Monday, October 17, 2016
From the Bookshelves: Cast Away: True Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
Cast Away: True Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
In 2015, more than one million migrants and refugees, most fleeing war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East, attempted to make the perilous journey into Europe. Around three thousand lost their lives as they crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean in rickety boats provided by unscrupulous traffickers, including over seven hundred men, women, and children in a single day in April 2015.
In one of the first works of narrative nonfiction on the ongoing refugee crisis and the civil war in Syria, Cast Away describes the agonizing stories and the impossible decisions that migrants have to make as they head toward what they believe is a better life: a pregnant Eritrean woman, four days overdue, chooses to board an obviously unsafe smuggler’s ship to Greece; a father, swimming from a sinking ship, has to decide whether to hold on to one child or let him go to save another.
Veteran journalist Charlotte McDonald-Gibson offers a vivid glimpse of the pressures and hopes that drive individuals to risk their lives. Recalling the work of Katherine Boo and Caroline Moorehead, Cast Away brings to life the human consequences of one of the most urgent humanitarian issues of our time.
Friday, October 14, 2016
From the Bookshelves: Childhood and Migration in Central and North America: Causes, Policies, Practices and Challenges by Karen Musalo, Lisa Frydman, Pablo Ceriani Cernadas
Childhood and Migration in Central Ameria and North America: Causes, Policies, Practices and Challenges by Karen Musalo (University of California Hastings College of the Law), Lisa Frydman (University of California Hastings College of the Law - Center for Gender & Refugee Studies), Pablo Ceriani Cernadas (National University of Lanús - Justice and Human Rights Center) 2015 Musalo, K., Frydman, L., and Cerandas, P. C. (Eds.), Childhood and Migration in Central and North America: Causes, Policies, Practices and Challenges, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), February 2015 UC Hastings Research Paper No.211
Abstract: Human Rights, Children, and Migration results from a two-year, multi-partner, multi-national and regional investigation into the treatment of Honduran, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Mexican, and United States citizen and permanent resident children affected by migration. The book illuminates the overall gaps in protection and in guaranteeing rights for children and adolescents affected by migration. It examines the root causes of children and family migration in the region and its recent spike, and explores whether conditions and policies in children’s countries of origin, transit countries, and destination countries in the region protect their best interests and ensure their rights.
It also assesses whether host or destination countries effectively integrate children and adolescents affected by migration, and whether existing programs ensure—on a case-by-case basis—safe and sustainable reintegration of repatriated children and adolescents. Interviews with children and adolescents, parents, and key social and political actors in the five countries studied, combined with the experience of experts working with migrant children and adolescents on a range of issues, form the basis of the book’s findings and recommendations.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
EU Asylum Procedures and the Right to an Effective Remedy by Marcelle Reneman (now in paperback)
Adequate and fair asylum procedures are a precondition for the effective exercise of rights granted to asylum applicants, in particular the prohibition of refoulement. In 1999 the EU Member States decided to work towards a Common European Asylum System. In this context the Procedures Directive was adopted in 2005 and recast in 2013. This directive provides for important procedural guarantees for asylum applicants, but also leaves much discretion to the EU Member States to design their own asylum procedures. This book examines the meaning of the EU right to an effective remedy in terms of the legality and interpretation of the Procedures Directive in regard to several key aspects of asylum procedure: the right to remain on the territory of the Member State, the right to be heard, the standard and burden of proof and evidentiary assessment, judicial review and the use of secret evidence.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Legal Tech News reports that, while some immigrants need significant legal assistance to deal with litigation, removal orders, and even detention, many applicants are relegated to paying steep attorney fees simply to fill out their application forms. These three startups, among others, are helping immigrants steer through the complex waters of immigration law across language barriers and on a budget:
Saturday, October 8, 2016
The two Vice Presidential candidates, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, debated earlier this week. Eva Longoria appears in a video from the Democratic National Committee that posted on Friday in which she takes issue with Mike Pence’s ‘Mexican thing’ comment at the vice presidential debate.
“Governor Pence — we are not a thing,” she says in the video, below. “We are proud American citizens. We are mothers and fathers working for a better future for our kids. And we are children studying hard and dreaming of giving back to the United States that we love.”
In the waning minutes of the debate, Pence responded to one of Tim Kaine’s comments by saying, “You whipped out that Mexican thing again.” Kaine had been referring to comments that Donald Trump made when he announced his presidential candidacy in June, 2015. Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
After the debate, Democrats seized on Pence’s “Mexican thing” comment, with Hillary Clinton’s campaign even acquired ThatMexicanThing.com as a domain name. It directs to her campaign website. #Thatmexicanthing also became a trending hashtag on Twitter.
“#Thatmexicanthing is going to decide who’s going to be the next President. No one can make it to the WH without the Latino vote. You’ll see,” Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The Longoria video is not just an effort to keep the post-debate story alive, but to mobilize voter registration. In the video, she directs viewers where to register.
Longoria spoke at the Democratic National Convention in July, and said that Trump was “insulting American families” with his comments.
Pence's comments have attracted considerable commentary. For an example, see Julia Arce's piece on Refinery 29 ("I Am Whipping Out My "Mexican Thing" — & You Should, Too."). Arce is author of a book:
Friday, October 7, 2016
Vanity Fair has a story on a possible new television trend -- immigration stories on television.
Diane Guerrero , who has had supporting roles in Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, will star in an upcoming drama about immigration on CBS. The show is based on Guerrero's memoir, In the Country We Love, which details her immigration experiences. When she was 14, Guerrero's parents were deported to Colombia. Guerrero, who was born in the United States, remained here and was raised by friends and family. Now she is an outspoken advocate for immigration reform
The television show will revolve around a corporate attorney with a similar past who decides to start handling pro-bono cases for undocumented immigrants, Deadline reports.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
From the Bookshelves: City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York by Tyler Anbinder
With more than three million foreign-born residents today, New York has been America’s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries, a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. These migrants have brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city, and from there to the entire country. More immigrants have come to New York than all other entry points combined.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Mexicans meet separated family members at the US-Mexico border fence in Tijuana. Photo: John Moore / Getty Images
A major new exploration of the refugee crisis, focusing on how borders are formed and policed
Forty thousand people died trying to cross international borders in the past decade, with the high-profile deaths along the shores of Europe only accounting for half of the grisly total.
Reece Jones argues that these deaths are not exceptional, but rather the result of state attempts to contain populations and control access to resources and opportunities. “We may live in an era of globalization,” he writes, “but much of the world is increasingly focused on limiting the free movement of people.”
In Violent Borders, Jones crosses the migrant trails of the world, documenting the billions of dollars spent on border security projects and their dire consequences for countless millions. While the poor are restricted by the lottery of birth to slum dwellings in the aftershocks of decolonization, the wealthy travel without constraint, exploiting pools of cheap labor and lax environmental regulations. With the growth of borders and resource enclosures, the deaths of migrants in search of a better life are intimately connected to climate change, environmental degradation, and the growth of global wealth inequality.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
“They Were Scattered Everywhere, All Drowning.” How a Lampedusa Optician Became a Hero of the Migrant Crisis
A boat carrying nearly 600 migrants capsizes in the Mediterranean in May 2016. 562 were rescued and 5 died. Photo: Italian Navy
Emma Jane Kirby interviews an optician who dramatically rescued many migrants on the high seas. She is the author of the book, The Optician of Lampedusa, which describes itself as "PERHAPS THE MOST DEVASTATING FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNT OF THE REFUGEE CRISIS YOU'LL EVER READ."
Here is an abstract of the book:
The only optician on the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean is an ordinary man in his fifties, who used to be indifferent to the fate of the thousands of refugees landing on the coast of the Italian island. One day in the fall of 2013, the unimaginable scale of the tragedy became clear to him, and it changed him forever: as he was out boating with some friends, he encountered hundreds of men, women and children drowning in the aftermath of a shipwreck. The Optician and his seven friends managed to save 47 people (his boat was designed to hold ten people). Hundreds died. This is a poignant and unforgettable account about the awakening of conscience: more than that, it brings home the reality of an ongoing refugee crisis that has resulted in one of the most massive migrations in human history.
More than 360 people died in the disaster off the coast of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013. The original interview with Carmine Menna, the basis for this book, can be heard here.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
From the Bookshelves: Rightlessness Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II by A. Naomi Paik
In this bold book, A. Naomi Paik grapples with the history of U.S. prison camps that have confined people outside the boundaries of legal and civil rights. Removed from the social and political communities that would guarantee fundamental legal protections, these detainees are effectively rightless, stripped of the right even to have rights. Rightless people thus expose an essential paradox: while the United States purports to champion inalienable rights at home and internationally, it has built its global power in part by creating a regime of imprisonment that places certain populations perceived as threats beyond rights. The United States' status as the guardian of rights coincides with, indeed depends on, its creation of rightlessness.
Yet rightless people are not silent. Drawing from an expansive testimonial archive of legal proceedings, truth commission records, poetry, and experimental video, Paik shows how rightless people use their imprisonment to protest U.S. state violence. She examines demands for redress by Japanese Americans interned during World War II, testimonies of HIV-positive Haitian refugees detained at Guantánamo in the early 1990s, and appeals by Guantánamo’s enemy combatants from the War on Terror. In doing so, she reveals a powerful ongoing contest over the nature and meaning of the law, over civil liberties and global human rights, and over the power of the state in people's lives.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
As part of the launch of the book, Latinos and Criminal Justice: An Encyclopedia, a two-day event on Latina/os and criminal justice is being organized at John Jay College of Criminal Justice for September 21 and 22, 2016. The primary goal of the conference will be the dissemination of the research and accurate information about Latina/os and criminal justice and dispel all-too-popular myths and misconceptions about Latina/os and crime. For conference details, see Download LatinosCJ Conference Poster-Flyer FINAL 2016 .
Latinos and Criminal Justice is a unique compilation of essays and entries provides critical insights into the Latino/a experience with the U.S. criminal justice system.
• Topical essays that provide context to major contemporary issues, such as immigrants and crime, drugs, youth, U.S.-Mexico border crime, policing, and prisons
• Shorter, A–Z entries on a wide range of additional topics
• Extensive bibliographies identifying further readings in the subject area
The first day of the conference will consist of a press briefing (3:30pm – 5:00 pm) to take place at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, located near the John Jay campus, the afternoon of September 21, followed by a reception afterwards (5:00-7:00 pm). A conference will be held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the second day. The news media and a broader audience of scholars, practitioners, activists and students will be invited to hear more in-depth presentations on the topic of Latina/os and criminal justice on this day. Those attending will hear about issues covered in the book and about new and pressing issues related to the topic. The presenters will include some who contributed to the volume and others engaged in various aspects of the Latina/o experience with the U.S. criminal justice system.
The conference on September 22nd will be livestreamed. A link will be available on the John Jay website (www.jjay.cuny.edu) for that purpose.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
From the Bookshelves: Edgar and Brigitte: A German Jewish Passage to America by Rosemarie Bodenheimer
The couple’s encounters with the strange new dynamics of race, religion, and the workplace in their new American home offer a compelling account of the struggles that faced many immigrants with deep German roots. It is also an intimate portrait of a now-vanished German Jewish culture as it played out in the lives of Bodenheimer’s parents and her grandparents from the 1920s to the late 1960s, a story of emigration, assimilation, and the private struggles that accompany those forced shifts in orientation.
The Bodenheimers’ letters and journals offer engaging perspectives into their personal lives that retrospective memories cannot match. Braiding intimate biography together with history and memoir, Edgar and Brigitte will appeal both to historians of the European Jewish diaspora and to readers interested in the struggles and resilience of people whose lives were upended by Hitler.
Friday, September 9, 2016
From the Bookshelves: The 9/11 Generation Youth, Rights, and Solidarity in the War on Terror by Sunaina Marr Maira
Since the attacks of 9/11, the banner of national security has led to intense monitoring of the politics of Muslim and Arab Americans. Young people from these communities have come of age in a time when the question of political engagement is both urgent and fraught.
In The 9/11 Generation, Sunaina Marr Maira uses extensive ethnography to understand the meaning of political subjecthood and mobilization for Arab, South Asian, and Afghan American youth. Maira explores how young people from communities targeted in the War on Terror engage with the “political,” forging coalitions based on new racial and ethnic categories, even while they are under constant scrutiny and surveillance, and organizing around notions of civil rights and human rights. The 9/11 Generation explores the possibilities and pitfalls of rights-based organizing at a moment when the vocabulary of rights and democracy has been used to justify imperial interventions, such as the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maira further reconsiders political solidarity in cross-racial and interfaith alliances at a time when U.S. nationalism is understood as not just multicultural but also post-racial. Throughout, she weaves stories of post-9/11 youth activism through key debates about neoliberal democracy, the “radicalization” of Muslim youth, gender, and humanitarianism.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
We all have heard the words "Build a Wall!"
In the past year or so more and more discriminatory policies have been adopted, like the banning of Chicano Studies In Phoenix or the racist text book that will soon be available in all Texas Schools
This is where our documentary comes in
Viva Los Icons is a documentary by Eduardo A. Tobias that will celebrate the positive contributions of Chicano Art and the importance of Chicano Studies
Viva los Icons is a traveling documentary that follows Jesse Borrego and Adan Hernandez and they teach our youth about the contirbutions of Chicanos in the Arts. It will shed a light into the importance of Chicano Studies and Chicano contributions to our country.
On our Journey to Albuqerque, New Mexico, I decided to ask the question that has been the fuel behind The Chicano movement and this documentary. "What does it mean to be Chicano?" As a young filmmaker from San Antonio, Texas; I have never had the pleasure of being able to identify myself as Mexican, or American. I have been stuck somewhere in the abyss, with no identity.
Growing up, my school textbooks never taught me about the history behind the Chicano civil rights movements, the pride that flows from generation to generation, and the remnants of our culture that still remain through the lands of Aztlan. It has become my mission to further my education through the Chicanos I meet and to use my art to help get their Untold Stories out to the mainstream public.
Our main goal is to enlighten the world on the Chicano Icons that had to endure oppression, which has allowed the youth of today to stand on the shoulders of their Chicano ancestors.
The best way to share stories, is through the ART!
Friday, August 26, 2016
From the It Could Not Have Happened to A Nicer Person Department?
Vanity Fair reports on news from the right. ImmigrationProf has kept readers abreast of Donald Trump's apparent softening on immigration. While Trump has changed his mind about a great many things, one thing until recently has remained constant: an antagonism toward undocumented immigrants. “There’s nothing Trump can do that won’t be forgiven,” the conservative pundit Ann Coulter writes in her latest book, In Trump We Trust, “except change his immigration policies.” It was a sad twist of fate, then, that Trump decided to jettison his controversial plans for mass deportations on the same day that Coulter launched her book. She did not appear pleased: https://twitter.com/charlescwcooke/status/768604546734096385
Sunday, August 21, 2016
A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy
Named one of BuzzFeed’s “Incredible New Books You Need to Read This Summer”
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.
However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.
When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
Imbolo Mbue is a native of Limbe, Cameroon. She holds a B.S. from Rutgers University and an M.A. from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for over a decade, she lives in New York City.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
The practice of sanctuary-giving refuge to the threatened, vulnerable stranger-may be universal among humans. From primate populations to ancient religious traditions to the modern legal institution of asylum, anthropologist Linda Rabben explores the long history of sanctuary and analyzes modern asylum policies in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, contrasting them with the role that courageous individuals and organizations have played in offering refuge to survivors of torture, persecution, and discrimination. Rabben gives close attention to the mid-2010s refugee crisis in Europe and to Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States.
This wide-ranging, timely, and carefully documented account draws on Rabben's experiences as a human rights advocate as well as her training as an anthropologist. Sanctuary and Asylum will help citizens, professionals, and policy makers take informed and compassionate action.
Linda Rabben is associate research professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Give Refuge to the Stranger: The Past, Present, and Future of Sanctuary and Fierce Legion of Friends: A History of Human Rights Campaigns and Campaigners.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
From the Bookshelves: Strangers in Our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration by David Miller
It is not unusual for people in countries with limited job opportunities and economic resources to want to seek a better life in different lands. This is especially so for those who come from countries where they are treated poorly, discriminated against, or worse. But moving from one country to another in large numbers creates serious problems for receiving countries as well as those sending them.
How should Western democracies respond to the many millions of people who want to settle in their societies? Economists and human rights advocates tend to downplay the considerable cultural and demographic impact of immigration on host societies. Seeking to balance the rights of immigrants with the legitimate concerns of citizens, Strangers in Our Midst brings a bracing dose of realism to this debate. David Miller defends the right of democratic states to control their borders and decide upon the future size, shape, and cultural make-up of their populations.
Reframing immigration as a question of political philosophy, he asks how democracy within a state can be reconciled with the rights of those outside its borders. A just immigration policy must distinguish refugees from economic migrants and determine the rights that immigrants in both categories acquire, once admitted. But being welcomed into a country as a prospective citizen does more than confer benefits: it imposes responsibilities. In Miller’s view, immigrants share with the state an obligation to integrate into their adopted societies, even if it means shedding some cultural baggage from their former home.
Miller has written an important book, one that provides a clear statement of an important prospective. It provides perhaps the best systematic argument for states having the right to set their own immigration policies. Furthermore, by insisting on taking the opinions of the public seriously, Miller leads us to reconsider and reevaluate many views widely held by both theorists of immigration and activists. Yet, the solutions to the problems discussed in the book aren’t clear, and I have tried to give some reason to think that Miller’s preferred solutions aren’t fully plausible. It’s possible that there is no fully satisfactory solution to some of these problems, and we will be left in the end with a degree of ad-hoc balancing. Those seeking to do the weighing of different values, however, would be well served to read Miller’s careful and thoughtful book.
UPDATE (9/7): For another review, click here.
Friday, August 5, 2016
Jennifer Koh posted a link to the 2014 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, which was recently released by the Department of Homeland Security. Over the next week or so, I will highlight some of the data that I find interesting in the 2014 Yearbook.
I first looked at removals, which many immigrant rights advocates claim to be enforced in a discriminatory fashion. Table 41 on page 113 includes statistical information about "Aliens Removed by Criminal Status and Country of Nationality: Fiscal Years 2005 to 2014."
I looked at 2013 and 2014. In 2014, there were 414, 561 removals, a drop from 435,498 in 2013.
In 2014, 167,740 of the removals were for criminal and 246,741 were non-criminal. 403,656, or 97.7 percent, of the removals were from North America. 275,911 were from Mexico, 26,685 from El Salvador, 54,153 from Guatemala, and 40, 560 from Honduras; these four countries constitute 91.2 percent of the total persons removed.
It is hard to declare definitively that the removal system is skewed without knowing the statistics about noncitizens who might be eligible for removal. Still, the fact that Latinos comprise well over 90 percent of removals, and constitute significantly smaller percentages of all lawful permanent resident and undocumented immigrant populations in the United States, should make us pause to wonder why Latinos are overrepresented in removals.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Starting from the question of how international law may protect the Pacific people from climate change, this book represents the original development of the international hybrid law concept, as the basic legal study of climate change from the environmental, human rights and refugee perspectives. From 2007 to 2012, the research conducted in the Pacific demonstrated that the most affected people by the gaps of international law are the vulnerable ones whose adaptation options are limited or exhausted, and are facing displacement. In this individual context of the Pacific islands, the book analysis the most important documents, relevant institutions and (political) actors, offering the readers, including students, the most appropriate legal analysis of the climate change impacts in the Pacific. The 2015 Paris Agreement, by recognizing human rights and human mobility in the context of climate change, confirms the hybrid legal approach described in this book as one of the future solutions in identifying and addressing international legal gaps by placing the people affected by climate change in the center of the discussion.
Dr. Cosmin Corendea works as Associate Academic Officer/Legal Expert at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security.