Wednesday, August 13, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Immigrant America: A Portrait (Updated, and Expanded) by Alejandro Portes and Rubén G. Rumbaut


Immigrant America: A Portrait (Updated, and Expanded) by Alejandro Portes and Rubén G. Rumbaut

This revised, updated, and expanded fourth edition of Immigrant America: A Portrait provides readers with a comprehensive and current overview of immigration to the United States in a single volume. Updated with the latest available data, Immigrant America explores the economic, political, spatial, and linguistic aspects of immigration; the role of religion in the acculturation and social integration of foreign minorities; and the adaptation process for the second generation. This revised edition includes new chapters on theories of migration and on the history of U.S.-bound migration from the late nineteenth century to the present, offering an updated and expanded concluding chapter on immigration and public policy.


August 13, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Facebook Savvy Migrants? Research Notes from the U.S.-Mexico Border by Bryce Newell


This post from The Information discusses some initial findings from an on-going research project by authors Bryce Newell and Ricardo Gomez about the use of Facebook by undocumented/irregular migrants from Mexico and Central America:

"Although these findings are only preliminary, and we are continuing to gather data, we do see evidence that Facebook is being utilized by migrants, along with other forms of communication (e.g. phones, text-messaging). Additionally, quite a few migrants who had not used Facebook in the past expressed interest in using it in the future, citing conversations with other migrants who were using the social media website more actively. The availability of Facebook in migrant shelters throughout Mexico (which is mixed) may also contribute to the phenomenon. Regardless, Facebook presents some valuable opportunities to migrants to find information and connect with family members or others (coyotes?), but could also pose some risks. Unsecured access points could open up personal and family contact information to traffickers, much like they have historically re-dialed previous calls from public phone booths or stolen paper-based contact lists."


August 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Should They Stay or Should They Go? Attitudes Towards Immigration in Europe by Sarah Bridges and Simona Mateut

Should They Stay or Should They Go? Attitudes Towards Immigration in Europe by Sarah Bridges (University of Nottingham) and Simona Mateut (Nottingham University Business School), September 2014 Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 61, Issue 4, pp. 397-429, 2014

Abstract: This paper examines the main determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration in Europe. Our results suggest that both economic and non‐economic variables shape attitudes towards immigration, but the relative importance of these factors depends crucially on the race/ethnicity of the arriving immigrants. While fears over labour market competition are more likely to shape attitudes towards the arrival of same race immigrants, more exposure to immigrants reduces opposition towards the arrival of different race immigrants. These findings persist after controlling for socioeconomic characteristics, and after exploiting the data to allow for cohort‐specific effects.



August 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Conference Announcement: CSLSA at LSU October 10 & 11

The annual Central States Law Schools Association conference will take place at LSU in Baton Rouge on October 10 & 11. The conference is not subject specific, but usually includes panels on immigration, international law, and criminal law. From experience, I can report that CSLSA provides a friendly, intimate, and collegial setting in which to present scholarship.

Although CSLSA is a regional association of law schools, membership is not a prerequisite to attend and present. Faculty from all schools are welcome.

If Louisiana in October isn't enough of a draw for you, consider this: The Louisiana Law Review has agreed to offer publication to at least one CSLSA conference paper that meets the journals’ subject matter and quality criteria.

Registration is open now through September 1.

I hope to see you in Baton Rouge!


August 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

UAC Protections un Trafficking Act of 2008

Reminder from Debbie Smith of Catholic Legal Immigration Network:

 The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, the TVPRA, extended and modified certain programs to prevent and prosecute human trafficking and protect the victims of trafficking and slavery.  It also set forth requirements for the treatment of unaccompanied children and created substantive and procedural changes for unaccompanied children seeking relief from removal.  Some of the protections available under the TVPRA apply to all children regardless of their country of origin.  But most of the critical safeguards of the TVPRA affecting unaccompanied children deny those protections to unaccompanied children from Mexico or Canada (“contiguous countries”).  Thus under the TVPRA, unaccompanied children are treated differently depending on whether they are nationals of “contiguous countries” (Mexico and Canada) or nationals from any other country (“non-contiguous countries”).

 The TVPRA protections that are available to unaccompanied children who are not from Mexico or Canada include safeguards regarding apprehension, transfer, and other procedural and substantive benefits.  Under the TVPRA, children who are nationals of “non-contiguous” countries must be screened within 48 hours of arrest, transferred to ORR custody within 72 hours, and permitted to apply for relief without being subject to expedited removal. Similarly under the TVPRA, HHS is required to ensure that “non-contiguous” unaccompanied children have legal counsel for all proceedings "to the extent practicable" and consistent with the immigration statute.  HHS is also required to work with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to ensure that custodians of unaccompanied children receive legal orientation presentations, that children are placed in safe and secure placements, and that independent child advocates are appointed where needed.  All of these procedural and substantive safeguards apply only to the unaccompanied children who are nationals of “non-contiguous” countries – they do not apply to unaccompanied children from Mexico or Canada.

 On the other hand, the TVPRA also clarified the definition of Special Immigrant Juvenile status (SIJS), and provided protections to unaccompanied children applying for asylum whether those children were nationals of “contiguous” or “non-contiguous” countries. For more resources, click here.


August 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Who Counts as a Refugee in US Immigration Policy—and Who Doesn’t

How Violence Is Causing Children to Flee Central America

The uptick in the number of children fleeing to the United States has focused attention on the conditions in the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. In total, these nations have seen 62,998 kids flee to the United States and other neighboring countries. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, asylum applications in neighboring nations—namely, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize—have risen 712 percent since 2009. A new series of charts released today by the Center for American Progress provide visual analysis of the violence, murder, extortion, rape, and abuse in some of the world’s most violent countries that these children are fleeing.


August 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Mexicans in the Making of America by Neil Foley

Mexicans in tehmaking

Mexicans in the Making of America by Neil Foley

According to census projections, by 2050 nearly one in three U.S. residents will be Latino, and the overwhelming majority of these will be of Mexican descent. This dramatic demographic shift is reshaping politics, culture, and fundamental ideas about American identity. Neil Foley, a leading Mexican American historian, offers a sweeping view of the evolution of Mexican America, from a colonial outpost on Mexico’s northern frontier to a twenty-first-century people integral to the nation they have helped build.

Mexicans have lived in and migrated to the American West and Southwest for centuries. When the United States annexed those territories following the Mexican–American War in 1848, the unequal destinies of the two nations were sealed. Despite their well-established presence in farm fields, workshops, and military service, Mexicans in America have long been regarded as aliens and outsiders. Xenophobic fantasies of a tidal wave of Mexicans overrunning the borders and transforming “real America” beyond recognition have inspired measures ranging from Operation Wetback in the 1950s to Arizona’s draconian SB 1070 anti-immigration law and the 700-mile security fence under construction along the U.S.–Mexican border today. Yet the cultural, linguistic, and economic ties that bind Mexico to the United States continue to grow. Mexicans in the Making of America demonstrates that America has always been a composite of racially blended peoples, never a purely white Anglo-Protestant nation. The struggle of Latinos to gain full citizenship bears witness to the continual remaking of American culture into something more democratic, egalitarian, and truer to its multiracial and multiethnic origins.


August 12, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

RIP Robin Williams (AKA Vladimir Ivanoff, Mork)


The world is mourning the loss of actor/comedian Robin Williams.  In one of his first films (1984), Williams starred in Moscow on the Hudson,  a comedy-drama directed and co-written by Paul Mazursky. The film had an immigration angle with Williams playing a Soviet Russian circus musician (Vladimir Ivanoff) who defects while on a visit to the United States.  Williams's co-stars include Maria Concjita Alonso (in her American film debut), Elya Baskin as the circus clown, Savely Kramarov as one of two KGB apparatchiks, Alejandro Rey as the musician's immigration attorney, and Cleavant Derricks as his first American host and friend.


Recall also that Williams played an alien from planet Monk in the sitcom Mork & Mindy.



August 12, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard Research Resource: Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930, is a web-based collection of historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums that documents voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression. Concentrating heavily on the 19th century, Immigration to the US includes over 400,000 pages from more than 2,200 books, pamphlets, and serials, over 9,600 pages from manuscript and archival collections, and more than 7,800 photographs. By incorporating diaries, biographies, and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants. In addition to thousands of items that are now accessible to any Internet user, the collection includes contextual information on voluntary immigration and quantitative data. The site offers additional links to related digital resources on immigration to the US, including vital materials on the African diaspora.


August 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLINIC's Toolkit for Working with Unaccompanied Children


CLINIC's Toolkit for Working with Unaccompanied Children  now available on its website. The toolkit contains helpful background information on the factors pushing children to flee their home countries and how they are treated under U.S. immigration law. Materials include news and updates from CLINIC, links to legal authority and agency memoranda impacting unaccompanied children, practice advisories, and articles on representing children in removal proceedings and common forms of relief.

Current resources include:

Rules, Laws and Remedies for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children (Debbie Smith, CLINIC)

Webinar: Children Traveling Alone: The Catholic Church's Response

Rapid E-Learning: Overview of Representing Children in Removal Proceedings

10 Ways to Welcome the Children at Our Border

Frequently Asked Questions about the Unaccompanied Children Crisis

Congressional Briefing: Changing the TVPRA of 2008

Consequences for Unaccompanied Children (CLINIC, July 2014)


August 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A New Life for Refugees, and the City They Adopted


Susan Hartman in the New York Times has a thoughtful story about how Utica, New York has become a city of refugees.  Utica "might seem like an unexpected corner of America to plant roots for Somali Bantus who have fled persecution, but in fact they are part of a remarkable story: the evolution of Utica into a city of refugees. A large concentration of immigrants who have come here seeking sanctuary, including Vietnamese, Bosnians and Burmese, have transformed this once-fading industrial town."  Mong other organizations, the Mohawk Valley Resource Center For Refugees teaches students to both preserve cultures and integrate into American society. 


August 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Regina Spektor (Russia)


Regina Spektor is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her music is associated with the anti-folk scene centered on New York City's East Village.

Spektor was born in Moscow, Soviet Union, in 1980 to a musical family. Growing up in Moscow, Regina learned to play the piano. She grew up listening to classical music and famous Russian bards like Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava. She was also exposed to rock-and-roll bands such as The Beatles, Queen, and The Moody Blues. The family left the Soviet Union in 1989, when Regina was nine. Regina had to leave her piano behind.



August 12, 2014 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 11, 2014


The Real Death Valley: Brooks County, Texas, The Weather Channel


The Real Death Valley: The Untold Story of Mass Graves and Migrant Deaths in South Texas from Weather Films

Why are hundreds of migrants dying each year as they attempt to cross the border to America? “The Real Death Valley” takes a hard look into this tragedy, in which hopeful souls cross through one of the most unforgiving weather environments in America – the punishing terrain of Brooks County, Texas.

Produced by The Weather Channel and Telemundo, in collaboration with with the Investigative Fund and Efran Films, this powerful investigative documentary examines this deeply controversial topic. Emmy Award-winning producers, Solly Granatstein and Shawn Efran, produced "The Real Death Valley" for Weather Films, a digital documentary unit of Weather Films is dedicated to investigating controversial issues where weather, public policy, and the environment collide.

Since its launch in 2013, Weather Films has garnered 30 industry awards, including Telly Awards, Digiday Media Awards, and Communicator Awards. In 2014, Weather Films was a four-time Webby Award honoree.


August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Southeast Asian American Studies Conference

From Vichet Chhuon:

The States of Southeast Asian American Studies
Southeast Asians in Diaspora Conference | October 2 & 3, 2014

The fourth triennial Southeast Asians in the Diaspora Conference will take place at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities on October 2-3, 2014. The conditions that “brought the field into being” have shifted in light of recent events and new scholarship across various fields and communities. Hosting this event in Minnesota is significant given the vibrant Southeast Asian population in the state. Minnesota has experienced dramatic demographic shifts over the past few decades, becoming an immigration hub for people from Southeast Asia and elsewhere. This timely event will bring together scholars, artists, activists, and other members of Southeast Asian American communities to consider the past, present, and future of these communities.

Please visit our website to view schedule, speaker, travel accommodations, and registration information. We encourage you to register by September 15, 2014. The program has not yet been finalized so please visit the site for updates and changes.  

We encourage you to book your rooms soon to ensure you receive the conference rate.

Please email us with any questions:


To further foster the mentoring of early career scholars and help offset graduate student expenses connected with attending this year’s Southeast Asians in the Diaspora conference (scheduled to take place at the University of Minnesota, October 3-4, 2014), the conference committee is happy to announce a graduate travel fellowship competition. Two graduate student awards will be given on the basis of academic merit and financial need. Recipients will receive a $250 stipend and their registration fee for the conference will be waived. The deadline for applications is August 23, 2014.
In order to apply, please provide a one-page CV and a short justification of need (250-500 words). Please send these materials to:


August 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: “Enemy Territory:” Immigration Enforcement in the US-Mexico Borderlands by Walter A. Ewing

"Enemy Territory:” Immigration Enforcement in the US-Mexico Borderlands by Walter A. Ewing

Executive Summary

For the last two decades, the guiding strategy of immigration enforcement along the US-Mexico border has been “prevention through deterrence,” or stopping unauthorized immigrants from entering the country rather than apprehending those who have already crossed the border. “Prevention through deterrence” has entailed a massive concentration of enforcement personnel and resources along the border and at ports of entry. It has also led to the detention and removal of increasing numbers of unauthorized immigrants and far greater use of “expedited removal.”

As gauged by the doubling in size of the unauthorized immigrant population over the same period, “prevention through deterrence” has not been a successful enforcement strategy. Moreover, it has funneled more migrants to their death in the deserts and mountains of the southwest as they (and smugglers) resort to increasingly dangerous routes to evade border enforcement. In addition, there has been public concern over ethnic profiling and the use of extraordinary authority by Border Patrol agents to conduct arbitrary searches within 100 miles of the border. Despite these problems, the federal government continues to spend billions of dollars each year on the “prevention through deterrence” strategy.

A first step in overcoming the deficiencies of this border enforcement strategy is to strengthen accountability within the Border Patrol, so that allegations of excessive force and abuse are investigated and adjudicated promptly and appropriately. The culture of the Border Patrol must be transformed to foster respect for rights. More broadly, the mission of the Border Patrol should be to capture dangerous individuals and to disrupt the operations of the transnational criminal organizations that traffic people, drugs, guns, and money. In addition, providing more pathways to legal entry through immigration reform would enhance border security by attenuating the flow of unauthorized immigrants within which dangerous criminals or terrorists can hide. Finally, the US government should pursue economic policies to promote development in Mexico and Central American countries in order to address the underlying causes of migration.


August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Untold History of Unaccompanied Minors

From JOrge Rivas of Fusion:

Public opinion remains deeply divided over whether the U.S. government has a moral obligation to offer asylum to Central Americans children escaping political persecution or violence in their home countries. According to a survey published last month by the Associated Press, 53 percent of the U.S. public think their country has no obligation to take in the latest wave of "TIRED and huddled masses" fleeing troubles in their home countries.

We talked to 11 scholars and activists who think the United States, a self-professed nation of immigrants, does have a moral obligation to provide asylum to Central American minors, many of whom — experts argue — are fleeing violence that resulted from U.S. foreign policy.

Fusion presents the untold history behind the unaccompanied minors, a collection of 60-second videos.

Click here for the videos of Robert Reich, Bill Hing, Alex Sanchez, Monica Nova, Hector Flores, Felix Kury, and others.


August 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Photos of the Day Courtesy of the NYT: Refugees in Utica, NY

The NYT has an article today, "A New Life for Refugees, and the City they Adopted," on the ways in which refugees from Somali Bantu have made new lives in Utica, New York.  The article explains how just as Utica has provided a new home for these new immigrants, they too have helped the city by "injecting a sense of vitality to forlorn city streets." Their contributions are similar to the contributions of immigrants who have gone before them-Italians, Germans, Polish and Italians during the turn of the century and Bosnians in the 1990s.  

The article includes a link to compelling pictures about the lives of these immigrants in Utica. These pictures provide a window through we can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that refugees and their families experience as well as their immense contributions to their new cities.  The link to those pictures are here.



August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Alaska GOP Candidates Clash on Immigration

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream 

Associated Press reports that three Republicans vying for their party's nomination for U.S. Senate in Alaska clashed on immigration Sunday night in a televised debate ahead of the Aug. 19 primary. Both former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan and Lt. Gov Mead Treadwell refused to sign a pledge offered by tea party favorite Joe Miller to oppose all efforts at "amnesty" for people here illegally if elected to the U.S. Senate, with Treadwell chastising Miller for sending out a mailer on immigration featuring menacing Hispanic gang members. (I am tryting to track down a photo of the flyer.).  Miller, in turn, noted that several of Sullivan's backers, like GOP strategist Karl Rove, favor allowing many of the 11 million immigrants in the country to eventually become citizens.



August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Phillip Kasinitz: My grandpa was an 'unaccompanied minor'

Professor Philip Kasinitz; photo via CNN

Professor Philip Kasinitiz, a professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, wrote a lovely piece for CNN about his grandfather, who, in 1907, traveled alone to the United States at the tender age of nine.

After recounting some of the more touching and funny stories about "Frenchy," Kasinitiz concludes:

"I wonder how many people screaming at frightened children in Murrieta, California, have an ancestor with a similar story. I wonder why so many Americans have forgotten their history. And I wonder, if they are allowed to stay, what sort of Americans will the brave, resilient children on those buses someday become?"


August 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)