Sunday, December 4, 2016
From the Bookshelves: IMMIGRATION JUDGES AND U.S. ASYLUM POLICY, by Banks Miller, Linda Camp Keith, and Jennifer S. Holmes
IMMIGRATION JUDGES AND U.S. ASYLUM POLICY, by Banks Miller, Linda Camp Keith, and Jennifer S. Holmes (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)
Although there are legal norms to secure the uniform treatment of asylum claims in the United States, anecdotal and empirical evidence suggest that strategic and economic interests also influence asylum outcomes. Previous research has demonstrated considerable variation in how immigration judges decide seemingly similar cases, which implies a host of legal concerns—not the least of which is whether judicial bias is more determinative of the decision to admit those fleeing persecution to the United States than is the merit of the claim. These disparities also raise important policy considerations about how to fix what many perceive to be a broken adjudication system.
With theoretical sophistication and empirical rigor, Immigration Judges and U.S. Asylum Policy investigates more than 500,000 asylum cases that were decided by U.S. immigration judges between 1990 and 2010. The authors find that judges treat certain facts about an asylum applicant more objectively than others: facts determined to be legally relevant tend to be treated similarly by judges of different political ideologies, while facts considered extralegal are treated subjectively. Furthermore, the authors examine how local economic and political conditions as well as congressional reforms have affected outcomes in asylum cases, concluding with a series of policy recommendations aimed at improving the quality of immigration law decision making rather than trying to reduce disparities between decision makers.
Here is a review of the book, which concludes that it is an important contribution to the literature.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Immigration Article of the Day: The U Visa's Failed Promise for Survivors of Domestic Violence by Natalie Nanasi
This article posits that this marginalization of immigrant victims’ interest should have been foreseen, as U visa requirements are analogous to other mandatory interventions in cases of domestic violence that have disempowered and destabilized survivors, particularly poor women of color. In tracing the history of the public response to domestic violence, from the time when spousal abuse was ignored or condoned to the overcorrection that has led to compulsory state involvement in women’s lives, it becomes clear that the U visa has perpetuated the swing of the pendulum away from victim autonomy and toward an aggressive criminal justice response to domestic violence. This article details why such a shift is particularly damaging for immigrant survivors – due to language barriers, complicated relationships with police, familial ties and economic constraints – and proposes novel solutions that mitigate the harmful effects of the U visa certification requirement and break away from ineffective conventions surrounding assistance for survivors of domestic violence.
From the Bookshelves: Undocumented Immigrants in an Era of Arbitrary Law: The Flight and the Plight of People Deemed 'Illegal' by Robert F. Barsky
This book describes the experiences of undocumented migrants, all around the world, bringing to life the challenges they face from the moment they consider leaving their country of origin, until the time they are deported back to it. Drawing on a broad array of academic studies, including law, interpretation and translation studies, border studies, human rights, communication, critical discourse analysis and sociology, Robert Barsky argues that the arrays of actions that are taken against undocumented migrants are often arbitrary, and exercised by an array of officials who can and do exercise considerable discretion, both positive and negative.
Employing insights from a decade-long research project, Barsky also finds that every stop along the migrant’s pathway into, and inside of, the host country is strewn with language issues, relating to intercultural communication, interpretation, gossip, hearsay, and the challenges of peddling of linguistic wares in the social discourse marketplace. These language issues are almost always impediments to anodyne or productive interactions with host country officials, particularly on the "front-lines" where migrants encounter border patrol and law enforcement officers without adequate means of communicating their situation or understanding their rights. Since undocumented people are categorized as ‘illegal’, they can be subjected to abuse and exploitation by host country officials, who can choose to either tolerate or punish them on the basis of unpredictable, changeable, and even illusory or "arbitrary" laws and regulations.
Citing experts at every level of the undocumented immigrant apparatuses worldwide, from public defenders to interpreters, Barsky concludes that the only viable policy to address prevailing abuses and inequalities is to move towards open borders, an approach that would address prevailing issues and, surprisingly, provide security and economic benefits to both host and home countries.
Friday, December 2, 2016
From the Bookshelves: POLICING IMMIGRANTS: LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ON THE FRONT LINES by Doris Marie Provine, Monica W. Varsanyi, Paul G. Lewis, and Scott H. Decker
Policing Immigrants traces the transition of immigration enforcement from a traditionally federal power exercised primarily near the US borders to a patchwork system of local policing that extends throughout the country’s interior. Since federal authorities set local law enforcement to the task of bringing suspected illegal immigrants to the federal government’s attention, local responses have varied. While some localities have resisted the work, others have aggressively sought out unauthorized immigrants, often seeking to further their own objectives by putting their own stamp on immigration policing. Tellingly, how a community responds can best be predicted not by conditions like crime rates or the state of the local economy but rather by the level of conservatism among local voters. What has resulted, the authors argue, is a system that is neither just nor effective—one that threatens the core crime-fighting mission of policing by promoting racial profiling, creating fear in immigrant communities, and undermining the critical community-based function of local policing.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Immigration Article of the Day: Chinese Immigrants in the United States: New Issues and Challenges by Xiaochu Hu
Chinese Immigrants in the United States: New Issues and Challenges by Xiaochu Hu, University of the District of Columbia; George Mason University - School of Public Policy, October 2, 2016 People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration. [4 Volumes]. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Greenwood (2016)
Abstract: This chapter aims at an overall portrait of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. using the most update data and information, identifying relevant literature and research sources, filling in the issues of China-born immigrants in the U.S. that the previous literature hasn’t mentioned, as well as pointing out relatively new phenomenon and discussing the emerging challenges.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
New American Undergraduates: Enrollment Trends and Age at Arrival of Immigrant and Second-Generation Students
This National Center for Educational Statistics Statistics in Brief profiles the demographic and enrollment characteristics of New Americans (undergraduates who are immigrants or children of immigrants). Based on data from the 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12), the report examines how the proportions of immigrants (first generation) and children of immigrants (second generation) in postsecondary education have changed over time and compares the demographic characteristics, academic preparation, and postsecondary enrollment of these New Americans with other undergraduates (third generation or higher). The core analysis compares the demographic characteristics, academic preparation, and enrollment characteristics of New American students with a focus on Asian and Hispanic undergraduates. The report also examines immigrant students’ age at arrival in the United States and its association with their academic preparation and enrollment.
Immigration Article of the Day: Framing for a New Transnational Legal Order: The Case of Human Trafficking by Paulette Lloyd and Beth A. Simmons
Framing for a New Transnational Legal Order: The Case of Human Trafficking by Paulette Lloyd (Government of the United States of America - Department of State) and Beth A. Simmons University of Pennsylvania Law School 2015 In TRANSNATIONAL LEGAL ORDERS, ed. Terence C. Halliday and Gregory Shaffer, Cambridge 2015
Abstract: How does transnational legal order emerge, develop and solidify? This chapter focuses on how and why actors come to define an issue as one requiring transnational legal intervention of a specific kind. Specifically, we focus on how and why states have increasingly constructed and acceded to international legal norms relating to human trafficking. Empirically, human trafficking has been on the international and transnational agenda for nearly a century. However, relatively recently – and fairly swiftly in the 2000s – governments have committed themselves to criminalize human trafficking in international as well as regional and domestic law. Our paper tries to explain this process of norm convergence. We hypothesize that swift convergence on norms against human trafficking and on a particular legal solution – criminalization – is the result of a specific set of conditions related to globalization and the collapse of the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. We argue that a broad coalition of states had much to gain by choosing a prosecutorial model over one that makes human rights or victim protection its top priority. We explore the framing of human trafficking through computerized textual analysis of United Nations resolutions – the central forum for debates over the nature of human trafficking and what to do about it. We look for evidence of how the framing of human trafficking has shifted over time, and how the normative pressure as reflected in these documents has waxed and waned. We will argue that a binding legal instrument became possible because of the normative convergence solidified by linking human trafficking to transnational crime more generally.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
From the Bookshelves: Fair Labelling and the Dilemma of Prosecuting Gender-Based Crimes at the International Criminal Tribunals by Hilmi M. Zawati
Fair Labelling and the Dilemma of Prosecuting Gender-Based Crimes at the International Criminal Tribunals by Hilmi M. Zawati (Oxford University Press)
- The first legal analysis to focus on the dilemma of prosecuting and punishing wartime gender-based crimes in the statutory laws of the international criminal tribunals and the ICC in the context of fair labelling
- Provides a clear legal argument, theoretical structure, and carefully articulated points about the principle of fair labelling and its significance
- Discusses the concept of proportionality between crime and punishment to enable judicial bodies to deliver consistent verdicts and punishments
- Contains an extensive selected bibliography to help the reader easily refer to the fundamental sources of arguments, and to foster further research
Saturday, November 12, 2016
From the Bookshelves: White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics by Marisa Abrajano & Zoltan L. Hajnal
White Backlash provides an authoritative assessment of how immigration is reshaping the politics of the nation. Using an array of data and analysis, Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan Hajnal show that fears about immigration fundamentally influence white Americans' core political identities, policy preferences, and electoral choices, and that these concerns are at the heart of a large-scale defection of whites from the Democratic to the Republican Party.
Abrajano and Hajnal demonstrate that this political backlash has disquieting implications for the future of race relations in America. White Americans' concerns about Latinos and immigration have led to support for policies that are less generous and more punitive and that conflict with the preferences of much of the immigrant population. America's growing racial and ethnic diversity is leading to a greater racial divide in politics. As whites move to the right of the political spectrum, racial and ethnic minorities generally support the left. Racial divisions in partisanship and voting, as the authors indicate, now outweigh divisions by class, age, gender, and other demographic measures.
White Backlash raises critical questions and concerns about how political beliefs and future elections will change the fate of America's immigrants and minorities, and their relationship with the rest of the nation.
Does this book help explain the election of President Trump?
Thursday, November 3, 2016
From the Bookshelves: No Borders: The Politics of Immigration Control and Resistance by Natasha King
The Politics of Immigration Control and Resistance
From the streets of Calais to the borders of Melilla, Evros and the United States, the slogan 'No borders!' is a thread connecting a multitude of different struggles for the freedom to move and to stay. But what does it mean to make this slogan a reality?
Drawing on the author's extensive research in Greece and Calais, as well as a decade campaigning for migrant rights, Natasha King explores the different forms of activism that have emerged in the struggle against border controls, and the dilemmas these activists face in translating their principles into practice.
Wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, No Borders constitutes vital reading for anyone interested in how we make radical alternatives to the state a genuine possibility for our times, and raises crucial questions on the nature of resistance.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
The Ethics and Politics of Immigration Core Issues and Emerging Trends Edited by Alex Sager | Pages 284 | Size 9.00 x 6.00 . This volume provides an overview of the main themes and developments in the ethics of immigration.
The Ethics and Politics of Immigration provides an overview of the central topics in the ethics of immigration with contributions from scholars who have shaped the terms of debate and who are moving the discussion forward in exciting directions.
This book is unique in providing an overview of how the field has developed over the last twenty years in political philosophy and political theory.
The essays in this book cover issues to do with open borders, admissions policies, refugee protection and the regulation of labor migration. The book also includes coverage of matters concerning integration, inclusion, and legalization. It goes on to explore human trafficking and smuggling and the immigrant detention.
The book concludes with four topics that promise to move immigration ethics in new directions: philosophical objections to states giving preference to skilled laborers; the implications of gender and care ethics; the incorporation of the philosophy of race; and how the cognitive bias of methodological nationalism affects the discussion.
An Introduction to the Ethics of Immigration, Alex Sager /
Part I: Admissions /
The Open Borders Debate, Amy Reed-Sandoval /
Exclusion, Discretion, and Justice, Michael Blake /
The Place of Persecution and State Action in Refugee Protection, Matthew Lister /
Caring Relations and Family Migration Schemes, Caleb Yong /
Temporary Labour Migration and Global Inequality, Patti Tamara Lenard /
Part II: Enforcement and Its Effects /
The Difference That Detention Makes: Reconceptualizing the Boundaries of the Normative Debate on Immigration Control, Stephanie J. Silverman /
Rethinking Consent in Trafficking and Smuggling, Valeria Ottonelli and Tiziana Torresi /
Part III: Integration and Inclusion /
Civic Integration: The Acceptable Face of Assimilation?, Iseult Honohan /
Arguments for Regularization, Adam Hosein /
Part IV: New Directions for the Philosophy of Immigration /
Migration and Feminist Care Ethics, Parvati Raghuram /
Illegal: White Supremacy and Immigration Status, Jose Jorge Mendoza /
Methodological Nationalism and the 'Brain Drain', Alex Sager /
Notes on Contributors /
Monday, October 31, 2016
From the Bookshelves: Citizenship, Alienage, and the Modern Constitutional State: A Gendered History by Helen Irving
To have a nationality is a human right. But between the nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, virtually every country in the world adopted laws that stripped citizenship from women who married foreign men. Despite the resulting hardships and even statelessness experienced by married women, it took until 1957 for the international community to condemn the practice, with the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Nationality of Married Women. Citizenship, Alienage, and the Modern Constitutional State tells the important yet neglected story of marital denaturalization from a comparative perspective. Examining denaturalization laws and their impact on women around the world, with a focus on Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States, it advances a concept of citizenship as profoundly personal and existential. In doing so, it sheds light on both a specific chapter of legal history and the theory of citizenship in general.
Helen Irving is a Professor at the University of Sydney Faculty of Law and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and of the Australian Academy of Law. She has published widely on constitutional law, history, citizenship, most recently with a particular focus on gender. Her 2008 book, Gender and the Constitution, was published by Cambridge University Press.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Born to a Japanese mother and a white American father, Zen Buddhist priest and bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki tells the story of her upbringing in her first memoir, a childhood that was shaped by being a half-Japanese American in the wake of World War II.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Colonel Lágrimas by Carlos Fonseca
Carlos Fonseca was born in Costa Rica in 1987 and grew up in Puerto Rico before moving north to study at Stanford and Princeton, and then to England to teach at Cambridge. The story of the real-life mathematician he tells in his debut novel maps the global 20th century: from October Revolution Russia to anarchic 1920s Mexico, from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam, all the way back to France and from there to the Caribbean islands.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The Face: Strangers on a Pier by Tash Aw
Born in Taipei to Malaysian parents, Tash Aw grew up in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Britain. In his first memoir, the twice-Booker Prize-nominated novelist explores the culture of silence about the past, which made his parents reticent about discussing the family's history as Chinese immigrants.
Monday, October 24, 2016
In The Face: Cartography of the Void, acclaimed Nigerian-born author and poet Chris Abani has given us a profound and gorgeously wrought short memoir that navigates the stories written upon his own face. Beginning with his early childhood immersed in the Igbo culture of West Africa, Abani unfurls a lushly poetic, insightful, and funny narrative that investigates the roles that race, culture, and language play in fashioning our sense of self.
As Abani so lovingly puts it, he contemplates “all the people who have touched my face, slapped it, punched it, kissed it, washed it, shaved it. All of that human contact must leave some trace, some of the need and anger that motivated that touch. This face is softened by it all. Made supple by all the wonder it has beheld, all the kindness, all the generosity of life.” The Face: Cartography of the Void is a gift to be read, re-read, shared, and treasured, from an author at the height of his artistic powers.
Alternately philosophical, funny, personal, political, and poetic, the short memoirs in The Face series offer unique perspectives from some of our favorite writers.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
The Underground by Hamid Ismailov
After Uzbek author, journalist, and poet Hamid Ismailov was forced into exile when the government declared his work subversive, he emigrated to London, where he now works at the BBC as the Head of the Central Asian Service. His stunning novel The Underground tells the story of a biracial orphan growing up in late-Soviet Moscow.
From the Bookshelves: How to Travel without Seeing: Dispatches from the New Latin America by Andrés Neuman
How to Travel without Seeing: Dispatches from the New Latin America by Andrés Neuman Translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Lawrence A kaleidoscopic, fast-paced tour of Latin America from one of the Spanish-speaking world’s most outstanding writers.
Lamenting not having more time to get to know each of the nineteen countries he visits after winning the prestigious Premio Alfaguara, Andrés Neuman begins to suspect that world travel consists mostly of “not seeing.” But then he realizes that the fleeting nature of his trip provides him with a unique opportunity: touring and comparing every country of Latin America in a single stroke. Neuman writes on the move, generating a kinetic work that is at once puckish and poetic, aphoristic and brimming with curiosity. Even so-called non-places—airports, hotels, taxis—are turned into powerful symbols full of meaning. A dual Argentine-Spanish citizen, he incisively explores cultural identity and nationality, immigration and globalization, history and language, and turbulent current events. Above all, Neuman investigates the artistic lifeblood of Latin America, tackling with gusto not only literary heavyweights such as Bolaño, Vargas Llosa, Lorca, and Galeano, but also an emerging generation of authors and filmmakers whose impact is now making ripples worldwide.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky
The magnum opus from Alejandro Jodorowsky—director of The Holy Mountain, star of Jodorowsky’s Dune, spiritual guru behind Psychomagic and The Way of Tarot, innovator behind classic comics The Incal and Metabarons, and legend of Latin American literature.
There has never been an artist like the polymathic Chilean director, author, and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. For eight decades, he has blazed new trails across a dazzling variety of creative fields. While his psychedelic, visionary films have been celebrated by the likes of John Lennon, Marina Abramovic, and Kanye West, his novels—praised throughout Latin America in the same breath as those of Gabriel García Márquez—have remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Until now.
Where the Bird Sings Best tells the fantastic story of the Jodorowskys’ emigration from Ukraine to Chile amidst the political and cultural upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jodorowsky’s book transforms family history into heroic legend: incestuous beekeepers hide their crime with a living cloak of bees, a czar fakes his own death to live as a hermit amongst the animals, a devout grandfather confides only in the ghost of a wise rabbi, a transgender ballerina with a voracious sexual appetite holds a would-be saint in thrall. Kaleidoscopic, exhilarating, and erotic, Where the Bird Sings Best expands the classic immigration story to mythic proportions.
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.