Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New SSRN Immigration Articles

Here are some new immigration articles from the Social Science Research Network (www.ssrn.com):

The Unsigned United Nations Migrant Worker Rights Convention: An Overlooked Opportunity to Change the Brown Collar Migration Paradigm" New York University Journal of International Law and Politics (JILP), Vol. 42, 2009 Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2009-20 BETH LYON, Villanova University School of Law [Blogger's note:  Professor Lyons has written important scholarship on the international legal protections for migrant workers.]

Abstract:  The United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (Migrant Worker Convention or Convention) is one of the United Nations' nine core human rights treaties. The United States has neither signed nor ratified the treaty. Despite various reports and articles assessing potential ratification of the Convention by European and other countries, and an even more robust literature examining potential U.S. ratification of other UN core human rights treaties, there has been no examination of the potential for U.S. ratification of this Convention. The Convention is the most comprehensive global attempt to grapple with labor migration, a problem of dramatic international and domestic scope. The more than 24 million immigrants in the American workplace represent nearly 16% of the U.S. labor force. U.S. business continues to press for lower immigrant worker wage and housing standards, making the foreign-born an especially likely replacement for American workers in recessionary times. Ratification of the Migrant Worker Convention is desirable because, by prompting a vision of migrant workers as rights holders, the Convention would shift the American political climate toward policy reform. This would help to break through the current domestic political stalemate and build-up of undocumented immigrants. Ratifying the Migrant Worker Convention would also advance agendas important to both the right and the left, including increased national security through enhanced standing with the global south and an improved humanitarian situation for one of America's most vulnerable groups. An analysis of the United States' relationship to human rights treaties reveals that active negotiation, followed by delayed Executive signature and Senate consideration, are the norm. Seen within this historical context, the current lack of attention to the Convention appears typical of U.S. human rights treaty ratification practice, though the delay has been somewhat exacerbated by the controversial nature of immigration policy. The article proposes a typology for assessing treaty provisions, and uses this framework to analyze the Migrant Worker Convention’s potential impact on five politically sensitive U.S. questions: legalization, border policies, expedited removal, family unification for legal workers, and worksite raids. World Trade Organization President Pascal Lamy recently noted that "There are world organisations for trade, health, the environment, telecoms, food. There are two black holes in world governance: finance…and migration." U.S. engagement with the Migrant Worker Convention would help to address and contribute to a rational global approach to low-paid labor migration.

The Common Place of Law in the Uncommon World of Vietnamese Immigrants: The Vietnam War Refought in Massachusetts U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-18 WENDY DUONG, University of Denver Sturm College of Law [Blogger's note:  The study of Vietnamese refugees, and their experiences in teh United States, is much-needed.]

Abstract:  In the academic year 2000-2001, a legal dispute arose in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts (the “Massachusetts Dispute”). A group of Vietnamese Americans filed a lawsuit against the William Joiner Center (”WJC”) for the Study of War and Social Consequences, an academic branch of the University of Massachusetts-Boston (the “University”), alleging violations of Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination law. The Plaintiffs challenged the University’s selection of scholars for a Rockefeller Foundation-funded fellowship for the 2000-01 school year, contending that the University had excluded qualified first-generation Vietnamese Americans from participation in a research project called “Re-Constructing Identity and Place in the Vietnamese Diaspora” (The “WJC Project”). The Plaintiffs, all in retirement age, were political refugees or immigrants who escaped communist Vietnam during the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. Among the Plaintiffs were (i) the former South Vietnamese ambassador to United States, (ii) the Chancellor of a Buddhist University in South Vietnam, (iii) a former South Vietnamese lawyer, and (iii) several South Vietnamese military personnel who were jailed by the North Vietnamese at the time South Vietnam fell in 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War. These Plaintiffs also sought to become class representatives for all Vietnamese Americans similarly situated, but the trial court denied their motion for class certification. One year after the war ended, in 1976, the Vietnamese communist party reunited the two Vietnam’s into what is known today as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”). The new government’s policy was to imprison South Vietnamese military personnel and political dissidents in “reeducation camps” without a trial. It is common knowledge among the Vietnamese American community that “reeducation camps” were a euphemism for the Vietnamese equivalent of the Soviet Union’s gulag archipelago -- forced labor camps set up for the imprisonment of political dissidents. In Vietnam, the “gulag” was used for collaborators and local employees of the United States and the defunct South Vietnamese regime after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Vietnam’s “reeducation” policy was implemented in 1975 and continued until the early 1990s, when the Reagan Administration initiated immigration programs to bring South Vietnamese political prisoners to America. (There are not sufficient official data available to the West to ascertain whether those “camps,” or remnants of them, still exist today.) All throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, many Vietnamese chose to escape the new regime, including fleeing at sea, or immigrated to America as former political prisoners under humanitarian and immigration programs sponsored by the United States. Most notably tragic was the exodus of “boat people” from Vietnam – they either lost their lives at sea or crowded Southeast Asian refugee camps, posing an issue of conscience for the entire world. The flow of refugees dwindled down beginning in 1985, when Vietnam opened herself to the West under a ”renovation policy, combining a free market economy with a single-party Marxist political system. Personal freedom for the Vietnamese people also improved as a result of free market. In 1996, diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the U.S. were normalized and the first U.S. ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was appointed. The Plaintiffs were among those refugees and political immigrants. Having settled in America, they become part of the Vietnamese American community here. Needless to say, each Plaintiff has his own story to tell. These tales went back to the time of the Vietnam War, as well as what happened behind the new Vietnam’s iron curtain after the war ended. In the Superior Court of Massachusetts in Suffolk County, these Plaintiffs claimed that the University discriminated against them because they were anti-communist first-generation Vietnamese Americans over 40 years of age. The Plaintiffs’ supporters told their community that by selecting scholars from North Vietnam to study the Vietnamese diaspora, the University had opened old wounds that never healed, thereby revitalizing a two-decade war that had haunted the conscience of America. On August 27, 2004, the year prior to the 30th anniversary of Vietnamese resettlement in America and three years [CHECK] after the complaint was filed, the presiding judge dismissed the Plaintiffs’ case. The Plaintiffs have since appealed the dismissal order. Despite its notoriety within the Vietnamese American community, the lawsuit remains obscurely miniscule in the public domain, and hardly catches the attention of mainstream legal scholars or sociologists.

Task Specialisation, Immigration and Wages Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano Development Studies Working Paper No. 252 GIOVANNI PERI, University of California, Davis - Department of Economics CHAD SPARBER, Colgate University - Economics Department [Blogger's Note:  Professor Peri has written some of the best economics scholarship in recent years on the costs and benefits of immigration.]

Abstract:  Many workers with low levels of educational attainment immigrated to the United States in recent decades. In a simple model exploiting comparative advantage we show that if less-educated foreign and native-born workers specialize in performing different tasks, immigration will cause natives to reallocate their task supply, thereby reducing downward wage pressure. We merge occupational task-intensity data from the O*NET and DOT data sets with individual Census data across US states from 1960-2000 to demonstrate that foreign-born workers specialize in occupations that require manual and physical labor skills while natives pursue jobs more intensive in communication and language tasks. This increased specialization might explain why economic analyzes commonly find only modest wage and employment consequences of immigration for less-educated native-born workers across U.S. states.



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