Monday, August 3, 2015

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



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

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

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


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

Friday, July 31, 2015

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

Howard book

Law and Economics of Immigration Edited by Howard F. Chang

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Announcing The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

Restless books

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


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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, July 9, 2015

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


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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, July 6, 2015

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


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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, July 5, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

The Diversity Explosion in the United States

Brookings features an interesting article "White aging means post-millennial America is becoming more diverse everywhere" by William H. Frey.

Newly released census data make plain why we need to expect a more racially diverse America everywhere. It is because the rapidly aging U.S. white population is no longer contributing to gains in the number of the nation’s youth. The new statistics, for July 2014, show that the median age of whites has reached an all-time high of 43.1, while the national median age is 37.7. For Hispanics the median age is 28.5, and for those of two or more races it’s 19.8.

The impact of white aging is especially pronounced within the population under age 20. Among this group, which includes late millennials, now in their teens, and the emerging post-millennial generation, there was an absolute decline in the number of whites between the 2010 census and 2014.

The nation’s youth population is projected to show modest gains over the decades to come, but only because of greater growth for today’s younger minorities, whose gains will counter the continuing declines of younger whites. Because tomorrow’s increasingly minority-driven youth and labor force population will be vital to maintaining a robust economy and to supporting a much more rapidly growing senior population, it is important to pay attention to the needs and opportunities available to the highly diverse post-millennial generation—not just in selected parts of the country, but everywhere.




William H. Frey is a noted demographer and author of the book The Diversity Explosion.


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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Theorizing Immigration Control by Colin Grey


Theorizing Immigration Control

The injustices that result from immigration governance are glaring. They are so glaring that normative theorizing about such governance may seem, at best, a low priority. At worst, theorizing may seem a way of legitimizing the illegitimate.

Taken too far, this anti-theoretical attitude would be a mistake. There remains a pressing need to resolve political-moral questions concerning immigration governance.

In particular, the standard view that it is morally proper for states to have broad, possibly unfettered, power to control immigration is a root cause of many of the injustices associated with immigration. This view can only be met by attempts, theoretical in nature, to come to grips with the nature and limits of the power to control immigration.

While it suffers from inadequacies, I believe my book – Justice and Authority in Immigration Governance (2015) – makes progress toward a better understanding of what reasonably just immigration governance would look like. Below, I briefly describe the book’s claims in the presumptuous hope of provoking others to engage with the arguments for these claims.

To begin, I do not deny the right to control immigration; although I believe this right resides with states for essentially contingent reasons. Further, this right is not one of “absolute and unqualified” control. Rather, it is a right to exercise judgment regarding whether an immigrant should be admitted or not to a state’s territory.

To command authority, this judgment must be exercised reasonably. It must take account of both would-be migrants’ circumstances as well as the impact immigration will have on a receiving state. If this power of judgment is not exercised reasonably, migrants will have no obligation to obey immigration law, with all the instability this result implies.

Most rich, liberal states pursue unreasonable immigration policies now. Such unreasonableness is made manifest in the overall inegalitarianism of these policies. The tendency of most rich states to admit the well off and exclude (or exercise greater control over) the worse off leads to a disturbing correlation between disadvantage and the likelihood of suffering. Inegalitarian admissions policies are likely also unreasonable in themselves, evincing profound disregard for the situation of worse off migrants and the impact immigration would have on their lives.

What would it be to exercise the power of judgment over immigration reasonably? I propose four principles in my book.

First, any cap on immigration must be set in accordance with considerations of the need to maintain stability and the need to respect members’ legitimate expectations.

Second, under any such cap, priority of admission must be given to the worst off, where being “worst off” is a function of both the absence of rights and economic disadvantage.

Third, immigration policies must avoid second-order injustice; that is, any policy regarding admission or exclusion must not result in or require for their enforcement such blatant injustices as indefinite detention or the use of excessive force.

Fourth, there are certain migrants that states are obligated to admit to citizenship. Those are the migrants who develop a form of allegiance, which I call “juridical integration”, to the rules and principles of justice embodied and guaranteed by a state.

If you have read this far, this summary will have raised more questions than it answers. It has likely provoked skepticism. Good. I believe the principles above will minimize injustice in immigration governance and allow for the reconciliation of both migrants and non-migrants with the social and political world that results. But I also think the arguments in my book are insufficient. Making them more robust is the long-game in addressing the great evils that result from immigration control by states.

Colin Grey ( is professeur régulier en droit des migrations at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) and a former legal advisor to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canda. His book, Justice and Authority in Immigration Law was published by Hart Publishing earlier this year.

July 1, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death Match 2015: Ann Coulter and Geraldo Rivera Debate Immigration

Saturday, June 27, 2015

From the Bookshelves: U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice by Lupe S. Salinas



U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice by Lupe S. Salinas

Latinos in the United States encompass a broad range of racial, socioeconomic, and sociopolitical identities. Originating from the Caribbean, Spain, Central and South America, and Mexico, they have unique justice concerns. The ethnic group includes U.S. citizens, authorized resident aliens, and undocumented aliens, a group that has been a constant partner in the Latino legal landscape for over a century. This book addresses the development and rapid growth of the Latino population in the United States and how race-based discrimination, hate crimes, and other prejudicial attitudes, some of which have been codified via public policy, have grown in response. Salinas explores the degrading practice of racial profiling, an approach used by both federal and state law enforcement agents; the abuse in immigration enforcement; and the use of deadly force against immigrants. The author also discusses the barriers Latinos encounter as they wend their way through the court system. While all minorities face the barrier of racially based jury strikes, bilingual Latinos deal with additional concerns, since limited-English-proficient defendants depend on interpreters to understand the trial process. As a nation rich in ethnic and racial backgrounds, the United States, Salinas argues, should better strive to serve its principles of justice.


June 27, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Human dignity and fundamental rights in South Africa and Ireland by Anne Hughes


Human dignity and fundamental rights in South Africa and Ireland by Anne Hughes

Post-apartheid South Africa has yielded enlightened judicial decisions in contrast to the limited interpretation of human rights in Ireland. The value of human dignity with its central position in international law underpins both countries’ Constitutions, but has left a more striking mark in South Africa. There it has impacted significantly on punishment for crimes, family life, children’s rights, defamation, sexual violence investigations, substantive equality and socio-economic rights. Practical guidance can be gleaned from South Africa to revitalise Irish jurisprudence. While its focus is on South Africa and Ireland, this book draws on the experience of many countries and regions.


June 24, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Mia Alvar, In the Country: Stories

In the country

 Mia Alvar, In the Country:  Stories

These nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories from Mia Alvar, a remarkable new literary talent, vividly give voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora. Here are exiles, emigrants, and wanderers uprooting their families from the Philippines to begin new lives in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere—and, sometimes, turning back again. A pharmacist living in New York smuggles drugs to his ailing father in Manila, only to discover alarming truths about his family and his past. In Bahrain, a Filipina teacher drawn to a special pupil finds, to her surprise, that she is questioning her own marriage. A college student leans on her brother, a laborer in Saudi Arabia, to support her writing ambitions, without realizing that his is the life truly made for fiction. And in the title story, a journalist and a nurse face an unspeakable trauma amidst the political turmoil of the Philippines in the 1970s and ’80s.

In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home. From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar’s powerful debut collection explores the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. Deeply compassionate and richly felt, In the Country marks the emergence of a formidable new writer.


June 23, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire Hardcover by Margaret Regan

Detained and deported

Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire Hardcover  by Margaret Regan

An intimate look at the people ensnared by the US detention and deportation system, the largest in the world.

On a bright Phoenix morning, Elena Santiago opened her door to find her house surrounded by a platoon of federal immigration agents. Her children screamed as the officers handcuffed her and drove her away. Within hours, she was deported to the rough border town of Nogales, Sonora, with nothing but the clothes on her back. Her two-year-old daughter and fifteen-year-old son, both American citizens, were taken by the state of Arizona and consigned to foster care. Their mother’s only offense: living undocumented in the United States. Immigrants like Elena, who’ve lived in the United States for years, are being detained and deported at unprecedented rates. Thousands languish in detention centers—often torn from their families—for months or even years. Deportees are returned to violent Central American nations or unceremoniously dropped off in dangerous Mexican border towns. Despite the dangers of the desert crossing, many immigrants will slip across the border again, stopping at nothing to get home to their children. Drawing on years of reporting in the Arizona-Mexico borderlands, journalist Margaret Regan tells their poignant stories. Inside the massive Eloy Detention Center, a for-profit private prison in Arizona, she meets detainee Yolanda Fontes, a mother separated from her three small children. In a Nogales soup kitchen, deportee Gustavo Sanchez, a young father who’d lived in Phoenix since the age of eight, agonizes about the risks of the journey back. Regan demonstrates how increasingly draconian detention and deportation policies have broadened police powers, while enriching a private prison industry whose profits are derived from human suffering. She also documents the rise of resistance, profiling activists and young immigrant “Dreamers” who are fighting for the rights of the undocumented. Compelling and heart-wrenching, Detained and Deported offers a rare glimpse into the lives of people ensnared in America’s immigration dragnet.


June 23, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Notes on Ann Coulter, Adios America by Vicky Yau


Second year law student Vicky Yau comments on Ann Coulter's book on immigration:

Immigration has been a hot topic in politics in recent years. Presidential campaigns, gubernatorial campaigns, safe to say, the campaigns for many high political offices of this country, ring loud with candidates’ stances on immigration policies. Social and political commentator, writer, syndicated columnist, and lawyer, Ann Coulter, while not running for office, has also chimed in with her stance, in her new book, Adios America. But Coulter’s opinion on the subject stands in stark contrast to the stances bellowed out by high office hopefuls. Coulter believes the U.S. should implement an immigration policy that excludes all immigration, even legal immigration, from poor countries. In other words, Coulter is advocating a more expansive version of the highly controversial Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Adios America is Coulter’s warning to the world, about the danger of allowing legal immigration from poorer countries to continue. Taking into account the percentage of those immigrants whose sustenance comes from government welfare checks, the resources the government utilizes to combat social problems in those immigrant communities, etc., Coulter proclaims in Adios America that “today’s immigrants aren’t coming here to breath free, they’re coming to live for free.” 

 Yet, it would be interesting to see how Coulter addresses the benefits immigrants from those countries have provided for the United States


June 19, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Dream Chasers: Immigration and the American Backlash by John Tirman


Dream Chasers Immigration and the American Backlash by John Tirman (The MIT Press 2015)

Illegal immigration continues to roil American politics. The right-wing media stir up panic over “anchor babies,” job stealing, welfare dependence, bilingualism, al-Qaeda terrorists disguised as Latinos, even a conspiracy by Latinos to “retake” the Southwest. State and local governments have passed more than 300 laws that attempt to restrict undocumented immigrants’ access to hospitals, schools, food stamps, and driver’s licenses. Federal immigration authorities stage factory raids that result in arrests, deportations, and broken families—and leave owners scrambling to fill suddenly open jobs. The DREAM Act, which would grant permanent residency to high school graduates brought here as minors, is described as “amnesty.” And yet polls show that a majority of Americans support some kind of path to citizenship for those here illegally. What is going on? In this book, John Tirman shows how the resistance to immigration in America is more cultural than political. Although cloaked in language about jobs and secure borders, the cultural resistance to immigration expresses a fear that immigrants are changing the dominant white, Protestant, “real American” culture.

Tirman describes the “raid mentality” of our response to immigration, which seeks violent solutions for a social phenomenon. He considers the culture clash over Chicano ethnic studies in Tucson, examines the consequences of an immigration raid in New Bedford, and explores the civil rights activism of young “Dreamers.” The current “round them up, deport them, militarize the border” approach, Tirman shows, solves nothing.

John Tirman is the author of The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars, 100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World, and other books. He is Executive Director of MIT’s Center for International Studies, where he is also Principal Research Scientist.


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

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Freedom for All: An Attorney's Guide to Fighting Human Trafficking


Freedom for All: An Attorney's Guide to Fighting Human Trafficking (American Bar Association 2015), 254 pages.

Human trafficking is the reprehensible practice of physically or psychologically compelling someone to work or provide commercial sex services. An estimated 27 million people are currently enslaved worldwide, with – as of 2012 – less than 1% identified. To shrink that gap, a variety of professionals – especially attorneys – are needed to integrate identification and prevention strategies into their practices.

Human trafficking is an issue of public safety, health, migration, development, corporate practices, labor, and immigration – all of which intersect with the law. Only with additional information, tools, and resources can attorneys truly understand the various opportunities available to them to transform their interest in combatting human trafficking into action.

Justice for All: An Attorney’s Guide to Fighting Human Trafficking is the first book of its kind to address the global scale of human trafficking while preparing attorneys to bridge the gap between the less than 1% identified and the 27 million enslaved, increasing identification, expanding assistance for trafficked persons, and preventing human trafficking overall. This book also discusses why attorneys must be involved in eradicating human trafficking and why the scale of the problem is simply too vast to conquer without their engagement. Finally, it outlines the different ways to engage in anti-trafficking work, including identification among existing clients, pro bono representation, corporate and policy development, non-profit support and governance, and more.


June 17, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)