Monday, August 31, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat

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Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat 

Release date:  September 1, 2015

A touching tale of parent-child separation and immigration, from a National Book Award finalist

After Saya's mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother's warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she’s in jail, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother's tales and her father's attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good. With stirring illustrations, this tender tale shows the human side of immigration and imprisonment—and shows how every child has the power to make a difference.

Danticat was born in Haiti. When she was two, her father immigrated to New York, to be followed two years later by her mother Rose.  This left Danticat and her younger brother to be raised by her aunt and uncle. Although her formal education in Haiti was in French, she spoke Haitian Creole at home. While in Haiti, Danticat began writing. At age 12, she moved to Brooklyn to join her parents in a heavily Haitian American neighborhood. Edwidge's disorientation to her new surroundings was a source of discomfort for her, and she turned to literature for solace.

KJ

August 31, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 28, 2015

From the Bookshelves: History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations by Naiyer Habib & Mahlaqa Naushaba Habib

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History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations by Naiyer Habib & Mahlaqa Naushaba Habib (2015)

Canada is home to immigrants from many cultures. Unlike times past, when newcomers from a foreign country seemed to want to blend in with their new culture as soon as possible, more recent immigrants want to become a part of their new home but retain some of the elements of their native cultures. This is a task that is often easier to talk about than to accomplish. History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations: Islamic Association, CCMW and MPJ represents the struggle and success of authors and editors Naiyer Habib and Mahlaqa Naushaba Habib. When they immigrated to Canada in 1973, they wanted to preserve their culture and religion for themselves as well as for future Muslim generations. The Culture in their new home was much different than theirs. It was the time when literature on Islam or Islamic culture was hard to find in English, so it was difficult for their new neighbors to learn about them. Through Islamic organizations begun by the Habibs and others in the Muslim community, whose stories are shared in this book, they introduced Islam and Muslims to Regina, while still holding on to their culture, but integrating with society at large. History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations: Islamic Association, CCMW and MPJ demonstrate it is not always easy to incorporate a familiar culture in a new home. But with hard work and willingness of all cultures involved to learn from each other, it can be done successfully.

Naiyer Habib was a respected Cardiologist, researcher and medical administrator in Regina, Saskatchewan, until 2004 before retiring in 2011 in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada where he leads semiretired life. Mahlaqa Naushaba Habib completed her Master’s degree in Political science. She became her husband’s office manager until their retirement. They have served the Muslim community for approximately three decades. They are currently working on their memoir.

KJ

August 28, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Doubling Down on Racial Discrimination: The Racially Disparate Impacts of Crimmigration Law

I have a post on CASETEXT.com based on a longer article.  The U.S. immigration removal system targets noncitizens who are involved in criminal activity. Relying on state and local police action, which many claim is racially biased due to such practices as racial profiling, the U.S. government removes nearly 400,000 noncitizens a year, with more than 95 percent from Mexico and Latin America (even though the overall immigrant population is much more diverse). State and local governments have resisted some of the federal government’s aggressive removal efforts through “sanctuary laws,” which are designed to build the trust in immigrant communities necessary for effective law enforcement by local police. Reforms in the immigration laws are necessary to reduce the racially disparate impacts of reliance on the criminal justice system for immigration removals.

KJ

August 24, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 21, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Whose Child Am I? Unaccompanied, Undocumented Children in U.S. Immigration Custody by Susan J. Terrio

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Whose Child Am I? Unaccompanied, Undocumented Children in U.S. Immigration Custody by Susan J. Terrio, University of California Press, May 2015

In 2014, the arrest and detention of thousands of desperate young migrants at the southwest border of the United States exposed the U.S. government's shadowy juvenile detention system, which had escaped public scrutiny for years. This book tells the story of six Central American and Mexican children who are driven from their homes by violence and deprivation, and who embark alone, risking their lives, on the perilous journey north. They suffer coercive arrests at the U.S. border, then land in detention, only to be caught up in the battle to obtain legal status. Whose Child Am I? looks inside a vast, labyrinthine system by documenting in detail the experiences of these youths, beginning with their arrest by immigration authorities, their subsequent placement in federal detention, followed by their appearance in deportation proceedings and release from custody, and, finally, ending with their struggle to build new lives in the United States. This book shows how the U.S. government got into the business of detaining children and what we can learn from this troubled history.

KJ

August 21, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

From the Bookshelves: The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee

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The Making of Asian America:   A History by Erika Lee

The definitive history of Asian Americans by one of the nation’s preeminent scholars on the subject.In the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. But as award-winning historian Erika Lee reminds us, Asian Americans also have deep roots in the country. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day.

An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States: sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s; indentured “coolies” who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; and Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II.  Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a “despised minority,” Asian Americans are now held up as America’s “model minorities” in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States.

Published to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that has remade our “nation of immigrants,” this is a new and definitive history of Asian Americans. But more than that, it is a new way of understanding America itself, its complicated histories of race and immigration, and its place in the world today.

KJ

August 18, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 14, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Dream Things True: A Novel by Marie Marquardt

 

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Dream Things True:  A Novel by Marie Marquardt

Evan and Alma have spent fifteen years living in the same town, connected in a dozen different ways but also living worlds apart—until the day he jumps into her dad’s truck and slams on the brakes. The nephew of a senator, Evan seems to have it all—except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two, surrounded by a large – and sometimes smothering – Mexican family. They both want out of this town. His one-way ticket is soccer; hers is academic success. When they fall in love, they fall hard, trying to ignore their differences. Then Immigration and Customs Enforcement begins raids in their town, and Alma knows that she needs to share her secret. But how will she tell her country-club boyfriend that she and almost everyone she’s close to are undocumented immigrants? What follows is a page-turning debut that asks tough questions, reminding us that love is more powerful than fear.

KJ

August 14, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Crimmigration Law by Author: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

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 Crimmigration Law by Author: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

At its most basic, “crimmigration” law describes the convergence of two distinct bodies of law: criminal law and procedure with immigration law and procedure. For most of the nation’s history, these operated almost entirely free of the other. Criminal law and procedure was thought to be the province of prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, and the state and federal judges who oversee criminal prosecutions every day. Immigration law, in contrast, was confined to immigration courts housed within the executive branch of the federal government and staffed by immigration attorneys, immigration judges, and prosecutors employed for many years by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and now the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

With this in mind, Crimmigration Law lays out crimmigration law’s contours. It tracks the legal developments that have created crimmigration law and explains the many ways in which the stark line that once appeared to keep criminal law firmly divided from immigration law has melted away. In doing so, it highlights crimmigration law’s most salient features—its ability to substantially raise the stakes of criminal prosecutions by dramatically expanding the list of crimes that can result in removal from the United States, its willingness to freely rely on crimes that apply only to migrants, and its vast dependence on detention as a means of policing immigration law.

Crimmigration law is simply too new to have gained widespread recognition until the last few years. Several recent law enforcement trends and judicial decisions, including U.S. Supreme Court cases, have drastically changed the legal landscape such that, today, crimmigration is developing into a distinct field of law and a palpable feature of law enforcement in communities throughout the country.

This book is intended to provide readers with a fundamental understanding of this developing area of law. It includes case studies and “problem scenarios” that place the concepts discussed within each chapter in a real-world context in addition to “practice pointers” designed to give crimmigration lawyers and students of crimmigration law tips and techniques to help them implement the tools into their daily practice.

With its comprehensive yet accessible approach, Crimmigration Law is the first book of its kind. 

KJ

August 13, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 10, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Sanctuary Practices in International Perspectives: Migration, Citizenship and Social Movements. Edited by Randy Lippert, Sean Rehaag

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Sanctuary Practices in International Perspectives:  Migration, Citizenship and Social Movements.  Edited by Randy Lippert, Sean Rehaag

Sanctuary Practices in International Perspectives examines the diverse, complex, and mutating practice of providing sanctuary to asylum-seekers. The ancient tradition of church sanctuary underwent a revival in the late 1970s. Immigrants living without legal status and their supporters, first in the United Kingdom, and then in the US, Canada, and elsewhere in Europe, have resorted to sanctuary practices to avoid and resist arrest and deportation by state authorities. Sanctuary appeared amidst a dramatic rise in asylum-seekers arriving in Western countries and a simultaneous escalation in national and international efforts to discourage and control their arrival and presence through myriad means, including deportation. This collection of papers by prominent US, European, Canadian, and Japanese scholars is the first to place contemporary sanctuary practices in international, theoretical, and historical perspective. Moving beyond isolated case studies of sanctuary activities and movements, it reveals sanctuary as a far more complex, varied, theoretically-rich, and institutionally-adaptable set of practices.

For the table of contents, click here.

KJ

August 10, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

At the Movies: Facing Fear

 

In the documentary Facing Fear, we see a former neo-Nazi skinhead and the gay victim of his hate crime meet by chance 25 years later, reconcile, and collaborate in educational presentations.

In this Academy Award-nominated short documentary, worlds collide when a former neo-Nazi skinhead and the gay victim of his hate crime attack meet by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both of their lives. Together, they embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration...and friendship.

FACING FEAR retraces the haunting accounts of the attack and the startling revelation that brought these men together again. Delving deep into their backgrounds, the roots of the ideologies that shape how they handle the reconciliation process are exposed. Self-doubt, anger and fear are just a few of the emotions they struggle through as they come to terms with their unimaginable situation.

KJ

August 4, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Politics of Citizenship and Migration Book Series

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Palgrave MacMillan has announced a new Politics of Citizenship and Migration series.  The series publishes exciting new research in all areas of migration and citizenship studies. Open to multiple approaches, the series considers normative, conceptual, comparative, empirical, historical, methodological, and theoretical works. Versatile, the series publishes single and multi-authored monographs, short-form Pivot books, and edited volumes. Broad in its coverage, the series promotes research on citizenship and migration laws and policies, voluntary and forced migration, rights and obligations, demographic change, diasporas, political membership or behavior, public policy, minorities, transformations in sovereignty and political community, border and security studies, statelessness, naturalization, integration and citizen-making, and subnational, supranational, global, corporate, or multilevel citizenship.

Click the link above about who to contact if you have questions about the series.  For full proposals, please use Palgrave's submission form and adhere to the general Palgrave guidelines.

KJ

August 4, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 3, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Deported: Policing Immigrants, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism by Tanya Golash-Boza

 

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Deported: Policing Immigrants, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism  by Tanya Golash-Boza (Author)

The United States currently is deporting more people than ever before: 4 million people have been deported since 1997 –twice as many as all people deported prior to 1996. There is a disturbing pattern in the population deported: 97% of deportees are sent to Latin America or the Caribbean, and 88% are men, many of whom were originally detained through the U.S. criminal justice system. Weaving together hard-hitting critique and moving first-person testimonials, Deported tells the intimate stories of people caught in an immigration law enforcement dragnet that serves the aims of global capitalism.

Tanya Golash-Boza uses the stories of 147 of these deportees to explore the racialized and gendered dimensions of mass deportation in the United States, showing how this crisis is embedded in economic restructuring, neoliberal reforms, and the disproportionate criminalization of black and Latino men. In the United States, outsourcing creates service sector jobs and more of a need for the unskilled jobs that attract immigrants looking for new opportunities, but it also leads to deindustrialization, decline in urban communities, and, consequently, heavy policing. Many immigrants are exposed to the same racial profiling and policing as native-born blacks and Latinos. Unlike the native-born, though, when immigrants enter the criminal justice system, deportation is often their only way out. Ultimately, Golash-Boza argues that deportation has become a state strategy of social control, both in the United States and in the many countries that receive deportees.

KJ

August 3, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 31, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Law and Economics of Immigration Edited by Howard F. Chang

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Law and Economics of Immigration Edited by Howard F. Chang

This volume compiles influential and diverse readings on the timely subject of immigration. This collection includes work published by leading economists, as well as a number of important contributions made by influential legal scholars, with a focus on economic issues that are salient in debates over immigration policy. Professor Chang’s introduction not only explains the contribution that each reading makes to our understanding of immigration, but also surveys the literature more broadly, putting the selected readings in context.

This volume compiles influential and diverse readings on the timely subject of immigration. This collection includes work published by leading economists, as well as a number of important contributions made by influential legal scholars, with a focus on economic issues that are salient in debates over immigration policy. Professor Chang’s introduction not only explains the contribution that each reading makes to our understanding of immigration, but also surveys the literature more broadly, putting the selected readings in context.              

           
Contributors include: G. Borjas, A. Bradford, D. Card, A. Cox, G. Hanson, G. Ottaviano, G. Peri, E. Posner, A. Sykes, and M. Trebilcock.
 
KJ 

July 31, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Announcing The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

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Did you know that five of America's past six Nobel laureates in literature have been foreign-born? Immigrants have always been a driving force behind our culture and, through literature especially, our sense of what it means to be American. Restless Books is proud to help foster the careers of first-time immigrant authors and bring their stories into the national conversation with The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.

KJ

July 29, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Vicky Yau: A Review of Undocumented by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Undocumented 

In Undocumented, Dan-el Padilla Peralta tells of his childhood and young adulthood in Undocumented, serves as a reminder of the perseverance and determination of immigrants, trying to attain the illusive “American Dream.” Through Padilla Peralta’s anecdotes, we (readers) are reminded of the many aspects of the American Dream. First, that its definition is entirely subjective. Second, that many immigrant parents seem to be a different breed of humans; they seem to have unbridled perseverance, courage, determination, selflessness, (and a whole slew of similar adjectives that I won’t list at the moment) in the pursuit of their American Dream. Which circles back to the idea that the definition of the American Dream is entirely subjective.

Dan-el Padilla Peralta arrived in New York City from the Dominican Republic with his father and mother on visitors’ visas. The difficulties of his mother’s pregnancy had forced the family to travel to the U.S. to seek advanced medical aid.  After successfully giving birth to his younger brother Yando. Dan-el’s mother, Maria decided she wanted to raise her two sons in America. She believed the American educational system and civil laws provided her sons with a safe and opportune environment to reach their intellectual potential. This was her American Dream, to provide her sons with their best chance at success.

In order to realize her American Dream, she decided to remain in the U.S, despite having to be a single mother (the boys’ father ultimately returned to the Dominican Republic), who’s visa, along with Dan-el’s had expired. The lack of legal status prevented her from securing employment, which brought financial difficulties. Through the years, she struggled to feed her growing son and provide a safe home. Padilla Peralta describes a series of nights when dinner merely consisted of rice and small pieces of chicken. And then he writes, “On one of those nights, I noticed that Mom wasn’t eating” (27). The family’s financial challenges also forced them to seek refuge with the city’s homeless shelter system. Padilla Peralta describes the filth of the environment, so unsafe that it plagued his family with illnesses, from tuberculosis to severe asthma. Despite all the aforementioned challenges (and many more not discussed here), Maria held on to her American Dream, to see her sons succeed academically in an environment safe from her political enemies in the Dominican Republic.

As for Dan-el, it can be argued his American Dream was to reach his fullest potential for life as a whole. I think he wanted to fulfill his academic potential as much for himself, as for his mother. And in the face of legal, financial, and societal adversity, Dan-el’s admissions into Prep-for-Prep (the prestigious NYC summer academic program for outstanding students), Collegiate, Princeton, Oxford, and Stanford certainly provided an example to the world that immigration, financial, and societal status can not, and should not be an excuse for not reaching one’s academic potential.   But, perhaps above all else, his story provides a glimpse into a rather veiled world of countless students and families in similar situations. He writes in the epilogue, that his conversations with undocumented students over the years have “reinforced [his] conviction that [the] community of DREAMers is uniquely talented, gifted, bursting with desire and ambition” (296). In telling his story, Padilla Peralta is telling the increasingly suspicious American public that this country’s unyieldingly stiff immigration policies not only inhibit these individuals from reaching their highest potential, but they are also preventing the infiltration of talents that can only improve America in so many ways.

Suffice to say, individuals of Dan-el’s intellectual caliber are rare, not just amongst immigrants, but among the human population in general. But Dan-el’s story and his testimonial that there are so many students like him, proves that they are out there, “eager… to contribute to American society; to lend [their] hands and [their] feet to its economy, [their] minds to its intellectual product” (296). By holding onto the rigid and unjust immigration laws that continue to haunt the lives of the undocumented, we, as a country are not only being hypocritical to our self-portrayal as a country of “inclusivity and diversity” (296), a “melting pot” as we so proudly call ourselves, but we are turning away the talents that continue to put us at the forefront of international prestige.

Dan-el Padilla Peralta’s story-telling was captivating and is a novel that can be consumed by academics and the general public alike. Many parts tugged at my heartstrings, while other parts evoked quiet chuckles. I think so many Americans lead lives whose paths never (knowingly at least) cross with someone like Dan-el. Instead, we are fed with the most horrific stories of undocumented immigrants that pervade the newspapers. But through Undocumented, the general American public can gain a more realistic portrayal of undocumented immigrants and their merits that many are so quick to wave away.

Vicky Yau is a rising second year law student at UC Davis School of Law.

July 22, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 10, 2015

From the Bookshelves: The Human Right to Citizenship: A Slippery Concept by Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann and Margaret Walton-Roberts, Editors

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The Human Right to Citizenship:  A Slippery Concept by Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann and Margaret Walton-Roberts, Editors, Jun 2015.  A volume in the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights series

In principle, no human individual should be rendered stateless: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that the right to have or change citizenship cannot be denied. In practice, the legal claim of citizenship is a slippery concept that can be manipulated to serve state interests. On a spectrum from those who enjoy the legal and social benefits of citizenship to those whose right to nationality is outright refused, people with many kinds of status live in various degrees of precariousness within states that cannot or will not protect them. These include documented and undocumented migrants as well as conventional refugees and asylum seekers living in various degrees of uncertainty. Vulnerable populations such as ethnic minorities and women and children may find that de jure citizenship rights are undermined by de facto restrictions on their access, mobility, or security.

The Human Right to Citizenship provides an accessible overview of citizenship regimes around the globe, focusing on empirical cases of denied or weakened legal rights. Exploring the legal and social implications of specific national contexts, contributors examine the status of labor migrants in the United States and Canada, the changing definition of citizenship in Nigeria, Germany, India, and Brazil, and the rights of ethnic groups including Palestinians, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Bangladeshi migrants to India, and Roma in Europe. Other chapters consider children's rights to citizenship, multiple citizenships, and unwanted citizenships.

With a broad geographical scope, this volume provides a wide-ranging theoretical and legal framework to understand the particular ambiguities, paradoxes, and evolutions of citizenship regimes in the twenty-first century.

Contributors: Michal Baer, Kristy A. Belton, Jacqueline Bhabha, Thomas Faist, Jenna Hennebry, Nancy Hiemstra, Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Audrey Macklin, Margareta Matache, Janet McLaughlin, Carolina Moulin, Alison Mountz, Helen O'Nions, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Sujata Ramachandran, Kim Rygiel, Nasir Uddin, Margaret Walton-Roberts, David S. Weissbrodt.

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Margaret Walton-Roberts is Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. 

KJ

July 10, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Freedom for All: An Attorney's Guide to Fighting Human Trafficking by Kavitha Sreeharsha and Kelly Hyland

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Freedom for All: An Attorney's Guide to Fighting Human Trafficking by Kavitha Sreeharsha and Kelly Hyland, American Bar Association 2015, 254 Pages2015, 254 pages

Of particular interest to attorneys and students in criminal, corporate, employment, immigration, international, and public interest law. A practical introduction to human trafficking and what you can do in your practice area. Human trafficking is the reprehensible practice of physically or psychologically compelling an individual to work or provide commercial sexual services. An estimated 21-30 million people are currently enslaved worldwide, with fewer than one percent of these individuals ever identified. Attorneys have the much-needed skills, clientele, and positions to help shrink this alarming gap, by integrating identification, services and prevention strategies into their respective practices.

Freedom for All demonstrates to attorneys across multiple practice areas how human trafficking intersects with their daily practice, how their skills translate, and how they can easily begin to integrate anti-trafficking into their work. It is as much a practical introduction to any student or practicing attorney as it is a lay of the land of current anti-trafficking legal efforts. The book also highlights the important contributions of numerous attorneys and exciting nascent developments.

Whether criminal, corporate, employment, immigration, international or public interest, now is the moment to develop areas of the law, employ creative arguments and thinking, and implement new policies and programs. Efforts at all levels are sorely needed to increase identification, services and prevention - to make a true difference in the lives of trafficked persons. If you have ever asked yourself “What can I do?” Freedom for All gives you the answer.

KJ

July 9, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Latino Heartland: Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest by Sujey Vega

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Latino Heartland:  Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest by Sujey Vega, NYU Press, July 2015

National immigration debates have thrust both opponents of immigration and immigrant rights supporters into the news. But what happens once the rallies end and the banners come down? What is daily life like for Latinos who have been presented nationally as “terrorists, drug smugglers, alien gangs, and violent criminals”?

Latino Heartland offers an ethnography of the Latino and non-Latino residents of a small Indiana town, showing how national debate pitted neighbor against neighbor—and the strategies some used to combat such animosity. It conveys the lived impact of divisive political rhetoric on immigration and how race, gender, class, and ethnicity inform community belonging in the twenty-first century. Latino Heartland illuminates how community membership was determined yet simultaneously re-made by those struggling to widen the scope of who was imagined as a legitimate resident citizen of this Midwestern space. The volume draws on interviews with Latinos—both new immigrants and long-standing U.S. citizens—and whites, as well as African Americans, to provide a sense of the racial dynamics in play as immigrants asserted their right to belong to the community. Latino Hoosiers asserted a right to redefine what belonging meant within their homes, at their spaces of worship, and in the public eye. Through daily acts of ethnic belonging, Spanish-speaking residents navigated their own sense of community that did not require that they abandon their difference just to be accepted.

In Latino Heartland, Sujey Vega addresses the politics of immigration, showing us how increasingly diverse towns can work toward embracing their complexity.

Sujey Vega is Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University.

KJ

July 8, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

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Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta Edited by Virginia Smith Younce

An undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class

Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el’s father returned home. But Dan-el’s courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons.

Without papers, she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city’s homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el’s only refuge was the meager library. There he met Jeff, a young volunteer from a wealthy family. Jeff was immediately struck by Dan-el’s passion for books and learning. With Jeff’s help, Dan-el was accepted on scholarship to Collegiate, the oldest private school in the country.

There, Dan-el thrived. Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated these two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class.

From Collegiate, Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived, and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian’s traditional address in Latin at his commencement.

Undocumented is a classic story of the triumph of the human spirit. It also is the perfect cri de coeur for the debate on comprehensive immigration reform.

KJ

July 7, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 6, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Responding to Human Trafficking Sex, Gender, and Culture in the Law by Alicia W. Peters

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Responding to Human Trafficking Sex, Gender, and Culture in the Law by Alicia W. Peters

Signed into law in 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defined the crime of human trafficking and brought attention to an issue previously unknown to most Americans. But while human trafficking is widely considered a serious and despicable crime, there has been far less consensus as to how to approach the problem—owing in part to a pervasive emphasis on forced prostitution that overshadows repugnant practices in other labor sectors affecting vulnerable populations. Responding to Human Trafficking examines the ways in which cultural perceptions of sexual exploitation and victimhood inform the drafting, interpretation, and implementation of U.S. antitrafficking law, as well as the law's effects on trafficking victims. Drawing from interviews with social workers and case managers, attorneys, investigators, and government administrators as well as trafficked persons, Alicia W. Peters explores how cultural and symbolic frameworks regarding sex, gender, and victimization were incorporated into the drafting of the TVPA and have been replicated through the interpretation and implementation of the law.

Tracing the path of the TVPA over the course of nearly a decade, Responding to Human Trafficking reveals the profound gaps in understanding that pervade implementation as service providers and criminal justice authorities strive to collaborate and perform their duties. Ultimately, this sensitive ethnography sheds light on the complex and wide-ranging effects of the TVPA on the victims it was designed to protect.

Alicia W. Peters teaches in the Department of Society, Culture, and Languages and the Program in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of New England.

KJ

July 6, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Binational Human Rights: The U.S.-Mexico Experience by William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller, Editors

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 Binational Human Rights:  The U.S.-Mexico Experience by William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller, Editors.  A volume in the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights series

Mexico ranks highly on many of the measures that have proven significant for creating a positive human rights record, including democratization, good health and life expectancy, and engagement in the global economy. Yet the nation's most vulnerable populations suffer human rights abuses on a large scale, such as gruesome killings in the Mexican drug war, decades of violent feminicide, migrant deaths in the U.S. desert, and the ongoing effects of the failed detention and deportation system in the States. Some atrocities have received extensive and sensational coverage, while others have become routine or simply ignored by national and international media. Binational Human Rights examines both well-known and understudied instances of human rights crises in Mexico, arguing that these abuses must be understood not just within the context of Mexican policies but in relation to the actions or inactions of other nations—particularly the United States.

The United States and Mexico share the longest border in the world between a developed and a developing nation; the relationship between the two nations is complex, varied, and constantly changing, but the policies of each directly affect the human rights situation across the border. Binational Human Rights brings together leading scholars and human rights activists from the United States and Mexico to explain the mechanisms by which a perfect storm of structural and policy factors on both sides has led to such widespread human rights abuses. Through ethnography, interviews, and legal and economic analysis, contributors shed new light on the feminicides in Ciudad Juárez, the drug war, and the plight of migrants from Central America and Mexico to the United States. The authors make clear that substantial rhetorical and structural shifts in binational policies are necessary to significantly improve human rights.

Contributors: Alejandro Anaya Muñoz, Luis Alfredo Arriola Vega, Timothy J. Dunn, Miguel Escobar-Valdez, Clara Jusidman, Maureen Meyer, Carol Mueller, Julie A. Murphy Erfani, William Paul Simmons, Kathleen Staudt, Michelle Téllez.

William Paul Simmons is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona.  Carol Mueller is Professor of Sociology and former Director of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.

KJ

July 5, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)