Monday, November 11, 2013
A brief bit of channel surfing reminds us all that it is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Besides the many documentaries, a television movie movie Killing Kennedy feaured Rob Lowe, who took a significant moral step up from the character he played (Alex) in the B film Bad Influence (1990), premiered last night.
In all the hoopla, I wish that we might hear more about John F. Kennedy's book, A Nation of Immigrants. Throughout his presidency, Kennedy was passionate about immigration reform. He believed that America is a nation of people who value both tradition and the exploration of new frontiers, people who deserve the freedom to build better lives for themselves in their adopted homeland. As continued debates on immigration reform engulf the nation, A Nation of Immigrants is as timely as ever.
The book was originally written by Kennedy in 1958, while he was still a senator, as part of the Anti-Defamation League's series entitled the One Nation Library. As President, Kennedy called on Congress to undertake a full reevaluation of the U.S. immigration laws and began to revise the book. In August 1963, excerpts of the 1958 pamphlet were published in the New York Times Magazine. President Kennedy was assassinated before completing the revision, but the book was post-humously published in 1964 with an introduction by Robert F. Kennedy. In 1965, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1965, which abolished the discriminatory national origins system that Kennedy criticizes. In 2008, the book was reprinted by the Anti-Defamation League.
A Nation of Immigrants contains a short history of immigration in the United States beginning in colonial America, an analysis of the importance immigration has played in American history, and John F. Kennedy's proposals for the liberalization of immigration law. Kennedy had this to say about Mexican immigration:
"Today many of our newcomers are from Mexico & Puerto Rico. We sometimes forget that Puerto Ricans are US citizens by birth & therefore cannot be considered immigrants. Nonetheless, they often receive the same discriminatory treatment and opprobrium that were faced by other waves of newcomers. The same things are said today of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans that were once said of Irish, Italians, Germans and Jews: "They'll never adjust; they can't learn the language; they won't be absorbed."
Perhaps our brightest hope for the future lies in the lessons of the past. As each new wave of immigration has reached America it has been faced with problems, not only the problems that come with making new homes and new jobs, but, more important, the problems of getting along with people of different backgrounds and habits.
Somehow, the difficult adjustments are made and people get down to the tasks of earning a living, raising a family, living with their neighbors, and, in the process, building a nation." (page 31, original edition).
An OnTheIssues.org review of the book says the following about the book:
"This book should be read by every politician involved in the immigration debate, and by every citizen interested in the current immigration debate -- which means it should be read by every American.
It is shocking how little has changed in the 50 years since President Kennedy wrote this book. He wrote it to push for pro-immigration reforms in 1963 -- but the same arguments apply today as applied then. Kennedy cites detailed historical evidence to back his case -- the sort of evidence that immigration opponents routinely ignore. Kennedy's key lesson for today -- which was the same lesson he offered in 1963 -- is the old adage, "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."
Kennedy's core argument is that Americans are all immigrants -- and therefore excluding certain immigrants from certain nations is nothing more than racism. Kennedy explicitly cites Mexicans as targets of such racial preferences -- it's hard to believe that the same issue is still here 50 years later. Some things have improved -- Eastern Europeans are no longer limited as they were until the 1960s; and Asians are no longer entirely excluded as they were until 1952 (p. 45). But for Mexicans, evidently opponents demonized them as much in the 1960 election as in the 2012 election.
Kennedy addresses just about all of the arguments that opponents today still cite. For decades following the 1880s, Kennedy cites, Italians immigrated to America by the millions for purely economic reasons -- which today is the key factor cited in why we should limit Mexican immigration.
Irish immigrants were bashed as mercilessly in the 1920s as Hispanics are bashed today. Kennedy cites the "Know-Nothing Party," which was formed to fight Irish immigration, as evidence of unique hatred of the Irish, since they are the only group to have inspired a political party against them. Kennedy might cite today's Tea Party as the second instance, formed in large part to fight Mexican immigration. Members of the Tea Party with Irish and Italian backgrounds might read those chapters on how their ancestors were discriminated against, before they bash Mexican immigration as harmful to America.
Kennedy cites (pp. 37-40) the first argument made in Congress to stop immigration -- in 1797 (no, that's not a typographical error; that would be on the floor of the United States House of Representatives during the 4th Congress; but the same argument is made in the 112th Congress today). The white male property-owning Anglo Saxon Protestant members of the 4th Congress lost their argument to exclude non-white, non-property-owning, non-Anglo Saxon, non-Protestants in 1797. Because they lost that argument in 1797 and in the two centuries since, we've come a long way -- but we all need to read about our own history to see why they SHOULD have lost then, and why the same arguments SHOULD lose again today, and tomorrow, and for the next two centuries."
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, July 2012
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
A Concise History of the Arabs by John McHugo
From Algeria and Libya to Egypt and Syria, the Arab world commands Western headlines, even as its complex politics and cultures elude the grasp of most Western readers and commentators. Perhaps no other region is so closely linked to contemporary U.S. foreign policy, and nowhere else does the unfolding of events have such significant consequences for America.
A Concise History of the Arabs argues that the key to understanding the Arab world today—and in the years ahead—is unlocking its past. In a sweeping and fluent account, noted scholar John McHugo narrates a journey through the political, social, and intellectual history of the Arabs from the Roman Empire right up to the present day. Taking readers beyond the headlines, he describes in vivid detail a series of turning points in Arab history—from the mission of the Prophet Muhammad and the expansion of Islam to the region’s interaction with Western ideas and the rise of Islamism. This lucidly told history reveals how the Arab world came to have its present form, why change was inevitable, and a spectrum of possibilities following the Arab Spring.
At a time of radical change throughout the Arab world, here is a highly informed and accessible account—the perfect entry point for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of what has come and what lies ahead.
John McHugo is an Arabist, an international lawyer, and a former academic researcher. He is a member of the Council for Arab-British Understanding’s Executive Committee, the chair of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, and a director of the British-Egyptian Society’s Supervisory Board. He lives in London.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The Law & Politics Book Review is pleased to present a symposium on Rule of Law After 9/11.
INTRODUCTION: “THE RULE OF LAW IN A POST 9/11 WORLD" Paul Parker, Law and Politics Book Review Editor
LIBERTY & SECURITY, by Conor Gearty. Reviewed by Angela Mae Kupenda, Mississippi College School of Law.
WHAT IS WAR?: AN INVESTIGATION IN THE WAKE OF 9/11, by Mary Ellen O’Connell (ed.). Reviewed by Donald W. Jackson, Department of Political Science, Texas Christian University.
THE DISTINCTION AND RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN JUS AD BELLUM AND JUS IN BELLO, by Keiichiro Okimoto. Reviewed by Wade Mansell, Kent Law School, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK
EU COUNTER-TERRORISM LAW: PRE-EMPTION AND THE RULE OF LAW, by Cian C. Murphy. Reviewed by David Schultz, Department of Political Science, Hamline University
SUPERVISION: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY, by John Gilliom and Torin Monahan. Reviewed by Priscilla H. M. Zotti, Department of Political Science, United States Naval Academy
THE EUROPEAN UNION AND GLOBAL EMERGENCIES : A LAW AND POLICY ANALYSIS, by Antonis Antoniadis, Robert Schütze and Eleanor Spaventa (eds). [Modern Studies in European Law]. Reviewed by Wim Pelt, Department of Law and Cultural Studies, Open Universiteit Netherlands.
CONGRESS AND THE POLITICS OF NATIONAL SECURITY, by David P. Auerswald and Colton C. Campbell (eds.). Reviewed by Darren A. Wheeler, Department of Political Science, Ball State University.
LONG WARS AND THE CONSTITUTION, by Stephen M. Griffin. Reviewed by Kimberley Fletcher, Department of Political Science, Ohio University
NON-LEGALITY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: UNRULY LAW, by Fleur Johns. Reviewed by Christopher P. Banks, Department of Political Science, Kent State University
REAPING WHAT YOU SOW: A COMPARATIVE EXAMINATION OF TORTURE REFORM IN THE UNITED STATES, FRANCE, ARGENTINA, AND ISRAEL, by Henry F. Carey. Reviewed by Samuel B. Hoff, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Delaware State University
THE RISE AND FALL OF WAR CRIMES TRIALS, FROM CHARLES I TO BUSH II, by Charles Anthony Smith. Reviewed by Samuel S. Stanton, Jr. Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Grove City College
THE DEFENDANT IN INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS; BETWEEN LAW AND HISTORIOGRAPHY, by Björn Elberling. Reviewed by Kathie Barrett, Department of Political Science and Planning, University of West Georgia
CONSTITUTIONAL LIFE AND EUROPE’S AREA OF FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE, by Alun Howard Gibbs. Reviewed by Dagmar Soennecken, School of Public Policy and Administration, York University.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Global Crossings: Immigration, Civilization, and America by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Global Crossings: Immigration, Civilization, and America by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
• Contrary to sensationalist news reports, Hispanic immigration to the United States does not constitute an unprecedented “takeover.” At other times in U.S. history the population of foreign origin constituted a similar or larger proportion of the total population. From 1901 to 1913, an average of one million foreigners—about 2.5 percent of the domestic population—came into the United States every single year, whereas recent annual immigration has not exceeded 0.5 percent of the national population.
• The flow of illegal immigration appears be a leading indicator of economic trends. From 2007 to 2009, the proportion of undocumented foreigners dropped by 8.4 percent in California and as much as 25 percent in Florida, where real estate markets were hit especially hard. In the greater Las Vegas, one of the fasted growing areas in the past 20 years, foreign workers began to leave in 2007. When Arizona passed its highly restrictive law in 2010, the annual influx of illegal immigrants stood at about one third of its most recent peak. This is not to say that the flow of workers responds exactly in sync with the demand for labor: border enforcement is a major impediment to smoothly functioning labor markets.
• Fears that immigrants to the United States will resist assimilation and make natives feel like strangers in their own country are misplaced. The lure of assimilation in the United States is almost irresistible: the second generation in immigrant families typically speaks the language of the adopted country far better than their parents, and the third generation is even more assimilated. Even so, the U.S. educational system places onerous obstacles on the educational assimilation of immigrants. Despite the Supreme Court mandate that illegal immigrant children be allowed to go to school, only ten states permit them to go to college paying in-state tuition rates.
• Fears that immigrant workers lead to lower wage rates are drastically overblown. The influx of immigrants to the United States from 1990 to 2004 led to a 1.5 percent reduction in the real wages of natives with less than a high-school education and cut the wages of earlier immigrants by about 10 percent. But it had the opposite effect on native workers with at least a high-school degree: it increased their wages by an average of 2 percent. The net impact was to increase average wages for all native workers by about 1.8 percent.
• Although many poor immigrants do use the welfare state, this represents only part of the equation. For example, although the proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program in the United States is high—33 percent, compared to 19 percent for native households—illegal immigrant men also have higher rates of participation in the U.S. workforce than do U.S. citizens or legal foreigners—over 90 percent in 2003. Moreover, in every U.S. census since 1880 immigrants were more likely to be self-employed than natives. Claims about immigrants relying on the American welfare state must also be weighed against the fact that immigrants often bring with them an entrepreneurial spirit, and that immigrants have utilized their work ethic by founding many of the leading high-tech companies in the United States. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, came from Russia; Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, is the child of Iranian immigrants from France; Andy Grove, founder of Intel, was born in Hungary; Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, came from Taiwan; and Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, is from South Africa.
There was a time when the word “immigration” conjured up images of intrepid travelers arriving at Ellis Island, possessing barely a suitcase to hold their meager belongings but embraced by a country that welcomed the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” In recent decades, however, many Americans have become skeptical, even critical of this ideal, preferring instead that the “nation of immigrants” welcome fewer foreigners, whatever their legal status. Debates about immigration are not confined to America, of course. Indeed, most of the same concerns that preoccupy immigration critics in the United States—worries about immigrants taking away jobs from native-born residents, depressing wage rates, resisting cultural assimilation, and putting undue strains on social services—are common throughout much of Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, explains Alvaro Vargas Llosa, author of Global Crossings: Immigrations, Civilization, and America.A native of Peru who has lived and worked on three continents, Vargas Llosa has written an insightful analysis of the cultural, economic, and political ramifications of immigration—one the most enduring phenomena of the human story. Part historical treatise and part politico-economic analysis—and sprinkled with fascinating anecdotes from his personal experience around the world—Global Crossings is a far-reaching work that will captivate anyone curious about the drama inherit in the age-old quest to make a better life by moving abroad and about the government policies that often thwart that effort.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Immigration by Michael Tonry, University of Minnesota Law School July 16, 2013 Sandra M. Bucerius & Michael Tonry (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethnicity, Crime, and Immigration, Oxford University Press, 2014, Forthcoming
Abstract: Unwarranted disparities in criminal justice system treatment and discrimination affect members of disadvantaged minority groups in every country. For some groups, including aboriginal residents of English-speaking countries, Afro-Americans, and Afro-Caribbeans in England, disparities and discrimination are chronic long-term problems. For other groups, disparities and discrimination may, consistent with a long-established multi-generation immigration and crime model, especially affect second- and third-generation members of economic immigrant groups. Asian immigrants typically tend not to have high crime rates or to experience justice system disparities.
Monday, October 21, 2013
From the Bookshelves: The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America by Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost
Over the last 35 years, the US penal system has grown at a rate unprecedented in US history—five times larger than in the past and grossly out of scale with the rest of the world. This growth was part of a sustained and intentional effort to “get tough” on crime, and characterizes a time when no policy options were acceptable save for those that increased penalties. In The Punishment Imperative, eminent criminologists Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost argue that America’s move to mass incarceration from the 1960s to the early 2000s was more than just a response to crime or a collection of policies adopted in isolation; it was a grand social experiment. Tracing a wide array of trends related to the criminal justice system, The Punishment Imperative charts the rise of penal severity in America and speculates that a variety of forces—fiscal, political, and evidentiary—have finally come together to bring this great social experiment to an end. Clear and Frost stress that while the doubling of the crime rate in the late 1960s represented one of the most pressing social problems at the time, this is not what served as a foundation for the great punishment experiment. Rather, it was the way crime posed a political problem—and thereby offered a political opportunity—that became the basis for the great rise in punishment.
The authors claim that the punishment imperativeis a particularly insidious social experiment because the actual goal was never articulated, the full array of consequences was never considered, and the momentum built even as the forces driving the policy shifts diminished. Clear and Frost argue that the public’s growing realization that the severe policies themselves, not growing crime rates, were the main cause of increased incarceration eventually led to a surge of interest in taking a more rehabilitative, pragmatic, and cooperative approach to dealing with criminal offenders.
The Punishment Imperative cautions that the legacy of the grand experiment of the past forty years will be difficult to escape. However, the authors suggest that the United States now stands at the threshold of a new era in penal policy, and they offer several practical and pragmatic policy solutions to changing the criminal justice system’s approach to punishment. Part historical study, part forward-looking policy analysis, The Punishment Imperative is a compelling study of a generation of crime and punishment in America.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
From the Bookshelves: My Name is Cool: Stories from a Cuban-Irish-American Storyteller by Antonio Sacre
My Name is Cool: Stories from a Cuban-Irish-American Storyteller by Antonio Sacre
Born in Boston to a Cuban father and an Irish-American mother, Antonio Sacre is one of the few leprecanos on the national speaking circuit. Using his own personal history and telling the stories that audiences across the nation have found so captivating and wonderful, this award-winning storyteller and author weaves the Spanish language, Cuban and Mexican customs, and Irish humor into an unforgettable book of humor, inspiration, tradition, and family.
Authors' Reading from Amor and Exile: The Role of American Spouses of Undocumented Immigrants in the Immigration Debate
Reading from the new book Amor and Exile: The Role of American Spouses of Undocumented Immigrants in the Immigration Debate, previously showcased on the ImmigrationProf blog.
When: Thursday, October 24, 2013, 5:30 pm (talk at 6:30 pm) Where: International Institute of the Bay Area, 657 Mission St., Ste. 301, San Francisco. Free event.
In their new book, Amor and Exile: True Stories of Love Across America’s Borders, independent journalist Nathaniel Hoffman and writer-in-exile Nicole Salgado, both former Bay Area residents, offer a new way forward on the seemingly stalled effort to reform our nation’s immigration system. The book focuses on the harsh realities for American citizens who are married to undocumented immigrants—including same-sex couples in this post-DOMA era. At least half a million American citizens, and likely many more, face the stark choice of living underground with undocumented spouses or self deporting and risking life in exile for a decade or more. Hoffman will explain this catch-22 and the role it could play in breaking the immigration log jam on Capitol Hill in a talk at the International Institute of the Bay Area starting at 5:30 pm, Thursday, Ocotber 24, 657 Mission St. in San Francisco. Salgado will try to join the conversation via Skype from Mexico, where she has lived in exile, with her husband Margarito since 2006.
Hoffman and Salgado released Amor and Exile in June, personally delivering copies of the book to every member of Congress—an effort underwritten through a highly successful crowdfunding campaign in late May. Since that time, immigration reform has taken a back seat to economic squabbling, leaving millions of lives hanging in the balance.
Friday, October 4, 2013
From the Bookshelves: The Immigrant War: A Global Movement against Discrimination and Exploitation by Vittorio Longhi
The abuse of Asian workers in the oil-rich Gulf countries, the trafficking of undocumented latinos at the US border, the exploitation of African sans papiers in France and the attacks on Sub-Saharan farmhands by the mob in Italy. All these events show how migrants, especially those without legal documents, can be an easy target for violence and discrimination, often with impunity. At least, until they decide to fight back. In this original, accessible book, Vittorio Longhi, a journalist who specialises in international labour matters, describes an emerging phenomenon of social conflict, in which migrants are not conceived as passive victims of exploitation. Instead they are portrayed as conscious, vital social actors who are determined to organise and claim better rights. With a global perspective, The Immigrant War highlights the 'struggle for human rights, citizenship and equality', in the context of a policy vacuum within the international community towards migration. He demonstrates how these emerging conflicts can break the chain of exploitation and contribute to rethinking failing migration policies and the role of migrants in contemporary societies. The book will be of interest to labour and migration specialists, students of social sciences, trade unionists and human rights activists, as well as a general readership interested in migration.
Click here for a review by David Bacon.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
From the Bookshelves: The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: A Commentary Edited by Christoph Grabenwarter
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) entered into force on 3 September 1953 with binding effect on all Member States of the Council of Europe. It grants the people of Europe a number of fundamental rights and freedoms (right to life, prohibition of torture, prohibition of slavery and forced labour, right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, no punishment without law, right to respect for private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, right to marry, right to an effective remedy, prohibition of discrimination) plus some more by additional protocols to the Convention (Protocols 1 (ETS No. 009), 4 (ETS No. 046), 6 (ETS No. 114), 7 (ETS No. 117), 12 (ETS No. 177) and 13 (ETS No. 187)).
Any person who feels his or her rights under the ECHR have been violated by the authorities of one of the Member States can bring a case to the European Court of Human Rights, established under the Convention. The States are bound by the Court's decisions. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe make sure that the decisions are properly executed. Today the Court receives thousands of petitions annually, demonstrating the immense impact of the Convention and the Strasbourg Court. Professor
Grabenwarter's Commentary deals with the Convention systematically, article-by-article, considering the development and scope of each article, together with the relevant case-law and literature.
Christoph Grabenwarter is Professor of Law at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, judge at the Austrian Constitutional Court, and the Austrian member in the Venice Commission on “Democracy through Law”. Professor Grabenwarter has widely published in the field of international business law and public international law with focus on human rights.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics by Michael Barone
The peopling of the United States is one of the most important stories of the last 500 years, and in "Shaping Our Nation," bestselling author and demographics expert Michael Barone illuminates a new angle of America’s rise. He uses a vast array of political and social data to show that America is the product of a series large, unexpected mass movements — both internal and external — that typically lasted only one or two generations but in that time reshaped the nation and created enduring tensions that were difficult to resolve. Barone highlights the surprising trends and connections between the America of today and that of its migrant past, such as how the areas of major Scots-Irish settlement in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War are the same areas where John McCain performed better in the 2008 election than George W. Bush did in 2004, and how in the years following the Civil War, migration across the Mason-Dixon line all but ceased until the annealing effect that the shared struggle of World War II produced. Barone takes us all the way up to present day, showing what the surge of Hispanic migration between 1970 and 2010 means for the elections and political decisions to be made in the coming decades. Barone shows how since the 18th century, people have moved to America in part to make a better living, but more importantly to create new communities in which they could thrive and live as they wanted. And the founders’ formula of limited government, civic equality, and tolerance of religious and cultural diversity has provided a ready and useful template for not only to coping with these new cultural influences, but also for prospering as a nation with cultural variety.
Sweeping, thought-provoking, and ultimately hopeful, "Shaping Our Nation" is an unprecedented addition to our understanding of America’s cultural past, with deep implications for the immigration, economic, and social policies of the future.
Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner and author of the New York Times bestseller "Our First Revolution" and "Hard America, Soft America." A resident fellow at AEI, he is also a Fox News Channel contributor and coauthor of "The Almanac of American Politics," now in its 22nd edition.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Eating Asian America A Food Studies Reader Edited By Robert Ji-Song Ku, Martin F. Manalansan and Anita Mannur
Chop suey. Sushi. Curry. Adobo. Kimchi. The deep associations Asians in the United States have with food have become ingrained in the American popular imagination. So much so that contentious notions of ethnic authenticity and authority are marked by and argued around images and ideas of food. Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader collects burgeoning new scholarship in Asian American Studies that centers the study of foodways and culinary practices in our understanding of the racialized underpinnings of Asian Americanness. It does so by bringing together twenty scholars from across the disciplinary spectrum to inaugurate a new turn in food studies: the refusal to yield to a superficial multiculturalism that naively celebrates difference and reconciliation through the pleasures of food and eating. By focusing on multi-sited struggles across various spaces and times, the contributors to this anthology bring into focus the potent forces of class, racial, ethnic, sexual and gender inequalities that pervade and persist in the production of Asian American culinary and alimentary practices, ideas, and images. This is the first collection to consider the fraught itineraries of Asian American immigrant histories and how they are inscribed in the production and dissemination of ideas about Asian American foodways.
Click here to see the table of contents.
Monday, September 30, 2013
It is one of the most pressing and controversial questions of our time -- vehemently debated, steeped in ideology, profoundly divisive. Who should be allowed to immigrate and who not? What are the arguments for and against limiting the numbers? We are supposedly a nation of immigrants, and yet our policies reflect deep anxieties and the quirks of short-term self-interest, with effective legislation snagging on thousand-mile-long security fences and the question of how long and arduous the path to citizenship should be.
In Exodus, Paul Collier, the world-renowned economist and bestselling author of The Bottom Billion, clearly and concisely lays out the effects of encouraging or restricting migration. Drawing on original research and case studies, he explores this volatile issue from three perspectives: that of the migrants themselves, that of the people they leave behind, and that of the host societies where they relocate. As Collier shows, emigrants from the poorest countries of the world tend to be the best educated and most ambitious. And while these people often benefit economically by leaving their home countries, they also drain these countries of the skills they so desperately need. In the absence of controls, emigration would accelerate: the poorest countries would face nothing less than a mass exodus. Ultimately the danger is that both host and countries of origin may lose their national identities-an outcome that would be disastrous, Collier argues, as national identity remains a powerful force for good. Migration must be restricted to ensure that it benefits both those countries left behind and those opening their doors.
Immigration is a simple economic equation, but its effects are complex. Exodus confirms how crucial it will be that public policy face and address all of its ramifications. Sharply written and brilliantly clarifying, Exodus offers a provocative analysis of an issue that affects us all.
Paul Collier, CBE is a Professor of Economics, Director for the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Antony's College. He is the author of The Plundered Planet; Wars, Guns, and Votes; and The Bottom Billion, winner of Estoril Distinguished Book Prize, the Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Lionel Gelber Prize.
Here is a review of Exodus from The Economist.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Born on the Border: Minutemen Vigilantes, Origins of Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Movement, and a Call for Increased Civil Disobedience by Ray Ybarra Maldonado Esq.
In 2004 vigilante groups patrolled the U.S.-Mexican border, hunting for migrants in the vast Arizona desert. A law student who hails from the small border town of Douglas, AZ takes off two years from his studies at Stanford Law School to return to Douglas to fight against the growing vigilante movement and the human rights abuses on the U.S.-Mexican border. This book provides a first-hand chronicle of the immigration debate that currently engulfs our nation. Ray Ybarra Maldonado writes about the border from his personal experience as a child and from the perspective of a dedicated activist who has travelled into the interior of Mexico to find victims of vigilante abuse. He also shares stories from his work at a migrant shelter in the Mexican border town where his mother was born, and from the middle of the Arizona desert where gun toting members of the Minutemen Project confront migrants crossing the militarized border. Born on the Border does more than chronicle the growing anti-immigrant movement that has emanated from Arizona, Ybarra Maldonado makes a compelling argument that the current immigration laws are immoral and that civil disobedience is needed so that human mobility can be recognized as a human right. While others are arguing over what comprehensive immigration reform looks like, the author’s personal conflict between doing what is morally right and breaking the law challenges readers to take a drastically different look at one of the most pressing issues facing nation-states in the 21st century: immigration and the human right to cross borders.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Review of PRODUCING AND NEGOTIATING NON-CITIZENSHIP: PRECARIOUS LEGAL STATUS IN CANADA by Luin Goldring and Patricia Landolt
Here is a review from Law and Politics Book Review of PRODUCING AND NEGOTIATING NON-CITIZENSHIP: PRECARIOUS LEGAL STATUS IN CANADA by Luin Goldring and Patricia Landolt (eds.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. The review is by y Ethel Tungohan, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.
PRODUCING AND NEGOTIATING NON-CITIZENSHIP: PRECARIOUS LEGAL STATUS IN CANADA encourages its readers to look beyond binary depictions of migrant legality and illegality by considering the “conditionality” of migrants’ status. For Landolt and Goldring, “conditionality” highlights what they call the “chutes-and-ladders” process that defines migrants’ lives, whereby government policies and regulations and everyday interactions and negotiations with various actors in different sites can place migrants up the “ladder towards more presence and rights” or alternately “down a chute towards more vulnerability, fewer rights or less access and a more uncertain presence in Canada” (p.16). Through this concept, Landolt and Goldring point to the various manifestations of non-citizenship that exist in Canada and raise an important and oft-forgotten point among immigration and migration scholars: that non-citizenship can be best understood as a dynamic “assemblage” of experiences across time and across space, encompassing different types of migrants with varying legal status.
Here is the conclusion of the review:"In sum, by examining the various ways non-citizenship and illegality is manifested through policies, practices, and everyday encounters, PRODUCING AND NEGOTIATING NON-CITIZENSHIP widens one’s understanding of precarious status migrants’ lived realities. It should be required reading for academics, researchers, and students doing work on immigration and migration issues."
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
For the next two weeks, a free online stream is available of the short documentary Frontier Youth. This thought-provoking film explores immigration and border issues on an intimate human scale. Its three characters are young people growing up in Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Mexico – neighboring border towns defined by undocumented migration and an increasingly militarized border.
Frontier Youth is unique in viewing these issues through the perspective of young adults on both sides of the border.
Friday, September 20, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism by Karima Bennoune
In Lahore, Pakistan, Faizan Peerzada resisted being relegated to a “dark corner” by staging a performing arts festival despite bomb attacks. In Algeria, publisher Omar Belhouchet and his fellow journalists struggled to put out their papers the same night that a 1996 jihadist bombing devastated their offices, killing eighteen of their colleagues and neighbors. In Afghanistan, Young Women for Change took to the streets of Kabul to denounce sexual harassment, undeterred by threats. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Abdirizak Bihi organized a Ramadan basketball tournament among Somali refugees to counter recruitment efforts by Al Shabaab. In Egypt, female demonstrators tried to reclaim Tahrir Square on international women’s day despite Salafist harassment. In neighboring Sudan, women activists were dragged away from a Khartoum protest against the flogging of women for wearing trousers, but vowed to return “again and again.” From Karachi to Tunis, Kabul to Tehran, across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and beyond, these trailblazers sometimes risked death to combat the rising tide of fundamentalism within their own countries and communities. Despite their courage and creativity, and the urgency of their efforts, this global community of writers, artists, doctors, musicians, museum curators, lawyers, activists, and educators of Muslim heritage remains largely invisible at the international level, lost amid the heated coverage of Islamist terror attacks on one side and abuses perpetrated against suspected terrorists on the other.
Increasingly frustrated with the stagnant, politicized public dialogue about the “clash of civilizations,” Karima Bennoune, an international human-rights lawyer, professor and activist, set out on an epic journey to change the conversation. She interviewed nearly 300 people from almost 30 countries, from Afghanistan to Mali and beyond. A veteran of twenty years of human rights research and activism, Bennoune draws on this extensive fieldwork and interviews to illuminate the inspiring stories of those who represent one of the best hopes for ending fundamentalist oppression worldwide.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Lives in the Balance: Asylum Adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security by Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Philip G. Schrag, and Jaya Ramji-Nogales
Although Americans generally think that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is focused only on preventing terrorism, one office within that agency has a humanitarian mission. Its Asylum Office adjudicates applications from people fleeing persecution in their homelands. Lives in the Balance is a careful empirical analysis of how Homeland Security decided these asylum cases over a recent fourteen-year period. Day in and day out, asylum officers make decisions with life-or-death consequences: determining which applicants are telling the truth and are at risk of persecution in their home countries, and which are ineligible for refugee status in America. In Lives in the Balance, the authors analyze a database of 383,000 cases provided to them by the government in order to better understand the effect on grant rates of a host of factors unrelated to the merits of asylum claims, including the one-year filing deadline, whether applicants entered the United States with a visa, whether applicants had dependents, whether they were represented, how many asylum cases their adjudicator had previously decided, and whether or not their adjudicator was a lawyer. The authors also examine the degree to which decisions were consistent among the eight regional asylum offices and within each of those offices. The authors’ recommendations, including repeal of the one-year deadline, would improve the adjudication process by reducing the impact of non-merits factors on asylum decisions. If adopted by the government, these proposals would improve the accuracy of outcomes for those whose lives hang in the balance.
The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration by David Bacon: The story of the growing resistance of Mexican communities to the poverty that forces people to migrate to the United States
People across Mexico are being forced into migration, and while 11 percent of that country's population lives north of the US border, the decision to migrate is rarely voluntary. Free trade agreements and economic policies that exacerbate and reinforce extreme wealth disparities make it impossible for Mexicans to make a living at home. And yet when they migrate to the United States, they must grapple with criminalization, low wages, and exploitation.
In The Right to Stay Home, journalist David Bacon tells the story of the growing resistance of Mexican communities. Bacon shows how immigrant communities are fighting back—envisioning a world in which migration isn't forced by poverty or environmental destruction and people are guaranteed the "right to stay home." This richly detailed and comprehensive portrait of immigration reveals how the interconnected web of labor, migration, and the global economy unites farmers, migrant workers, and union organizers across borders. In addition to incisive reporting, eleven narratives are included, giving readers the chance to hear the voices of activists themselves as they reflect on their experiences, analyze the complexities of their realities, and affirm their vision for a better world.
Monday, August 19, 2013
From the Bookshelves: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Racism & Civil Rights By Gary Younge
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DELIVERED his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963. Fifty years later, the speech endures as a defining moment in the civil rights movement. It continues to be heralded as a beacon in the ongoing struggle for racial equality. This gripping book is rooted in new and important interviews with Clarence Jones, a close friend of and draft speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr., and Joan Baez, a singer at the march, as well as Angela Davis and other leading civil rights leaders. It brings to life the fascinating chronicle behind “The Speech” and other events surrounding the March on Washington. Younge skillfully captures the spirit of that historic day in Washington and offers a new generation of readers a critical modern analysis of why “I Have a Dream” remains America’s favorite speech. From the Introduction: It was over eighty degrees when Martin Luther King Jr. took the stage at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. King was the last speaker. By the time he reached the podium many in the crowd had started to leave. Not all those who remained could hear him properly, but those who could stood rapt. “Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed,” said King as though he were wrapping up. “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.” Then he set his prepared text aside. [Clarence] Jones saw his stance turn from lecturer to preacher. He turned to the person next to him: “Those people don’t know it but they’re about to go to church.” A smattering of applause filled a pause more pregnant than most. “So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”