Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012: Who Would Be Better on Immigration?



When it comes to immigration, it has been an interesting four years in the Presidency of Barack Obama.  Do our readers think that A Romney administration would be any better on immigration?  Your editors would love to post your thoughts.


November 6, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Anatomy of a Modern Day Lynching: The Relationship between Hate Crimes Against Latina/os and the Debate over Immigration Reform by Kevin R. Johnson & Joanna Cuevas Ingram

Anatomy of a Modern Day Lynching: The Relationship between Hate Crimes Against Latina/os and the Debate over Immigration Reform by Kevin R. Johnson & Joanna Cuevas Ingram

Abstract: This is a contribution to a symposium in the North Carolina Law Review on "Race Trials." For more than a decade, Congress unfortunately has been unable to pass legislation meaningfully reforming and improving the current immigration system. For reasons that will be laid out in the following pages, we unfortunately conclude that, absent such reform as well as other measures, the United States can expect racially-charged rhetoric, at times erupting in violence, to continue to sporadically grab the national headlines. Effective immigration reform might help ameliorate the civil rights costs of the current immigration enforcement scheme. While waiting for Congress to act, the nation should take steps to ensure that the justice system effectively, efficiently, and fairly responds to civil rights deprivations, including hate crimes against Latina/os and immigrants. Besides responding to civil rights deprivations linked directly and indirectly to the enforcement of the current immigration laws, the measures would help generally improve the justice system’s responses to racially-charged cases.

Our contribution to the “Race Trials” symposium considers the protracted legal battles to bring justice to the perpetrators of the killing of a young Mexican immigrant in rural Pennsylvania. From that sensational case, we attempt to draw more general civil rights lessons. The article specifically contends that hate crimes directed at Latina/os, which have been at consistently high levels for the entire twenty-first century, are in no small part tied to the prolonged -- and overheated -- national debate over immigration. History offers lessons about today’s hate violence directed against immigrants and Latino/as. As the terrorism of African Americans by the Ku Klux Klan for the century following the Civil War aptly demonstrates, hate violence has long been employed to maintain unequal power relationships in U.S. society, specifically racial subordination by whites of minority groups. Nor was such terrorism limited to the notorious Klan. Whippings, beatings, and lynchings of Blacks throughout the twentieth century by ordinary citizens were part and parcel of a concerted effort to ensure the survival of Jim Crow. We in no way mean to suggest that the violence against Latina/os is identical to the unbridled terrorism directed at African Americans before and after the abolition of slavery for hundreds of years in the United States. That violence, however, serves a similar function of attempting to maintain racial hegemony in times of change and ferment.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Latina/o migration is figuratively and literally changing the face of communities across the country. These changes have brought forth responses. Hate crimes against Latina/os and immigrants, in addition to a racially-charged debate over immigration and the proliferation of state immigration enforcement laws, represent a troubling response to the changing racial demographics of the United States. Part I of the article offers background surrounding the divisive national debate over immigration reform. Part II provides the context surrounding the tragic killing of a Mexican immigrant by a group of white teenagers in rural Pennsylvania, as well as the subsequent state and federal efforts to punish the wrongdoers and local police who sought to cover up the crime and shield the teens from criminal prosecution. As we shall see, although the U.S. government’s efforts yielded decidedly mixed success, they nonetheless demonstrated a meaningful, visible public commitment to bringing justice to the wrongdoers. Part III of the article outlines a variety of possible reforms that might help punish and deter hate violence directed at Latina/os and immigrants. The prescriptions all center on the need to address the deeply corrosive influence of race on the debate over immigration and, more generally, on the modern American justice system. They range from broad measures such as the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform to more focused remedies such as creating procedures designed to better enforce the ban on race-based preemptory challenges in jury selection.


November 6, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Immigrant Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Thomas McGraw's Op-ed in the NY Times:

Some 70 million immigrants have come to America since the first colonists arrived. The role their labor has played in economic development is widely understood. Much less familiar is the extent to which their remarkable innovations have driven American prosperity.

Indeed, while both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have lauded entrepreneurship, innovation and “job creation,” neither candidate has made comprehensive immigration reform an issue, despite immigrants’ crucial role in those fields. Yet understanding how immigrants have fueled innovation through history is critical to making sure they continue to drive prosperity in the future. Read more...


November 5, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Enslaved Women in America: An Encyclopedia, by Daina Ramey Berry and Deleso A. Alford, editors

Enslaved women

Enslaved Women in America:  An Encyclopedia, Daina Ramey Berry and Deleso A. Alford, editors

ABSTRACT:  This singular reference provides an authoritative account of the daily lives of enslaved women in the United States, from colonial times to emancipation following the Civil War. Through essays, photos, and primary source documents, the female experience is explored, and women are depicted as central, rather than marginal, figures in history. One of the most harrowing periods in American history was undoubtedly the era of slavery and its devastating impact on people of African descent. Enslaved women, in particular, had challenging circumstances based on their gender, yet they persevered with strength and grace through extraordinarily difficult life experiences. Slavery in the history of the United States continues to loom large in our national consciousness, and the role of women in this dark chapter of the American past is largely under-examined. This is the first encyclopedia to focus on the daily experiences and roles of female slaves in the United States, from colonial times to official abolition provided by the 13th amendment to the Constitution in 1865.

Enslaved Women in America: An Encyclopedia contains 100 entries written by a range of experts and covering all aspects of daily life. Topics include culture, family, health, labor, resistance, and violence. Arranged alphabetically by entry, this unique look at history features life histories of lesser-known African American women, including Harriet Robinson Scott, the wife of Dred Scott, as well as more notable figures. Features

• Dozens of photos of former enslaved women

• Detailed historical timeline

• Numerous rare primary documents, including runaway slave advertisements and even a plantation recipe for turtle soup

• Profiles of noted female slaves and their works Highlights

• Provides a comprehensive examination of the role of enslaved women in United States history

• Includes contributions from some of the top scholars in the field

• Contains the most current and up-to-date research on enslaved women in the United States

• Addresses current historical debates on a variety of topics referencing slavery

Here is a review by Professor Hope Lewis on IntLawGrrls.


November 5, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Outrage in Texas After Airborne Police Sharpshooter Kills 2

The New York Times reports that in the border town of La Joya, Texas, a police sharpshooter from the Texas Department of Public Safety shot at a red pickup truck that he and other state police officers believed was carrying illegal drugs. Tragically, the officer killed two undocumented Guatemalan men who were hiding in the bed of the truck. 

This incident (committed by a state police officer) should be part of the inspection that the Office of Inspector General will be conducting on the federal government's use of excessive force at the border.


November 5, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)