by "gradually honing in on sets of circumstances
that apply to broader swaths of society (particularly poverty and lack of education) as a means of building larger coalitions
The Cost to Americans and America of Ending Birthright Citizenship,
National Foundation for American Policy, March, 2012, 25 pp.
The author of this paper argues against proposed changes to the Citizenship Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to most U.S.-born children, including children of unauthorized immigrants.
Although a number of different proposals have been floated to restrict citizenship, all of them, according to the author,
"will add more complexity and bureaucracy to the lives of all Americans." Before any state can issue a birth
certificate, the federal government will have to certify the status of the child's parents. Given the complexity of
immigration laws, the cost to administer such a program "will be roughly equivalent to a $600 baby tax on every child
born in the United States." The author also questions the rationale for the change: "most illegal immigration to
the united States is driven by economic factors (jobs), or a desire to reunite with family members, not the attraction of
birthright citizenship." Finally, the paper cautions against the economic and social consequences of restricting citizenship,
which will lead to a quadrupling of the number of young people without status, the shrinking of their economic potential,
and their entry into the shadow economy. Portions of this paper originally appeared in an article commissioned by the Cato
Institute and appearing in the winter 2011 issue of the Cato Journal.
Unintended Consequences of US Immigration Policy: Explaining the Post-1965
Surge from Latin America,
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton
University, March, 2012, 29 pp.
The authors of this
article, Douglas S. Massey and Karen A. Pren, trace the evolution of U.S. immigration policy towards Latin America since the
end of the Braceroprogram in 1964, which permitted ca. 450,000 Mexicans to enter annually as temporary workers during
the fifties. In 1965, a cap was placed on Latin American migration to the United States, eventually leading to a per country
cap of 20,000 (previously Latin Americans were exempted from numerical restrictions on immigration). These two policy changes
sparked the rise of illegal immigration from Mexico. The authors then trace the rise of the "Latino threat" narrative
in the media, which initially used marine metaphors, e.g. flood, tidal wave, inundate, etc., and later martial metaphors,
e.g. attacks, invasion, etc., to describe illegal immigration on the southern border. "Politicians quickly discovered
the political advantages to be gained by demonizing Latino immigrants and illegal migration" especially at a time of
rising income inequality. The authors also suggest this narrative was an important "factor in the rightward shift
of American public opinion." Curiously, the rising tide of anti-immigrant legislation and increased border enforcement
had little to do with the actual levels of illegal migration which tapered off after the late 1970s. The increase in the size
of the undocumented migrant population in the U.S. occurred because of the decline in circular migration. "As the costs
and risks of unauthorized border crossing mounted, migrants minimized them by shifting from a circular to a settled pattern
of migration, essentially hunkering down and staying once they had successfully run the gauntlet at the border." Moreover,
Mexicans who were legal residents of the U.S. naturalized in growing numbers after 1986 ("defense naturalization,"
it was called), fearful of possible deportation and loss of benefits, and thus were able to petition for their close relatives
outside of numerical limits. In conclusion, if the goal of federal immigration initiatives "was to limit immigration
from Latin America and prevent the demographic transformation of the United States, they achieved the opposite."
Amnesty or Abolition? Felons, Illegals, and the Case for a New Abolition
Boom: A Journal of California, Winter, 2011, 13 pp.
This essay finds parallels between the
development of immigrant criminalization and the "alienation of citizen offenders." According to the author, undocumented
immigrants, as well as prisoners and ex-offenders, constitute a racialized (predominantly Black and Latino) caste denied equal
rights and the full privileges of membership in society. She traces the history of immigrant criminalization back to
the Civil War. An important milestone occurred in 1893, when the Supreme Court ruled in Fong Yue Ting that the federal
government's right to expel foreigners was "absolute" and "unqualified." In effect, the Bill of
Rights did not apply to these individuals and "for the first time since slavery, an entire category of people in the
United States could be imprisoned without a trial by jury." The consequences of mass incarceration in the United States,
which exploded during the 1980s, are similar. Even after the abolition of slavery, black "convicts emerged as legitimate
subjects of involuntary servitude." Today, two-thirds of the more than 2 million people behind bars are African-American
or Latino. The "collateral" consequences of a conviction, even for ex-offenders, are grave, including denial
of the right to vote, a lifetime ban on welfare benefits for drug offenders, and difficulties in finding employment. One legal
scholar refers to this situation as the "new Jim Crow." The author opines that even a path to citizenship
- while urgently needed for the undocumented - "may not be as valuable as it seems if pursued without a challenge to
the inequities of mass incarceration."
Transatlantic Trends: Immigration,
The German Marshall Fund of the U.S., 2011, 30 pp.
This 2011 public opinion survey - the fourth annual survey published by the
GMF -- covers the United States and five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). Despite the global
economic crisis and the migratory impact of the "Arab Spring," attitudes towards immigration remained remarkably
stable. Immigration remains a "second order concern" in all countries, with majorities indicating the "economy"
or "unemployment" as their foremost concerns. As in previous years, respondents in all countries overestimated the
number of immigrants in their respective countries, e.g. on average U.S. respondents estimated a foreign-born percentage of
37.8 percent, as compared with the real percentage of 12.5 percent. A majority of U.S. respondents, but only 34 percent
of Europeans, also thought that a majority of immigrants were in the country illegally. On both sides of the Atlantic, strong
majorities were favorable to the admission of highly educated immigrants, but opposed to immigrants with low levels of education,
yet when faced with a choice between a highly educated immigrant without a job offer, and a lower educated immigrant with
a job offer, the latter was the preference. Finally, 53 percent of Americans were supportive of birthright citizenship,
and 65 percent supported the provisions of the DREAM Act.
Restoring Trust in the Management of Migration and Borders: Council
Transatlantic Council on Migration, 2011, 8, pp.
Written by Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President of the Migration Policy Institute, this statement reflects
the thinking of a group of high-level officials from Europe and North America who since 2008 have been meeting on a regular
basis "to identify the best ways to bring greater order and legality to migration, border management, and labor market
systems and thus restore public trust in government's ability to manage these complex tasks." The statement begins by
making some recommendations to change the narrative on immigration, including setting realistic goals, articulating why immigration
is in the national interest, and adhering closely to the rule of law. The Council then lays out a series of steps to implement
a "whole-of-system" approach to controlling illegal immigration, involving a range of policy tools utilized in a
coordinated manner. Finally, the statement calls for "building a new architecture for border management,"
involving the effective and strategic use of technology and the allocation of resources based on risk.
World Migration Report 2011: Communicating Effectively About Migration,
International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2011,
The 2011 report (the sixth in a series begun in 2000) is divided into two parts. Part A examines how
perceptions and attitudes about migration shape public opinion in immigrant-receiving countries, which in turn influence policies
adopted by governments. The report calls for a "fundamental shift in how we communicate about migration" and stresses
"the need for the promotion of a better understanding and recognition of the benefits of migration, more evidence-based
policymaking and a more effective engagement with migrants themselves." The report also provides some examples
of effective communication strategies used by governments, civil society, international organizations, and the media. This
section of the report also includes a review of major migration trends of 2010/2011, including policy and legislative developments,
efforts to promote international cooperation and dialogue on migration issues, and the migratory impact of upheavals in the
Middle East and North Africa. Part B reflects on IOM's history on the 60thanniversary of its founding in
1951, with particular attention to developments during the last decade. In commenting on the report, the director general
of IOM suggested that providing accurate information to the public about migration might be "the single most important
policy tool in all societies faced with increasing diversity."
The Domestic Face of Globalization: Law's Role in the Integration
of Immigrants in the United States,
Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, October, 2011, 31
This article examines the role that law plays in
either facilitating or impeding immigrant integration in the United States. By taking "a domestic perspective on
globalization" as well as looking at globalization's effect on local and national processes, three main themes are explored:
legal protections against discrimination, the intersection of national and local legislation, and basic rights to social security.
The authors briefly review the history of immigration law and discuss current legislative debates, finding that both political
and economic pressures have contributed to fragmented and inconsistent policies. The article discusses the plenary powers
held by Congress to enact immigration and naturalization legislation and the possible unconstitutionality of state and federal
measures that discriminate against immigrants. In addition, the authors explore lawmakers' tendency to "favor...markets
over rights" as a response to globalization, often ignoring the inseparability of global capital flow, outsourcing, labor
mobility, and transnational migration. The authors highlight the need to recognize the impact of these fluid processes, as
well as the importance of safeguarding civil liberties in order to strengthen social cohesion for immigrants and non-immigrants
alike. The paper concludes with a call for the use of information and communication technologies to supplement integration
efforts, increase media and cultural plurality, and build mobilization capacity within immigrant communities. (Dan McNulty)
Assimilation Tomorrow: How America's Immigrants Will Integrate by
for American Progress, November, 2011, 33 pp.
This report, prepared by demographers Dowell Myers and John Pitkin,
is the second part of a project on immigrant incorporation conducted by the University of Southern California in conjunction
with the Center for American Progress and underwritten by the MacArthur Foundation. Five indicators of immigrant progress
(English proficiency, homeownership, education, living above the poverty line, better earnings, and naturalization rates)
are tracked for four different cohorts of immigrants (arrivals in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s). The report notes "a
remarkable consistency in the rates of advancement observed across decades for different waves of immigrants..."
The "core assumption" of the report is that the gains of early cohorts are predictive of results in 2030 for the
large 1990s cohort, even with adjustments made for the setback of the Great Recession. According to these researchers, homeownership
rates will rise to 72 percent, English fluency to 70.3 percent, and living outside of poverty to 86.6%. The authors also make
separate projections for Hispanic immigrants, as well as immigrant youth who arrived before reaching 20 years of age. The
researchers also note that the projected gains for Hispanic immigrants in educational and economic attainment are constrained
by the large numbers who lack legal status.
The Debate Over Multiculturalism: Philosophy, Politics, and
Migration Policy Institute, September 22, 2011, 7 pp.
In this policy brief, University of California, Berkeley, Professor Irene Bloemraad distinguishes between three
types of multiculturalism: "demographic multiculturalism," or the description of the pluralism that actually
exists in a particular society; "multiculturalism as political philosophy," which she defines as a "philosophy
centered on recognizing, accommodating, and supporting cultural pluralism'" and "multiculturalism as public policy,"
or the process of adapting to the cultural diversity of groups in a particular society. She notes that "social scientists
have only recently begun to evaluate multiculturalism as public policy." One useful tool is the "multiculturalism
policy index (MCP Index)" developed by two researchers in Canada, which measures the extent to which selected multicultural
policies appear in 21 nations over a period of three decades. With some notable exceptions (Netherlands and Italy), "actual
policy in many countries is slowly inching toward greater accommodation of pluralism, despite the political rhetoric around
the perceived problems of diversity." She further notes that opposition to multiculturalism as public policy on
the part of majority populations may stem from concerns over demographic multiculturalism.
A Description of the Immigrant Population: An Update,
Congressional Budget Office (CBO), June, 2011
seven years, the CBO has updated its last report on the immigrant population. Relying on data from the Department of Homeland
Security and the 2009 American Community Survey, CBO has put together a revealing portrait of the immigrant population in
the U.S., with special attention to historical trends, state-by-state and ethnic comparisons, and occupational trends. The
CBO-designed figures are of particular interest. Figure 7 shows that the percentage of foreign-born people in
New Jersey increased from 15% in 1999 to more than 21% in 2009, the largest percentage increase in the nation. At the same
time, Figure 13 shows that the unauthorized population in New York and New Jersey, as a percentage of the state population,
showed no increase during this period, in contrast to states like Arizona, Georgia, Texas, which had substantial increases.
The Faltering US Refugee Protection System: Legal and Policy Responses
to Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Others in Need of Protection,
Migration Policy Institute & the European University
Institute, 2011, 38 pp.
Funded by the European Union, this paper argues that the U.S. refugee protection system
"needs significant policy attention and revitalization." The author Donald Kerwin traces the evolution of
the U.S. Refugee Assistance Program (USRAP) from 1975 to the present -- a period during which the U.S. admitted nearly 3 million
refugees, three-quarters of whom came from Southeast Asia or the former Soviet Union. In recent years, the character and composition
of the refugee population has changed dramatically. In FY 2009, for example, the U.S. admitted refugees from more than
60 nationalities, including 25 African nationalities - often in a deliberate attempt to address the needs of the most vulnerable
refugees. Many have limited formal education and have languished in refugee camps for many years, yet they are expected
to achieve self-sufficiency in eight months, at a time when the economy is in recession and job opportunities are limited.
Kerwin also reviews how USRAP has been impacted by new security measures put in place after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Finally,
he discusses the consequences of interdiction and expedited removal on the ability of asylum seekers to find protection in
Immigrants in the United States: How Well Are They Integrating
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2011, 25 pp
paper examines recent research along four dimensions of immigrant integration in the United States: language acquisition,
socioeconomic attainment, political participation, and social integration. Written by Stanford sociologist Tomás
Jiménez and funded by the European Union, the paper finds that integration is "proceeding steadily, but unevenly."
The author, however, notes some troubling developments that may stall integration in the future. One is the lack of legal
status for large numbers of immigrants, which has adverse consequences not only for the immigrants themselves, but also for
their American-born children. Other concerns include the crisis in public education and the economic downturn. Tomás
argues that strong public schools and economic growth have facilitated the integration process, perhaps making up for the
absence of European-style integration initiatives in the United States. Without these supportive factors, the continuation
of successful integration outcomes in the U.S may be in jeopardy.
Immigrant Integration and Policy in the United States: A Loosely
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University
of California Berkeley, April 7, 2011, 37 pp.
This paper examines the most important policy domains and initiatives
supporting immigrant integration in the United States. Written by Irene Bloemraad (UC Berkeley) and Els de Graauw (Baruch
College), the paper argues that the "dominant laissez-faire outlook" toward integration and the variation
in local integration approaches around the country, some encouraging but others exclusionary, are cause for some concern.
Even academics in the United States, the authors note with some alarm, "envisage no major role for government in immigrants'
social inclusion." The authors then proceed to review current policies in such areas as language, education, health
care, and public benefits. Although there are some bright spots, "the overall image is of gathering storm clouds threatening
immigrants' successful integration."
Executive Action on Immigration: Six Ways to Make the System Work
Policy Institute (MPI), March, 2011, 23 pp.
suggests steps that the Executive Branch can take in the absence of new federal legislation "to improve and strengthen
the performance of the nation's immigration system." The ideas in the report grew out of a roundtable that MPI convened
in the spring of 2010. The proposed changes would offer "significant improvements without the need for new legislation
or significant infusions of additional resources." Among the six changes would be the creation of a "White
House Office on Immigrant Integration" that would "convene appropriate Cabinet members and a working group
of elected state and local officials to establish immigrant integration goals and targets, coordinate existing programs, and
develop policy and budget mechanisms for meeting integration goals." The office would be led by an Assistant to
the President. The report provides the rationale and outlines the benefits of such an initiative.
Migration Policy Index III,
The British Council and
Migration Policy Group, February, 2011, 212 pp.
Produced by a consortium of 37 national-level organizations led by the British Council and
Migrant Policy Group, the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) measures policies to integrate immigrants in 31 countries
in Europe and North America. It uses 148 policy indicators to create a multi-dimensional picture of immigrants' opportunities
to participate in receiving societies. MIPEX covers seven policy areas which shape an immigrant's journey to full citizenship,
including labor market mobility, family reunion, education, long-term residence, political participation, access to nationality,
and anti-discrimination. First published in 2005, this is the third edition of the Index and the first to include the United
States, which ranked 9th among the 37 nations in the effectiveness of its integration policies. Sweden, Portugal,
and Canada had the highest scores.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States and other partner
organizations, 2011, 39 pp.
For the third year in a
row, GMF has conducted a survey of public opinion on immigration-related issue in six countries of the European
Union, Canada and the United States. The 2010 survey added new questions on the impact of the recession on attitudes
regarding immigration, as well as on the extent of second generation integration. As in the past, populations in all countries
tend to overestimate the size of the immigrant population, as well as the percentage of immigrants who are unauthorized. Majorities
in all European countries, with the exception of Spain, said that immigrants were not integrating well. North Americans were
more positive, with 59% of Americans and 65% of Canadians saying that immigrants are integrating well.
The U.S. Foreign-Born Population: Trends and Selected Characteristics,
Congressional Research Service, January 18, 2011, 34
Prepared for members and committees of Congress, this report was designed to provide "context for consideration
of immigration policy options." Relying primarily on data from the 2008 American Community Survey, the report analyzes
the geographic, demographic, social and economic characteristics of the foreign-born population in the United States. The
report covers educational attainment, English language proficiency and workforce participation rates, with breakdowns by nationality,
gender, and year of arrival.
The Impact of the Great Recession on Metropolitan Immigration Trends,
Brookings, December, 2010, 10 pp.
report examines changes in the foreign-born population both nationally and in the 100 largest metropolitan areas since the
onset of the Great Recession in December, 2007. Growth has continued in some areas, such as Houston and Raleigh, that have
"weathered the recession" well. Declines have occurred in some traditional immigrant gateways, such as New York
and Los Angeles. In the country as a whole, the poverty rate for immigrants rose from 14.6% in 2007 to 16.7% in 2009,
reflecting the lay-offs of low skill workers in the construction and service and hospitality industries.
World Migration Report 2010: The Future of Migration, Building Capacities
IOM International Organization for Migration, 2010,
This is the fifth in a series of biennial reports published by IOM since 2000. The report is rich with
data on all aspects of world migration, with both global and regional overviews. The theme of this particular report is capacity-building
defined as "the process of strengthening the knowledge, abilities, skills, resources, structures and processes that States
and institutions need...to facilitate the development of humane and orderly policies for the movement of people." A separate
chapter of the report focuses on immigrant integration and covers ten core areas for capacity-building.
Immigrant Legalization in the United States and European Union: Policy
Goals and Program Design,
Migration Policy Institute, December, 2010, 15 pp.
Written by Marc R. Rosenblum, an Assoc. Professor of Political Science at
the University of New Orleans, who previously played a role in crafting the Senate's immigration legislation in 2006 and 2007,
this brief examines the various policy options and trade-offs involved in designing effective legalization programs. Noting
that "virtually every major migrant-receiving state has enacted some form of immigrant legalization in response to climbing
rates of illegal immigration since the 1980s, with about 3.5 million Americans and 5 million Europeans gaining legal status,"
the author suggests "four standards by which to judge the success of a legalization system:" inclusiveness, fairness,
cost effectiveness, and self-enforcement. He also reviews options regarding retrospective eligibility, requirements
to be met prospectively during the legalization process, and the benefits to be received through participation in the program.
Observing that "the goals of inclusiveness and fairness are fundamentally in tension," the author concludes
with some suggestions as to how to resolve this tension.
More than IRCA: US Legalization Programs and the Current Policy
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), December, 2010, 19
Noting that legalization programs "have been an enduring and necessary feature of US immigration law
and policy since the nation's first quota restrictions in the 1920s," MPI's Vice President for Programs Donald M. Kerwin
summarizes the three broad types of legalization programs: registry, population-specific, and the general program known
as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. He notes that many more people have been legalized under the
population-specific and registry programs than under IRCA. The report includes a table showing the numbers legalized under
these various programs since 1986. In concluding comments, Kerwin observes that the legalization of "discrete immigrant
populations" has historically enjoyed stronger congressional support and may be the more politically viable approach
in the future.
Structuring and Implementing an Immigrant Legalization Program: Registration
as the First Step,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), November, 2010, 43 pp.
This report -- the first in a series on "how to shape,
structure, and administer a legalization program" -- examines the "immense" administrative challenges associated
with such a program, especially one that might have to process more than four times the number of people legalized under the
1986 legislation. Unlike the earlier program, which was "retrospective" in nature, i.e. requiring applicants
to prove that they satisfied conditions in the past, any new program would be future-oriented, i.e. require them to "earn"
legal status following passage of the legislation. For this reason, MPI recommends careful planning "well in advance
of the passage of legislation." As the government "must decide how to treat applicants whose eligibility for LPR
status will not be determined for many years," MPI further recommends a "simple and streamlined" initial registration
process lasting one year. Other recommendations deal with documentation requirements, application fees, verifying continuing
presence requirements, electronic filing, and the role of community-based organizations.
Migration and Immigrants Two Years after the Financial Collapse:
Where Do We Stand?Giving Facts a Fighting Chance: Answers to the Toughest Immigration
Migration Policy Institute, Report for the BBC World Service,
October, 2010, 127 pp.
Produced by a multinational team of scholars, this report grew out of discussions that
took place in May, 2010, at a gathering sponsored by the Transatlantic Council on Migration in Bellagio, Italy The report
documents disproportionate job losses among immigrants, especially among lower skilled migrants, males, and younger migrants;
major reductions in migrant inflows in Europe and the United States; and reductions in illegal migration as evidenced by sharply
reduced apprehensions on the southern border of the U.S and on Europe's southern periphery. The report also raises the possibility
that migration flows to developed countries may not return to pre-recession levels even after the resumption of stronger economic
growth, but rather may be shifted to the emerging economies of Asia. In lieu of an executive summary, the report features
a series of nine "headlines" derived from the research with brief explanatory notes.
Immigration Policy Center, October, 2010, 21
In this guide, IPC presents evidence to answer the "toughest questions" posed by immigration skeptics
and opponents. Arranging the material in short and readable chunks, the authors have produced what amounts to a primer for
pro-immigration advocacy. Among issues covered are: border enforcement, worksite enforcement, E-verify, comprehensive
immigration reform, birthright citizenship, the environmental impact of immigration, and immigrant use of public benefits.
Climate Change and Immigration: Warnings for America's Southern Border,
American Security Project, September, 2010,
Noting alarming patterns of declining agricultural
yields, severe water shortages caused by Andean glacial melting, and growing desertification in much of Latin America, Lindsay
Ross, a policy analyst for the bipartisan American Security Project, predicts growing migratory pressures along the southern
border of the United States caused by climate change. He argues that "addressing climate change is a crucial step
in stemming and managing this potentially massive tide of immigration."
Assimilation Today: New Evidence Shows the latest Immigrants
to America are Following our History's Footsteps,
Center for American Progress, September, 2010, 43 pp.
Examining data from the 1990 and 2000 censuses,
and the 2008 American Community Survey, University of Southern California researchers Dowell Myers and John Pitkin see evidence
that "assimilation is robust in the 21st century and follows the pattern of previous eras of American history."
The authors trace six social and economic indicators: citizenship, homeownership, English-language proficiency, educational
attainment, occupation, and income; and follow a primary cohort of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. from 1985 to 1989,
and who were 20 years of age or older in 1990. Three indicators, in particular, show "striking" improvement:
Homeownership (rising from 16% to 62% over 18 years), men with individual earnings greater than the poverty threshold (rising
from 35% to 66%) and speaking English well (rising from 56% to 64.1%). Three other indicators, however, show relatively
little change: high school completion, attainment of a B.A. degree, and movement into a professional or managerial occupation.
When English language ability was evaluated for two other cohorts: immigrants age 10-19 in 1990 and those age 0-9 in 1990,
the improvements were quite dramatic - over 80% for the first group and roughly 95% for the second. The authors find similar
patterns emerging when they separately examine Mexican and other central American immigrants. The authors caution against
the "Peter Pan Fallacy," which assumes that immigrants are frozen in time, "never aging, never advancing economically,
and never assimilating," and which may be especially prevalent in states with recently arrived immigrant populations,
where the workings of assimilation have yet to be observed.
The Demographic Impacts of Repealing Birthright Citizenship,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2010, 11 ppThis study projects the future size of the undocumented population in the
United States under various repeal scenarios. It concludes that the least restrictive "mother and father" version
of repeal - the one introduced in the current session of Congress - would lead to a 44% increase in the unauthorized population
to 16 million in 2050. The authors also mention the possibility of a "perpetuation of hereditary disadvantage"
for later generations and include estimates as to how repeal would impact the legal status of the 3rd and subsequent
Birthright Citizenship in the United States: A Global Comparison,
Center for Immigration Studies, August, 2010, 20 ppPublished by a think tank often described as anti-immigrant, this report
lays out the case for the repeal of birthright citizenship. Citing reports in the Nigerian, Turkish, and U.S. press, the author
claims that "an entire industry of ‘birth tourism' has been created." He also contends that ending birthright
citizenship would reduce some of the "explosive growth" in "chain migration" and make it possible to introduce
a temporary worker program that would be truly temporary. The author also reports that only 30 of 194 countries, and only
2 of 31 advanced economies (the U.S. and Canada), "grant automatic birthright citizenship to children of illegal and
temporary aliens." Finally, he reviews the legislative history of the 14th amendment and concludes that "the
Citizenship Clause was never intended to benefit illegal aliens" and argues that Congress has the right to assert its
authority over the executive branch in this matter, without resort to a constitutional amendment.
The Citizenship Clause: A "Legislative History."
January 18, 2010, 53 pp.
examines the legislative history and intent of the 14thamendment clause stating that "all persons born or
naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State
wherein they reside." Written by Garrett Epps, a Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore, the essay takes issue
with the influential views of Peter Schuck and Rogers H. Smith, two scholars who first advanced their argument for "consensual"
citizenship in 1985. Although the framers of the amendment could not have anticipated modern immigration conditions, they
did, according to Epps, live in a nation that was 11% foreign-born in 1866, and they did intend the amendment to apply
to immigrants, as well as to freed slaves. Epps discusses the examples of the children of Chinese immigrants, whose parents
had been barred from citizenship since 1790, and the "gypsy" population, "the closest thing the United States
had at that time to ‘illegal' immigrants." Both these groups were subjects of congressional colloquies on the intent
of the amendment. Epps then discusses the issue of birth-right citizenship, which he describes as the "central
engine" of immigrant assimilation in the United States." He argues that "the advocates of creating a
new non-citizen status for native-born children (of immigrants), are in danger of (inadvertently) creating a modern analogue
of the post-slavery subordination (of African-Americans) that was occurring during the months before the framing of the Fourteenth
Reconfiguring Settlement and Integration: A Service Provider
Strategy for Innovation and Results,
Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance/Alliance
canadienne du secteur de l'établissement des immigrants, May 16, 2010, 72 pp.
Written by Meyer Burstein,
co-founder and former executive of the International Metropolis Project, this report provides an in-depth analysis of the
Canadian immigrant and refugee service sector, based on "a series of workshops and focus groups with representatives
of service provider organizations and ethnic-specific agencies" in cities across Canada. The report identifies "four
strategic capacities" of the sector, including "an ability to comprehensively assess client needs and to assemble
a bundle of services to address those needs, cutting across program silos." The report contains 15 recommendations
"aimed at clarifying the sector's strategic directions and strengthening its strategic capacities." One recommendation
calls for "an internal study to map the areas in which (the sector) enjoys a comparative advantage over mainstream and
commercial service providers." Another recommendation calls for "a collaborative study with ethnic-cultural
groups to determine how best to strengthen the sector's connections" with these groups, in order to "reinforce the
sector's strategic advantages vis-à-vis mainstream agencies." Other recommendations are designed to bolster the
capacity of the sector to be analytic and innovative, thereby preventing the sector from being "relegated to the role
of passive observers and stoop labour, acting exclusively at government's behest." The report urges the development of
"a sector-led, pan-Canadian institution comprised of settlement agencies and university-based researchers that would
analyze and disseminate best practice information." The new body would be "part clearing house and part think
tank" and would be "wholly owned" by the settlement sector. The Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance
has prepared an official responseto the Burstein report.
Migration, the Environment and Climate Change: Assessing the Evidence,
The German Marshall Fund of the United
States, June, 2010, 5 pp.
This short paper is one of eight new studies devoted to the topic of climate change
and migration patterns prepared by the Transatlantic Study Team on Immigration and Integration. Written by Frank Laczko, the
Head of Research at the International Organization for Migration, this paper examines the current state of research on climate
change and migration. The author calls attention to the uncertainties surrounding the notion of environmentally-induced
migration, especially when individual choice enters into the picture. Rather than thinking of population movement as either
forced or voluntary, it might be more accurate, he suggests, to conceive of a continuum ranging from totally voluntary
to totally forced. The author also notes the lack of empirical research on the relationships between climate change and migration.
What is clear is that most environmentally-induced migration has been within and between developing countries in the global
South. Apart from efforts to provide temporary refuge to those stranded outside their countries as a consequence of
extreme environmental events such as earthquakes and hurricanes, most northern countries have yet to develop a "strategy
and policy framework to address the impact of gradual environmental change." Copies of this paper and others in the series
are available on the website of The German Marshall Fund. The International Organization for Migration has also produced
a larger study on the same subject.
Migrant Resource Centres: An Initial Assessment,
IOM International Organization for Migration, 2010,
Defining migrant resource centres (MRCs) as "physical structures that provide services to migrants
which facilitate and empower them to migrate in a legal, voluntary, orderly and protected fashion," IOM considers this
report to be the first attempt "to assess (their) impact on migration management goals." According to IOM,
MRCs may be found in both countries of origin and destination. Originally prepared for the 2009 Global Forum on Migration
and Development, this report profiles 17 MRCs, with special attention to their role in "empowering migrants for development."
The authors identify and give examples of good practices and recommend steps to strengthen and sustain organizations of this
Refugee Resettlement in the United States: An Examination of
Challenges and Proposed Solutions,
Columbia University School of International and Public
Affairs, May, 2010, 22 pp.
This report was commissioned by the International Rescue Committee and produced by
a team of six graduate students under the guidance of Professor Howard Roy Williams. The report is based on extensive
research and interviews with key figures in the refugee resettlement field and is intended to inform the dialogue on system
reform initiated by the National Security Council. The report summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S.
resettlement program and makes a series of recommendations to improve program operations and outcomes, including regular consultations
with refugees on program operations, more sophisticated tracking of outcomes beyond short-term employment, and a "comprehensive
study of the domestic resettlement system to determine optimal funding levels."
Beyond Arizona: Without Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Intolerance
Will Rise Across Our Country,
Center for American Progress, May, 2010, 13 pp.
This report reviews two decades of state legislative efforts to combat illegal migration, focusing particularly
on the states of Arizona and California, and includes a useful summary of ongoing legal challenges to such legislation.
The report concludes that "many of these laws irresponsibly invite racial profiling and threaten the civil rights of
U.S. residents based on their skin color" and urges Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform as a remedy.
A Century Apart: New Measures of Well-Being for U.S. Racial and Ethnic
American Human Development Project of the Social Science Research
Council, April, 2010, 22 pp.
Seeking to develop
a more accurate measure of "human development" than gross national product, the United National Development Programme
began issuing annual human development (HD) reports in 1990. This approach has now been applied to the United States.
Using health, educational, and family income data from the 2007 American Community Survey, the Council has produced state-level
comparative data for government recognized racial and ethnic groups in the U.S and has uncovered wide variations between and
among groups. Asian-Americans in New Jersey, for example, rank highest in human development among all population groups. Although
significantly below Asians in HD scores, Latinos in NJ rank number 1 compared to Latino populations in other states. No effort,
however, has been made to disaggregate the data to reveal significant differences among groups within larger pan-ethnic categories,
e.g. the many nationalities that are grouped together as "Asian" or "Latino."
Hidden in Plain Sight: Indigenous Migrants, Their Movements, and
Migration Policy Institute, March 31, 2010, 7 pp.
This short paper discusses migration trends
among the world's 370 million indigenous people, who often get lumped together statistically with non-indigenous migrants
born in the same country. The author notes that indigenous people often migrate from rural to urban areas within their
own countries, before attempting to move to other countries. The author calls for the compilation of disaggregated
data about these groups and new studies to "help governments at the State and federal levels address specific issues
of these communities."
Employment-Based Immigration: Creating a Flexible and Simple System,
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton university, February, 2010, 38 pp.
Produced by six Master's level students at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International
Affairs, with varying ideological outlooks and professional backgrounds, this report presents their consensus position on
the components of a reformed employment immigration system. The report begins by reviewing the peculiarities of the current
employment system, which generates only 17% of all permanent resident visas issued by the U.S. The authors point out
that studies of "immigration in the aggregate" do not shed light on the costs and benefits of employment-based immigration,
which require finer analysis. The authors consider "the failure to use any data or objective analysis" to fine-tune
admission priorities and numbers to be a "glaring weakness" of the current system. Their recommendations, including
timely and strengthened, top-down data collection, combined with "bottom-up case studies," similar to those undertaken
by the Migration Advisory Committee in the U.K in order to "judiciously deliberate between claims that workers are in
short supply and claims that wages are being kept artificially low by immigration." A major recommendation is the consolidation
of the existing first, second, and third preferences into a single, five-year, multiple entry employment visa category, convertible
to permanent residence at the end of the five years. To ensure the integrity of the reformed system, the authors also recommend
tightened immigration enforcement, through such measures as the gradual expansion of the E-Verify Program, coupled with more
robust prosecution of labor law violations.
Facing Our Future: Children in the Aftermath of Immigration
The Urban Institute, February, 2010, 80 pp.
This longitudinal study looks at the consequences of immigration enforcement activities
on a sample of 190 children in 85 families in six locations in the United States. Arrested parents or their spouses were interviewed
twice: 2 to 5 months after arrest, and 9-13 months after arrest. The researchers found that the children "experienced
severe challenges, including separations from parents and economic hardships that likely contributed to adverse behavioral
changes that parents reported." Based on interviews with local officials and leaders of social service agencies,
the study also describes and assesses the responses of the six communities to the arrests. The authors conclude with a series
of policy recommendations to ease the burden on children arising from workplace raids and home arrests.
Protection through Integration: The Mexican Government's Efforts
to Aid Migrants in the United States,
Policy Institute, January, 2010, 39 pp.
traces the history and describes the present work of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (Institute de los Mexicanos en el
Exterior or IME). Working through 56 consular offices and approx 75 staff in the United States, the IME represents,
according to the report, "one of the most significant, if overlooked factors in US immigrant integration policy."
Mexico has become a world leader in "diaspora engagement," by recognizing that successful immigrant integration
into host societies benefits both sending and receiving countries. The report describes the various programs that have
been established by the IME, including consular health stations (Ventanillas de Salud), the Mexican Migrant Advisory
Council, the Binational Migrant Education Program, and an adult education community center program (Plazas Comunitarias)
which in 2007 operated at 373 sites in 35 states. The report recommends that IME measure its results and outcomes
in a more systematic manner so that other countries might learn from its experience.
A Visa and Immigration Policy for the Brain-Circulation Era,
NAFSA Association of International Educators, December, 2009, 13 pp.
This policy brief argues that there has been a "paradigm
shift in global mobility." The economic advantage that the United States once held in attracting talented international
students and skilled workers is eroding, as other countries compete for this limited supply of human capital. Indeed,
there has been a largely unrecognized outflow of talent from the United States to other countries. As international student
mobility continues to increase, the U.S. share of the total is dwindling. The author proposes a package of reforms designed
to address this problem, including more efficient consular processing of visa applicants, "treating people with civility
and respect when they transit through our ports of entry," and allowing more advanced degree holders from American universities
to become permanent residents.
Institutional Racism, ICE Raids, and Immigration Reform,
School of Law, University of California, Davis, December, 2009, 49
Reviewing the long sweep of U.S. immigration history,
with particular attention to the southern border, UC Davis Law Professor Bill Ong Hing argues that "the construction
of U.S. immigration laws and policies that began with the forced migration of Black labor...is inherently racist. The current
numerical limitation system, while not explicitly racist, operates in a manner that severely restricts immigration from Mexico
and the high visa demand countries of Asia." He further argues that the "dehumanization" and commoditization
of "illegal immigrants," as promoted by "hot talk radio hosts, conservative columnists, and politicians, Democrats
and Republicans alike," works to conceal the racist nature of these policies.
What Assimilation Means Today,
Zócalo Public Square, Chicago, November 6, 2009
Leading scholars and policy experts discuss the meaning of immigrant integration, including whether "assimilation
is still a bad word." Presenters include: Tamar Jacoby (ImmigrationWorks USA), Gary Gerstle (Vanderbilt University),
Noah Pickus (Duke), Jose Luis Guttierez (National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities) Richard Alba (CUNY),
Dowell Myers (USC), and Peggy Levitt (Wellesley College). Video recordings of the keynote speech and the two panel sessions,
as well as a written summary of all conference sessions, are available on the Zócalo website.
Made in America: Myths and Facts about Birthright Citizenship,
Immigration Policy Center, September, 2009, 34 pp.
Four scholars discuss the meaning, importance, and legislative history of the Fourteenth
Amendment, which states that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof
are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." In four separate essays, the authors
argue against attempts to deny citizenship to the children of unauthorized immigrants, contending that such a change would
be inconsistent with the intentions of those who wrote the Amendment, compromise a key principle of American democracy, have
little or no effectiveness in stopping illegal migration, and likely fuel the growth of an "exploitable underclass"
in American society.
Breaking the Immigration Stalemate: From Deep Disagreements to Constructive
Proposals, A Report from the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable,
The Brookings Institution and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, 2009, 28 pp.
together 20 leaders and experts who "see immigration from divergent, even conflicting perspectives," this roundtable
spent 10 months working to hammer out a set of consensus recommendations for immigration reform. The participants agreed that
the final product represented "a reasonable balance among competing considerations, interests, and principles, and that
it is a major advance over the status quo." Among the recommendations are the following: GAO-monitored "coordination
and sequencing" of legalization with a strict regime of workplace enforcement, a "tilting toward skills" in
admissions policy, maintenance of the current overall flow levels of 1.1 million legal admissions per year, creation of a
Standing Commission on Immigration to provide ongoing guidance to Congress on immigration policy, and the creation of an Office
for New Americans within the Executive Office of the President to coordinate the work of all federal departments and all levels
of government to ensure the successful integration of immigrants and their children.
A Broken System: Confidential Reports Reveal Failures in U.S. Immigrant Detention Centers,
National Immigration Law Center, ACLU of Southern California, Holland & Knight, 2009, 154 pp.
1992, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of immigrants held in detention in the United States - reaching 320,000
in 2007. Based on a review of 18,000 pages of government documents released under court order, this report finds that
the entire system is "woefully unregulated." ICE detention standards are often routinely disregarded and violated.
67% of all detainees are held in state or county jails, where the level of oversight is particularly lax. Major deficiencies
were found in standards such as visitation rights, recreational time, telephone access, access to legal material, and use
of disciplinary segregation. The report contains numerous recommendations to create a more humane and just system, including
a moratorium on further expansion of the system and greater use of supervised release programs. In New Jersey, seven county
jails have contracts with ICE to incarcerate immigrant detainees.
Iraqi Refugees in the United States: In Dire Straits,
International Rescue Committee, June, 2009, 36 pp.
Based on field observations in several U.S.
cities by a private "Commission on Iraqi Refugees" appointed by the International Rescue Committee, this report
finds that the federal refugee resettlement program "faces major structural challenges in its organization and funding."
With 17,000 Iraqi refugees slated for admission during FY 2009, many of whom suffering from trauma, injury, and illness, with
large numbers of widows with children, the economic downturn is wreaking havoc on the ability of individual refugees to achieve
rapid self-sufficiency. Without policy reform, many Iraqi refugees, according to the Commission, will end up homeless
and in long-term poverty. The report contains five recommendations for policy reform, including alternatives to early employment
to permit refugee professionals to participate in recertification programs.
No Shortcuts: Selective Migration and Integration,
Transatlantic Academy Report on Immigration, March, 2009, 34 pp.
In this report, six scholars - three from the
United States and three from Europe - describe and assess skill-based immigration systems in western countries and reach a
number of policy-related conclusions, including the following: first, that "selective migration schemes that do
not have a specific connection to employment are faced with problems of integrating immigrants into the labor market;"
second, that "highly-skilled (migrants) are not immune to problems of adaptability and integration;"
and third, that the American economic and immigration boom of the last few decades is over, resulting in inevitable changes
in the quantity and patterns of migration, and that migration should no longer be viewed "as a one-way street toward
Europe and the United States," but rather as a process characterized by "circular migration and multiple-life-phase
migrations" -- and with many new players, including China and India. The authors stress the importance of sound integration
policies to prevent "brain waste" and the spread of extremist ideologies. They also argue that "systems and
environments devised to make it easier for people to move back and forth are preferable to the build-up of border and control
Learning from Each Other: The Integration of Immigrants
and Minority Groups in the United States and Europe,
Center for American Progress, April, 2009, 36 pp.
This report compares and contrasts European and American
approaches to immigrant integration. The report commends the European Union for its effort to define a common framework
and set of principles to guide integration efforts on the member state level and its dedication of substantial resources
for integration work. It urges the United States to follow a similar approach. The United States, in turn, is commended
for its strong antidiscrimination laws and its ability to enforce regulations on the state and local level -- achievements
worthy of emulation by European states. The report calls for the creation of a "new National office of Integration in
the White House," charged with reducing barriers to integration for both new immigrants and minority groups.
The Evolution of Language Competencies, Preferences and Use Among Immigrants
and their Children in the United States Today,
Testimony of Rubén G. Rumbaut, University of California, Irvine,
to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law, U.S. House of Representatives,
May 16, 2007, 28 pp
This paper addresses the question
of whether the U.S. is continuing to function as a "graveyard for languages." In particular, the author tests the
assertion of Samuel P. Huntington in a controversial 2004 book that immigrants from Latin America and their children are clinging
to Spanish and thereby threatening the identity and unity of American society. Citing a number of intergenerational studies
completed in heavily Hispanic areas in south Florida and southern California, Rumbaud finds little support for Huntington's
thesis. Rumbaud concludes that "the death of immigrant languages in the United States is not only an empirical
fact, but can also be considered as part of a larger and widespread global process of ‘language death.'" From a
public policy point of view, leaders in the United States may wish to consider the desirability of this outcome and take steps
to promote the preservation of immigrant languages as a national resource.