Tuesday, September 15, 2015



Photo courtesy of Hispanic Heritage Month.gov

During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.

Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.

Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

President Obama issued this proclamation yesterday on Hispanic Heritage Month.



September 15, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music, Religion, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

From the Bookshelves: A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story by Tom Gjelten


In A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story, veteran NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten assesses the impact and importance of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act by interweaving the stories of a handful of immigrant families with the history and analysis of the immigration changes in America as a whole.

As the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Act approaches this October, immigration continues to be a hot-button issue in American politics.  When the law was passed, fewer than 5 percent of Americans were foreign-born. Today, immigrants make up nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population, and the composition of the foreign-born population has changed dramatically. The 1965 Act abolished the national-origin quotas that favored immigrants from Europe and discriminated against all others. The United States, for the first time, became a country that officially welcomed people of all nationalities.

In the decades since, America’s founding myth of openness has been tested. Prior to 1965, three out of four immigrants came from Europe, and the country’s cultural character reflected its Anglo-Saxon roots. As Gjelten writes, “The evident premise of U.S. immigration law was that the explanation for America’s success in the world actually lay in its European heritage, not in its history as a country shaped by enterprising newcomers.” Fifty years after passage of the 1965 Act, nine out of ten immigrants are coming from other parts of the world, including Vietnam, Korea, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Mexico, Central America, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and many other places previously unrepresented. As one of the last—and most important—acts of the civil-rights era, the 1965 Act forced a new consideration of the U.S. national identity. By committing to a multicultural heritage, America took a thrilling gamble, betting heavily on its own resilience. As Gjelten writes in the prologue:

“The immigrant influx set up a belated test of America’s character and identity. Was its strength and resilience a result of its formation as ‘not merely a nation but a teeming nation of nations,’ as Walt Whitman said? Or were its achievements actually due to its Anglo-Saxon heritage? That aspect of American society was fast diminishing in relative importance, replaced by unprecedented racial and ethnic diversity. The country had not yet dared to see whether it could live up to its motto, E pluribus unum, ‘Out of many, one’ (an expression that referred originally to the thirteen colonies coming together as one state). As last, America could find out whether it was truly an exceptional nation and what it really meant to be American.” 

 This story unfolded with particular drama in some communities, notably one suburban county in northern Virginia that experienced a lifetime of change in a few short years, as immigrants arrived from all over the world. As late as 1970, foreign-born residents in Fairfax County made up less than one percent of the population. By 2010, one out of four county residents was an immigrant, and more than 100 languages were represented in the county school system.

 Gjelten’s narrative portrays in rich detail five immigrant families fromAsian, Arab, and Latin American countriesas they settle into Fairfax County and struggle to find and embrace the values that bind them to their new homeland and make them fully American. 

 Mark Keam and Alex Seong Keam both came from impoverished backgrounds in South Korea but both took advantage of educational opportunities in the United States and became successful lawyers. Along the way, they observed the tensions that sometimes surface in the relations between immigrants and other minority groups. Mark was a political activist and, with his wife’s support, became the first Asian immigrant elected to the Virginia state legislature. His career demonstrated the political clout of the new immigrant population.

 Esam Omeish and his siblings arrived in the United States with their parents from Libya. Though the family was not especially religious in Libya, they became devout Muslims in America. Esam, who became a prominent lay leader of the Muslim community in northern Virginia, credited a U.S. climate of openness and freedom and was determined to show that a commitment to Islam is not incompatible with a fervent U.S. patriotism.

 The Alarcón family immigrated from Bolivia, spurred by the family matriarch who taught her daughters and their husbands to plan their futures carefully and plot a way to reach their destination. “When you start out poor, you are better than others at rising up,” she counseled. And rise up they did, learning new skills and trades with the help of instructional books they borrowed from their local library. 

 The families profiled in A Nation of Nations are illustrative of the immigration experience across America and their stories incorporate many immigrant themes, including friction between minorities, the drive to compete and create, and the burdens associated with racial and cultural stereotyping.

Among the characters in this epic story are the politicians and pundits who debated for years whom the country should welcome, the African American activists who overcame segregation only to face competition from new immigrant neighbors, and the government officials who had to design services for a population of various languages, faiths, and colors.

 Gjelten shares many notable insights on the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, including:


 The 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act has received far less attention than the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act, which were approved around the same time, but its passage has proved to be one of the most nation-changing events in American history.  By eliminating national origin quotas, which heavily favored European immigration, the 1965 Act opened the door to visa applicants from around the world on a non-discriminatory basis.  In the fifty years after its enactment, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population tripled and shifted dramatically in composition. 

  • Critics of the 1965 immigration reform objected that it would shift the immigration flow, in the words of one senator, “from those European countries that contributed most to the formation of this nation to the countries of Asia and Africa.” Supporters insisted no such shift would ensue from the reform, but in this case the critics’ predictions were closer to the mark. In 1960, three out of four immigrants were from Europe. By 2010, nine of ten immigrants were from non-European countries.  


  • As a U.S. senator, Lyndon B. Johnson supported the McCarran-Walter Act, which severely restricted immigration from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East through the use of national origin quotas. By contrast, Sen. John F. Kennedy was an outspoken opponent of the quota system. But it was Johnson, not Kennedy, who as president made the elimination of national origin quotas a top legislative priority, and Johnson’s strong support was key to passage of the 1965 Act.


  • Some conservatives today decry the 1965 Act, arguing in hindsight that it produced more immigration than the country could handle. But much of that influx stemmed from an amendment of the original reform proposal, introduced at the time in deference to conservative wishes. Advocates of the national origin quota system agreed to support the 1965 reform only after “family unification” rather than “employability” was made the top immigration goal. The conservatives’ expectation was that by giving preference to those immigrants with U.S. relatives, the existing ethnic profile of the U.S. population would be preserved. Instead, the “family unification” preference gave rise to the phenomenon of chain migration, which in subsequent years became responsible for the vast majority of new non-European immigrants.


  • The 1965 Act was passed as part of the Great Society program and had the support of liberal Democrats in the U.S. Congress. But the Democratic Party at the time also included a large number of conservative southerners, while the Republican Party included many northern moderates and liberals. Proportionally, more Republicans than Democrats supported the 1965 legislation.


  • The shift from European to non-European immigration in the fifty years after the 1965 Act was reinforced by changes in the international economic and political order. Europe was experiencing economic growth and prosperity, so Europeans were less motivated to migrate. Violent conflict and political unrest in the developing countries, meanwhile, were pushing more people to leave home and seek better lives elsewhere. At the same time, improvements in global communication and transportation networks were making migration an increasingly practical option. Secretary of State Dean Rusk in 1965 chose not to highlight those global trends when he downplayed the prospect of “a world situation where everybody is just straining to move to the United States.”


  • The prevalence of chain migration in the post-1965 years resulted in new settlement patterns. Previously, immigrants were more likely to move en masse from their native countries and settle in enclaves with others of their national background, often in urban areas. More recent immigrants, however, tended to arrive family by family and choose their destinations more deliberately. Many settled in suburbanneighborhoods, attracted by good schools, employment opportunities, and greater security. The result was a more diverse pattern of settlement.


  • Post-1965 immigration numbers from Asia and Africa tell a dramatic story. In 1960, barely 11,000 Koreans lived in the U.S. By 2000, the number was 864,000.  The number of native Pakistanis in the United States jumped during the same period from 1,700 to 223,000. Immigration from India during those forty years increased from about 17,000 to more than one million. In the forty years prior to 1965, fewer than 40,000 people from all of Africa were admitted to the United States as immigrants. Over the next forty years, the number of African immigrants legally resident in the United States rose to 1.4 million.


  • The elimination of national origin quotas in U.S. immigration policy was seen at the time as a civil rights achievement and came in the context of the civil rights movement. The influx of immigrants that followed coincided with the expansion of opportunities for black Americans in education, housing, and employment. In places like Fairfax County, Virginia, where racial segregation had been the rule, this created some conflict. No sooner had black residents won a measure of justice than they found themselves competing for scarce resources with newly arriving immigrants.


  • The influx of non-European immigrants after 1965 had political as well as social implications, though in diverse ways. A quarter of economically active Korean immigrants are self-employed, giving them a special stake in debates about taxation and business regulation. Immigrants from Muslim countries are more likely to have conservative views when it comes to such social issues as same-sex marriage and abortion. Indians, the most highly-educated immigrant group, are over-represented in professional and technical circles, with higher than average incomes, and GOP leaders see the group as a natural constituency.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: The Human Rights of Children in an Age of Mobility by Karen E. Bravo


The Human Rights of Children in an Age of Mobility by Karen E. Bravo, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law August 22, 2015, 37 Human Rights Quarterly 787 (2015)

Abstract: This Essay reviews Jacqueline Bhabha, Child Migration & Human Rights in a Global Age (Princeton, 2014), ISBN 978-0-6911-4360-6, 374 pages.

Jacqueline Bhabha offers a rich and thought-provoking analysis of child migration flows, presenting historical and current cases of child migration, applicable legal frameworks, fundamental principles of child human rights, and procedural or administrative instruments that affect child migrations. She discusses movement for family reunification purposes, as refugees seeking sanctuary, as victims of exploitation such as human trafficking and recruitment as child soldiers, and autonomous migration in search of a better live.

This Essay identifies and summarizes the key themes of and questions raised by Bhabha, and offers critiques of the volume’s failure to address the structural causes of state inhospitality or to engage with the threat that states perceive from the unsanctioned and unregulated flow of mobile humanity.


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

Monday, August 31, 2015

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


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

Release date:  September 1, 2015

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

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

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


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

Friday, August 28, 2015

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


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

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

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


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

Monday, August 24, 2015

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

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


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

Friday, August 21, 2015

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


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

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


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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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

 The Making of Asian America The Making of Asian America

The Making of Asian America:   A History by Erika Lee

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

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

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


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

Friday, August 14, 2015

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


Dreams thing true

Dream Things True:  A Novel by Marie Marquardt

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


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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

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



 Crimmigration Law by Author: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

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

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, August 10, 2015

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


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

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

For the table of contents, click here.


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

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

At the Movies: Facing Fear


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

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

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


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

Politics of Citizenship and Migration Book Series


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

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


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

Monday, August 3, 2015

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



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)