Monday, July 31, 2017

San Francisco Police Chief Statement on Sanctuary Ordinance

Chief William Scott’s Statement on Department General Order 5.15

Before San Francisco Police Commission, July 5, 2017

As reflected in our City laws, it is the policy of the City and the Police Department to foster respect and trust between law enforcement and residents, to protect limited resources, to encourage cooperation between residents, City officials, and law enforcement to ensure community security.

The changes to the draft Department General Order reflect the laws as they exist today in 12H and 12I of the Administrative Code. The Department has issued Department bulletins to reflect the Administrative Code changes to our policies. We are taking existing language from those bulletins and incorporating them into the draft General Order. We have added language that reflects the prohibition against asking and disseminating the release status of an individual. We have also expressly incorporated procedures for confirming warrants that officers already follow. We have also made some formatting changes, moved text for the ease of reading, and added clarifying language.

We want to assure all residents and visitors of San Francisco that they can report crimes and cooperate with SFPD without fear of any member inquiring into his or her immigration status.

The updated policy outlines that SFPD members shall not stop, question, or detain individuals based on appearance, national origin, or limited English proficiency, or LEP; shall not require individuals to produce any documents to prove their immigration status; shall not assist with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, or Custom and Border Protection or CPB enforcing immigration laws; shall not arrest or detain an individual for an administrative warrant or a civil warrant. This policy and existing Department Bulletins provide samples of administrative ICE warrants; shall provide only emergency assistance to the extent members would respond to emergency assistance to any other law enforcement agency. For example, when the member determines there's an emergency posing a significant and immediate danger to the public safety of an ICE or CBP agent.  And this scenario when there's an enormous amount of supervision in place to make sure that that situation is properly supervised. Members providing emergency assistance to ICE or CBP shall immediately notify their supervisor and complete an incident report describing the reason for their assistance.

The policy also requires Department Bulletins to be issued as necessary to update members on recognizing the most current law enforcement database returns on both administrative and civil warrants. The policy distribution, the Department-as far as the policy distribution, the Department will provide an electronic copy of the policy to all members. Members will be required to review the policy and adhere to its requirements and members are required electronically acknowledge receipt and review of the policy. This allows for tracking and auditing of review.

As to training, training coordinators will be required to conduct roll call training on this policy department wide. Members will be required to sign the roll call training sheet and members will be provided with the hard copy of the updated department general order and department bulletin 17-016, "Prohibition on the Enforcement of Administrative Immigration Warrants." This bulletin assists members in identifying administrative warrants.

As to supervision, when notified that a member is providing emergency assistance to ICE or CBP, supervisors shall immediately respond to the location and ensure such assistance is warranted. If ICE and CBP requests assistance with an operation, members must obtain approval from their bureau Deputy Chief.

As to accountability, the Department will continue to meet with community stakeholders, that is LEP working group and others, city agencies including DPA, the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs to obtain feedback regarding member-compliance with this policy.

As to discipline, all violations of this policy will be thoroughly investigated and discipline imposed where appropriate.

And, finally, I'd like to reiterate than on January 31, 2017, I along with Mayor Ed Lee and Sheriff Vicki Hennessey, signed a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for those of you that aren't familiar it, I have a copy of it with me. That letter spells clearly the values of the City and County of San Francisco as it relates to us being a sanctuary city. And in the letter, I'll just summarize, we wrote to inform the secretary that

“In the interest of public safety of the City and County of San Francisco declines to participate in any agreement under Section 287(g) of the INA, that's 8 U.S.C. section 1357(g), referred to in section 8 and section 10 of the Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States and Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement executive orders respectively issued on January 25, 2017. The United States Supreme Court and other Federal Courts have repeatedly emphasized that the administration of immigration laws is the responsibility of the Federal Government, not cities and states.

“Our community policing efforts are effective only if we have trust and cooperation of the communities we are charged to protect.  Addressing local jurisdictions to become entangled in federal immigration enforcement and betray the trust and undermines the work our public safety departments have done to improve relations with our residents. We will not jeopardize the public safety of our community to do the job of the Federal Government. Our law abiding residents are safer when they can report crimes, get immunizations, and enroll their children in public schools. If cities acquiesce to your demands to carry out immigration enforcement, we will lose the trust of our community. San Francisco will continue to honor valid criminal warrants and local court orders as we always have, however, we encourage the Department of Homeland Security to work with congressional leaders to pass a comprehensive immigration reform in a thoughtful manner rather than asking states and cities to show that the failure of the Federal Government to address this issue.”

 And this letter was signed by myself, Sheriff Vicki Hennessey of the San Francisco Sheriffs Department, and Mayor Ed Lee. I think that that in and of itself summarizes our passion and our commitment to our city being a Sanctuary City to protect the rights of all residents and to enhance our public safety as it relates to this issue. Thank you.


July 31, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

October Immigration Fireworks in Supreme Court

ICE Enforcement Collateral Arrest Examples

From the San Jose Mercury News:

For the second time in two months, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have picked up two undocumented immigrant construction workers who were on their way to work in the morning and are holding them for deportation, leaving their wives and American-born children in limbo and their communities shaken.

In May, Hugo Mejia of San Rafael and Rodrigo Nuñez from Hayward — both undocumented immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico who have been in the United States for more than a decade — were detained on the Travis Air Force base in Fairfield after a military official discovered they did not have valid social security numbers during a routine identification screening and reported them to ICE.

Then early Thursday, ICE agents arrived at the Rainbow Apartments on Harris Road in Hayward allegedly looking to detain an undocumented immigrant who lives at the complex. Instead, they arrested two neighbors, according to the men’s families.

Antonio Valenzuela, 34, and Jose Salgado, 42, both undocumented immigrants with American-born children, were leaving the area at about 6 a.m. for work when they were trailed by ICE agents and stopped separately a short distance from the complex, according to their wives. Like Mejia and Nuñez, both men have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade.

Read more....


July 31, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC Davis Immigration Clinic Challenges Trump Administration's Immigration Programs


Stephen Magagnini for the Sacramento Bee wrote a very nice story about the great work of Professor Holly Cooper and the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic.


The Immigration Law Clinic, which is directed by Professors Cooper and Amagda Perez, was one of the first of its kind in the United States. Given its proximity to the Central Valley, California’s agricultural center, the Clinic is in a unique position to serve the state’s large community of both documented and undocumented immigrants. Over the years, the Clinic has represented people from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, and Eastern Europe.

The Clinic is one of the only clinics in the nation devoted to representing detained immigrants before the immigration court — challenging conditions of confinement and contesting their confinement in federal court.  Moreover, the Clinic emphasizes the critical intersection between immigration and criminal law, and the need to challenge unlawful and prolonged detention to ensure the rights of criminal immigrant defendants.  The Clinic stands alone in its statewide role providing critical advice to public defenders about the potential immigration consequences facing immigrant defendants.

Students interview clients and witnesses, conduct factual investigations, draft pleadings and motions, prepare legal briefs, prepare witnesses for direct and cross examination, and represent immigrants at hearings at the immigration court. Under the guidance of supervising attorneys, students research and develop legal arguments, collect facts, write trial briefs, and prepare clients and witnesses. The students also prepare federal court challenges to conditions of confinement and custody and represent clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with cutting-edge appellate representation.

The Clinic also engages the community in "know your rights" and naturalization workshops as well as other community-focused programs.  The Clinic has close relationship with California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.  Rooted in the farm worker movement of the 1960s led by César Chavez, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation is a privately funded rural justice center focused on serving farm workers and low-wage rural workers, regardless of their immigration status.

Immigration Law Clinic students consistently receive exceptional feedback from the immigration court regarding the high quality of their pre-hearing briefs and presentation of cases.  As one immigration judge told students after granting political asylum to their client, a victim of domestic violence and torture, “Today you have saved a life.” 


July 31, 2017 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Allan Hennessy

Photo Allan Hennessy via CNN

He's not a US immigrant, but a UK immigrant from Iraq. Allan Hennessy came to the UK from Iraq as an infant. He was born blind, but London offered  an operation that ended up restoring partial sight to Allan's left eye.

Allan and his family ended up seeking political asylum in the UK. They stayed and thrived.

Allan recently graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in law. He told the BBC: as "a blind, Muslim immigrant living in Britain today, there is so much more I have to do. The journey has only just begun."

You can learn more about Allan's journey from the BBC at this link.


July 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Hallelujah Dave by David Valdez


Hallelujah Dave by David Valdez  (2016)

A boy of Mexican immigrants has an unusual gift, the recollection of his birth. As he grows up in Middle America, he is rocked between mischief and love, elation and despair. He becomes entangled in the hippie movement of the ’60s. Later, in the midst of his chemistry studies at the University of Illinois, he becomes ensnarled in the Vietnam antiwar movement. It is there, in high school and college, where his life goals are crystallized and he maps out his life. There are things that he must do and must become. Yet somehow, impacting him are three short letters he received in his life and a chance meeting that changes everything. Though he tries, he cannot escape his future. It was made with hands bigger than his own.



July 31, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 30, 2017: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking day

July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.  Here is some background on human trafficking from the United Nations:

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Additionally, women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims, the report states.

In 2010, the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat this scourge. The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide. One of the crucial provisions in the Plan is the establishment of a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking, especially women and children.

The Trust Fund facilitates effective, on-the-ground assistance and protection to victims of trafficking, through grants to specialized NGOs. In the coming years, it aims to prioritize victims coming from a context of armed conflict and those identified among large refugee and migration flows. It will also focus its assistance to victims trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, organ removal, forced begging, forced criminality and emerging exploitative purposes (e.g. skin removal, online pornography).

In 2013, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action. Member States also adopted resolution A/RES/68/192 and designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. This resolution declared that such a day was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”

In September 2015, the world adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and embraced goals and targets on trafficking in persons. These goals call for an end to trafficking and violence against children; as well as the need for measures against human trafficking, and they strive for the elimination of all forms of violence against and exploitation of women and girls.

Another important development is the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, which produced the groundbreaking New York Declaration. Of the nineteen commitments adopted by countries in the Declaration, three are dedicated to concrete action against the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

‘Act to Protect and Assist Trafficked Persons’

This year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has chosen ‘act to protect and assist trafficked persons’ as the focus of the World Day. This topic highlights one of the most pressing issues of our time -- the large mixed migration movements of refugees and migrants. The theme puts the spotlight on the significant impact of conflict and natural disasters, as well as the resultant, multiple risks of human trafficking that many people face. It addresses the key issue concerning trafficking responses: that most people are never identified as trafficking victims and therefore cannot access most of the assistance or protection provided.

#HumanTrafficking #EndHumanTrafficking



July 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

In California's poultry plants, refugees are vital to the workforce


From the days of chronicled in Upton Sinclair's famous 1906 book The Jungle, immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, long have toiled in the meatpacking industry,  Today, immigrants, from Nebraska to Arkansas in America's heartland, immigrant workers dominate the meatpacking industry.  Cindy Carcamo for the Los Angeles Times reports that, in California, most of the meatpacking industry is located in the Central Valley. It has become one of the biggest employers for refugee resettlement agencies and other nonprofits aiding the population in those areas.  Middle Eastern refugees are now an important part of the meatpacking industry's workforce.


July 31, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

In Search of a New Approach to the Immigration “Problem”?


In this first part of a two part series on Salon, Anis Shivani looks critically at the U,S. immigration laws as a "human rights catastrophe" that must be addressed in those terms.  In the thoughtful analysis, Shivani makes a critical insight:  President Trump is not the source of the problem with contemporary immigration law and policy -- 

"Trump’s extreme disrespect for refugees and asylum claimants is strongly rooted in existing legislation. Indeed, it goes back to well-known instances in the 1950s — under the moral panic then induced by communism and the Cold War — with the courts upholding indefinite detention of refugees or returnees from Eastern Europe, even allowing them to be held on Ellis Island in a condition of permanent statelessness."

Watch out for the second installment next week:  How the restrictions on the rights of immigrants also restrict the rights of American citizens.


July 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Migrants in surge fare worse in immigration court than other groups

Julia Preston reports on the rapid rise in rates of in absentia  removal orders for asylum seekers who came in the "surge" of Central Americans fleeing criminal violence in 2014.  

Of nearly 100,000 parents and children who have come before the immigration courts since 2014, most asking for asylum, judges have issued rulings in at least 32,500 cases, court records show. The majority — 70 percent — ended with deportation orders in absentia.  Their cases are failing just as President Trump threatens to rapidly expand deportations.


Immigration courts have long had high rates of in absentia rulings, with one-quarter of all cases resolved by such decisions last year. But the rate for families who came in the border surge stands out as far higher, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Preston explains:  "Many immigrants did not understand what they were supposed to do to pursue their claims and could not connect with lawyers to guide them. Some just stayed away, fearing they could be deported directly from courthouses and choosing instead to take their chances in the immigration underground."


July 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

At the Movies: Dolores (2017), a documentary about Dolores Huerta (UFW)


A documentary film, Dolores, will be in theaters in September 2017.  Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87. With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother to eleven, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change. Directed by Peter Bratt.  

Dolores+Final+Poster Huerta



July 31, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Asylum Realothetical: Crudo Ecuador

Here's a tale from 2015 that would make an excellent exam question or in-class realothetical (a hypothetical plucked from real life). It's about Twitter, memes, and the former president of Ecuador.

Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado served as the president of Ecuador from 2007-2017. He was unusually available to his public on Twitter. That may not strike you as terribly uncommon given our current president's Twitter predilections, but think back a few years and consider whether you'd have been surprised to find a political leader reachable so directly.

Correa was known to respond to citizen problems raised via Twitter by tagging the person(s) or group(s) capable of addressing the issue and including this hashtag: #favoratender. That is, the president basically called other officials out and said "take care of this."

Pretty cool, right? You've got a problem, you raise it with the president. It gets handled.

There was a flip side to this accessibility.

Consider Crudo Ecuador ("Raw Ecuador") - an anonymous Facebook page that offered memes with scathing political commentary. The site had hundreds of thousands of followers.

The site's fatal mistake? Taking aim at the president with the meme replicated on the right. Ecuador had imposed a $42 tax on all online and overseas purchases. But, lo and behold, some Ecuadorians ran into the president in a mall in Holland and snapped a selfie. Crudo Ecuador turned the whole thing into a meme reminiscent of old MasterCard ads: "For the bigwigs that buy on the internet and impact the national product... a tax: $42 dollars. But getting caught at a luxurious mall in Europe shopping... priceless."

The president did not find this amusing.

On his weekly TV show, the president said "Let's see if it's so funny when we know his name." And then Crudo Ecuador was unmasked as a man by the name of Gabriel Gonzalez. His address, phone number, kids names and ages, even a disturbingly recent photograph were all published online.

He took his family and fled to another Ecuadorian city. He didn't tell anyone where he'd gone. But he received a floral delivery at this place of temporary refuge with this accompanying note:

I confess that it gives me great satisfaction and a great pleasure to know that you are passing some much deserved vacations here in the province of Guyas, which will give you a moment of relaxation after your not so appropriate activities.

At this point, Gonzalez relented. He posted this:

Usted copy

It's a thoroughly fascinating set up. What if instead of relenting, Gonazlez had fled to the US - would he be eligible for asylum? What if he fled to the US after his declaration of defeat - same result?

This story came to me from the podcast Reply All, Episode 25 Favor Atender. There is an accompanying article on Digg titled Ecuador's President Will Respond To You On Twitter. I encourage you to read the full coverage.


July 30, 2017 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

178 migrants found abandoned in trailer in Mexico

Earlier thus week, ImmigrationProf reported on the horrific deaths in San Antonio of migrants in who had been victimized by human traffickers.  Mexico also has seen a great deal of human trafficking through its territory with the rampant violence in Central America.  CNN reports that Mexican authorities rescued 178 Central American migrants found abandoned in a trailer in Veracruz state.  Those rescued Saturday included women and children, and are being housed in the nearby town of Tantima, about 400 miles away from the US-Mexico border.  Their health conditions were not immediately known.


Migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador fleeing violence and poverty travel through the state of Veracruz on their way to the United States. 
In December, Mexican officials rescued 110 migrants from Central and South America who were trapped inside a trailer in Veracruz, officials said.  They were en route to the United States, but the driver abandoned the vehicle when it crashed. Police officers responding to the crash heard screams coming from inside the trailer.

July 30, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

John Kelly Has Been Disastrous for Immigrants

Julianne Hing writes for The Nation:

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly did such an efficient job implementing Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda that he’s getting promoted. Trump announced in a surprise tweet Friday afternoon that Kelly will replace Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff.

“John has done a spectacular job at Homeland Security,” Trump tweeted. “He has been a true star of my Administration.”

Indeed, in the last six months, Kelly has turned the DHS into one of the most productive arms of the Trump administration. Kelly managed to translate much of Trump’s brazen anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric into actual policy. And if the numbers are any indication, Kelly has certainly flourished. Arrests since Trump took office in February increased by 40 percent over the prior year. But perhaps more important than the numbers is Kelly’s impact on immigrant communities, where apprehension and fear now reign. Read more...


July 29, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Border Protection Officers Appear To Encourage Mexican Teen To Drink From Bottle Containing Liquid Meth, Which Leads To His Death


Check out this ABC News report.

Footage released from 2013 shows two U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers who appear to encourage, or at least permit, a 16-year-old Mexican high school student to drink from a bottle that tests would later reveal contained concentrated liquid methamphetamine. Cruz Velazquez died within an hour of drinking the substance.  The two officers involved remain on the job today, with no disciplinary action having been taken against them.

The Velazquez family filed a civil lawsuit against the officers and the agency, claiming that the officers’ actions led to Cruz’s death.   The U.S. government settled the suit for $1 million. There was no apology or admission of wrongdoing.  Both officers testified that they never received a reprimand for their conduct


July 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke to be Acting DHS Secretary




Duke served as Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Management at the department under both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama She has had more than 28 years of experience with the federal government.[6]

Duke's nomination for Deputy Secretary of DHS received a hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in March 2017.  In April, she was confirmed by a vote of 85-14.

I am not sure whether Duke has immigration experience. 

CNN reports that Duke went to New Hampshire College for her undergraduate degree in business and received an MBA from Chaminade University of Honolulu.  According to DHS, Duke has received honors during her public service career, including the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, the DHS Secretary's Medal, the TSA Silver Medal for Customer Service, the Department of the Army Commander's Award for Public Service, and the Coast Guard's Distinguished Public Service Medal.


July 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trump's Ends Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion in Removals, Immigration Court Backlogs Grow


The American Immigration Council's Immigrant Impact reports on a troubling development in the immigration courts.  Due to the Trump administration's decision to end the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in seeking to bring removal cases, the backlogs of cases in the immigration courts is growing.

The Department of Justice announced last month that it now has hired 326 immigration judges, 53 more judges than July 2016, yet during that time the immigration court backlog has grown. According to new data released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) the reason for this may be due to the fact that the Trump administration has nearly ended the use of prosecutorial discretion to close cases, forcing judges to place them all on their dockets.

According to TRAC, from February through June of 2016, the Obama administration closed an average of approximately 2,400 cases per month by using prosecutorial discretion in immigration court. During the same period in 2017, under the Trump administration, fewer than 100 cases were closed per month. This amounts to a 96 percent drop in the use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration removal proceedings.


July 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

President Trump Declares War on MS-13



President Trump has declared war on MS-13 and has threatened to remove immigrant MS-13 members.  But the war may be hard to win in light of the fear within immigrant communities that cooperating with local police mayt result in their deportation.  

CNN reports on the violence of this gang as well as the challenges posed by combating MS-13 violence.  According to the report, several people familiar with MS-13, including two gang members themselves, told CNN they think Trump's crackdown on immigrants is actually making MS-13 stronger because witnesses are more reluctant to come forward for fear of being deported.

"I think it's emboldening them, because this gives them the opportunity to tell immigrants, 'What are you gonna do? Are you going to report us? They're deporting other innocent people ... (so) they're going to associate you with us by you coming forward,'" said Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator with Make the Road, an immigrant advocacy group.
This story in The Atlantic questions whether the Trump administration has a solid strategy for removing MS-13 members from the United States and raises the question whether mass removals of gang members from the United States to El Salvador will increase gang violence and increase the numbers of migrants fleeing to the United States.

July 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Politics of Fantasy: Immigration policy in the UK after Brexit


In The Politics of Fantasy: Immigration policy in the UK after Brexit, Alasdair Palmer and David Wood look carefully at the implementation of Brexit:  "Rather than either endorsing or criticising the majority’s apparent belief that native Britons must be worse off with high levels of immigration, our purpose is to examine carefully what, in terms of concrete and effective policies, the Government can do to keep its promise to reduce annual net migration to below 100,000. Will anything actually work to achieve that result? What will be the costs of effective policies? Will the costs – economic and otherwise – outweigh the benefits? And are British taxpayers prepared to pay those costs? If they are not – should they be?"


July 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Search of Common Values amid Large-Scale Immigrant Integration Pressures


This report from the Migration Policy Institute looks at the pressures on immigrant integration in Europe.  The rapid arrival of historic numbers of refugees and migrants in 2015–16 reignited discussions in Europe about the rights and obligations of visibly and religiously different members of society. Burqa or burqini bans, for example, have focused attention on the clash between different value systems.

Restrictions on Islamic Dress in Europe

This map displays restrictions on Islamic dress that have been proposed or passed, by country. Click on any of the countries highlighted in blue for a description of the proposed or enacted restriction, date and status, and possible penalty.

While immigration and other types of social change are frequently painted as enemies of common values, it is often unclear exactly which values critics see as under threat. European countries have employed a range of tools—from closed-door commissions of experts to national dialogues and massive online surveys—to better pinpoint the values shared by members of their societies, meeting with mixed success. The rise of populist, far-right parties and deepening polarization has complicated this process. Governments face the twin challenges of supporting newcomer integration at a time when the social values they are being asked to adopt are themselves in flux, and of strengthening institutions that mediate and resolve conflicts over values.

Drawing on examples of values-based conflicts, legislation, arbitration, and compromise from across Europe, this report explores the tradeoffs policymakers face as they seek to define and promote shared values. Key lessons learned include:

  • Programs that communicate and instill shared values are often narrowly targeted to newcomers, particularly refugees and asylum seekers; expanding them to include second-generation and temporary immigrants and the native born would help strengthen a common understanding of values and create room for dialogue between groups.
  • While policies that restrict minority practices may be politically popular, such measures run the risk of further alienating marginalized communities and should be used sparingly.
  • A number of institutions—including intercultural councils, mediation services, and local dialogues—have shown promise in mediating cultural disputes. Supporting such initiatives will broaden the options for resolving conflicts before they reach a crisis point and without invoking the full, symbolic weight of the justice system.



July 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)