Thursday, November 14, 2019
From the Bookshelves: The Arc of Protection; Reforming the International Refugee Regime T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Leah Zamore
The international refugee regime is fundamentally broken. Designed in the wake of World War II to provide protection and assistance, the system is unable to address the record numbers of persons displaced by conflict and violence today. States have put up fences and adopted policies to deny, deter, and detain asylum seekers. People recognized as refugees are routinely denied rights guaranteed by international law. The results are dismal for the millions of refugees around the world who are left with slender prospects to rebuild their lives or contribute to host communities. T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Leah Zamore lay bare the underlying global crisis of responsibility.
The Arc of Protection adopts a revisionist and critical perspective that examines the original premises of the international refugee regime. Aleinikoff and Zamore identify compromises at the founding of the system that attempted to balance humanitarian ideals and sovereign control of their borders by states. This book offers a way out of the current international morass through refocusing on responsibility-sharing, seeing the humanitarian-development divide in a new light, and putting refugee rights front and center.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
From the Bookshelves: Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion by Jane H. Hong
Over the course of less than a century, the U.S. transformed from a nation that excluded Asians from immigration and citizenship to one that receives more immigrants from Asia than from anywhere else in the world. Yet questions of how that dramatic shift took place have long gone unanswered. In this first comprehensive history of Asian exclusion repeal, Jane H. Hong unearths the transpacific movement that successfully ended restrictions on Asian immigration.
The mid-twentieth century repeal of Asian exclusion, Hong shows, was part of the price of America’s postwar empire in Asia. The demands of U.S. empire-building during an era of decolonization created new opportunities for advocates from both the U.S. and Asia to lobby U.S. Congress for repeal. Drawing from sources in the United States, India, and the Philippines, Opening the Gates to Asia charts a movement more than twenty years in the making. Positioning repeal at the intersection of U.S. civil rights struggles and Asian decolonization, Hong raises thorny questions about the meanings of nation, independence, and citizenship on the global stage.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
From the Bookshelves: Separated by the Border: A Birth Mother, a Foster Mother, and a Migrant Child's 3,000-Mile Journey by Gena Thomas
In 2017 five-year-old Julia traveled with her mother, Guadalupe, from Honduras to the United States. Her harrowing journey took her through Mexico in the cargo section of a tractor trailer. Then she was separated from her mother, who was held hostage by smugglers who exploited her physically and financially. At the United States border, Julia came through the processing center as an unaccompanied minor after being separated from her stepdad who was deported. Gena Thomas tells the story of how Julia came to the United States, what she experienced in the system, and what it took to reunite her with her family. A Spanish-speaking former missionary, Gena became Julia's foster mother and witnessed firsthand the ways migrant children experience trauma. Weaving together the stories of birth mother and foster mother, this book shows the human face of the immigrant and refugee, the challenges of the immigration and foster care systems, and the tenacious power of motherly love.
Former Missionary to Mexico Gena Thomas
Sunday, November 3, 2019
From the Bookshelves: Baby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America by Philip G. Schrag
Baby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America by Philip G. Schrag, University of California Press, Available January 2020.
“I worked in a trailer that ICE had set aside for conversations between the women and the attorneys. While we talked, their children, most of whom seemed to be between three and eight years old, played with a few toys on the floor. It was hard for me to get my head around the idea of a jail full of toddlers, but there they were.”
For decades, advocates for refugee children and families have fought to end the U.S. government’s practice of jailing children and families for months, or even years, until overburdened immigration courts could rule on their claims for asylum. Baby Jails is the history of that legal and political struggle. Philip G. Schrag, the director of Georgetown University’s asylum law clinic, takes readers through thirty years of conflict over which refugee advocates resisted the detention of migrant children. The saga began during the Reagan administration when 15-year-old Jenny Lisette Flores languished in a Los Angeles motel that the government had turned into a makeshift jail by draining the swimming pool, barring the windows, and surrounding the building with barbed wire. What became known as the Flores Settlement Agreement was still at issue years later, when the Trump administration resorted to the forced separation of families after the courts would not allow long-term jailing of the children. Schrag provides recommendations for the reform of a system that has brought anguish and trauma to thousands of parents and children. Provocative and timely, Baby Jails exposes the ongoing struggle between the U.S. government and immigrant advocates over the duration and conditions of confinement of children who seek safety in America.
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Bryan Caplan in Foreign Policy advocates for open borders and offers a short version of his new book In his view, "[t]he world’s nations, especially the world’s richest nations, are missing an enormous chance to do well while doing good. The name of this massive missed opportunity—and the name of my book on the topic—is `open borders.'
Critics of immigration often hyperbolically accuse their opponents of favoring open borders—a world where all nationalities are free to live and work in any nation they like. For most, that’s an unfair label: They want more visas for high-skilled workers, family reunification, or refugees—not the end of immigration restrictions. In my case, however, this accusation is no overstatement. I think that free trade in labor is a massive missed opportunity. Open borders are not only just but the most promising shortcut to global prosperity."
An economist, Caplan's new book Open Borders makes a bold case for unrestricted immigration in this fact-filled graphic nonfiction. Here is an abstract of teh book:
"American policy-makers have long been locked in a heated battle over whether, how many, and what kind of immigrants to allow to live and work in the country. Those in favor of welcoming more immigrants often cite humanitarian reasons, while those in favor of more restrictive laws argue the need to protect native citizens.
But economist Bryan Caplan adds a new, compelling perspective to the immigration debate: He argues that opening all borders could eliminate absolute poverty worldwide and usher in a booming worldwide economy—greatly benefiting humanity.
With a clear and conversational tone, exhaustive research, and vibrant illustrations by Zach Weinersmith, Open Borders makes the case for unrestricted immigration easy to follow and hard to deny."
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
From the Bookshelves: Research Handbook on International Refugee Law. Edited by Satvinder Singh Juss
Saturday, October 26, 2019
In this article, The Immigration Crisis Archive, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández looks at four interesting books on U.S. immigration nforcement. He contends that "a new consensus has emerged. Even today, something that liberals and conservatives agree on, surprisingly, is controlling immigration. Though they disagree on particulars, they believe that immigration can and should be limited. So, when it comes to US policies toward migrants, today’s cruelty is fundamentally bipartisan."
The somber conclusion reminds the reader that President Trump is not the first presiodent to employ mass detention as an immigration enforcement tool:
"Migration law and politics need the kind of pre- and post-Trumpian analysis that these books, with their historical insights and people-centered narratives, offer. It’s right to be indignant about the Trump administration’s policies. But it’s wrong to assume that the indignity the president relishes is new."
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
In an adaptation from his new book, Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West, H.W. Brands in Smithsonian Magazine looks back at the days when Mexico’s immigration troubles were driven by Americans illegally crossing into Mexico. After Mexico gained independence from Spain — and before Texas fought for its own independence, thousands of Americans crossed the border into Mexico seeking land and agricultural opportunity.
In Dreams of El Dorado, H.W. Brands tells the thrilling, panoramic story of the settling of the American West. He takes us from John Jacob Astor's fur trading outpost in Oregon to the Texas Revolution, from the California gold rush to the Oklahoma land rush. He shows how the migrants' dreams drove them to feats of courage and perseverance that put their stay-at-home cousins to shame-and how those same dreams also drove them to outrageous acts of violence against indigenous peoples and one another. The West was where riches would reward the miner's persistence, the cattleman's courage, the railroad man's enterprise; but El Dorado was at least as elusive in the West as it ever was in the East.
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Monday, October 14, 2019
On Columbus Day, the NY Times editorial board has published an essay reminding the country of how the Italians were once considered outside the boundaries of cultural belonging and over time became assimilated to the mainstream.
In the beginning, "Congress envisioned a white,Protestant and culturally homogeneous America when it declared in 1790 that only “free white persons, who have, or shall migrate into the United States” were eligible to become naturalized citizens. The calculus of racism underwent swift revision when waves of culturally diverse immigrants from the far corners of Europe changed the face of the country."
Recalling Matthew Frye Jacobson's history of US immigration, “Whiteness of a Different Color,” the essay describes a national panic that led Americans to adopt a more restrictive, politicized view of how whiteness was to be allocated. During this time, Italian immigrants like Christopher Columbus, went from racialized pariah status in the 19th century to white Americans in good standing in the 20th century.
The federal holiday honoring the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus — celebrated on Monday — was central to the process through which Italian-Americans were fully ratified as white during the 20th century. The rationale for the holiday was steeped in myth [a response to lynchings of 11 Italian immigrants in Louisiana], and allowed Italian-Americans to write a laudatory portrait of themselves into the civic record.
As the editorial team writes, "the history of Columbus Day and Italian immigrants offers a window onto the alchemy through which race is constructed in the United States, and how racial hierarchies can sometimes change."
Saturday, October 12, 2019
CNN reports on a troubling incident at Georgia Southern University. Students burned the books of a Cuban-American author on a grill following a lecture in which she argued with participants about white privilege and diversity. Jennine Capó Crucet visited the campus in Statesboro on Wednesday to discuss her 2015 novel, "Make Your Home Among Strangers," which students were assigned to read for their First Year Experience course. Multiple videos on social media show students gathered around a grill burning copies of Capó Crucet's novel and laughing.
so after our FYE book’s author came to my school to talk about it... these people decide to burn her book because “it’s bad and that race is bad to talk about”. white people need to realize that they are the problem and that their privilege is toxic. author is a woman of color. pic.twitter.com/HiX4lGT7Ci— elaina⭐️ (@elainaaan) October 10, 2019
Click here for more on this controversy.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Olivia Smith for ABC News reports on an undocumented immigrant for 15 years, Julissa Arce, 36, who successfully working her way up the Wall Street career ladder while hiding the fact she was undocumented. Arce, now a U.S. citizen, has devoted herself to activism supporting immigrants, including a college scholarship program and two books, My Underground American Dream, and, most recently, the young adult memoir, Someone Like Me, about her experiences living in America undocumented.
Thursday, October 3, 2019
It’s the year 2051, and in our family’s timeshare on Mars
my granddaughter has found my old copy of the Kurzban Immigration Law Sourcebook,
I’m sitting in the observation room in the late afternoon, large beverage in my hand.
The dissolving ice cube is a small miracle I can barely comprehend.
She enters in a cloud of red dust, flops into my lap like a baby elephant,
and fans the pages. There’s an avalanche of underlines and highlights
of things that I clearly needed to remember at one point,
but have no recollection of now.
She asks me what is it, and I say, it’s a book of spells.
I tell her once upon a time, this was more powerful
than the largest army. Because this told the army where the border was.
What’s border, she asks. Border is a kind of game that grown-ups used to play.
Was it fun? she smiles in mischievous wonder. I say, well some people really liked it.
People would get all dressed up and depending on where you were from,
you would wear different colors, or sing different songs.
Let’s play! She squeals as she bounds off my lap.
I say, but here’s the thing about borders. Once they are there,
It can get very intense. Like, remember yesterday when your brother
wanted to play with your giant lego spaceship and rather than sharing it,
you smashed it? Her eyes drop with her breath.
That’s what borders did to mountains.
That’s what borders did to families.
And the spell book helped? Cheeks hopeful hilltops. Yeah, I say. I studied
for a long time, and then I could do magic.
I cloaked a princess invisible so she could sneak past a blacked out dragon.
I turned the heart of a giant old toad inside out until he freed a prince from his dungeon.
I conjured golems of dead trees to protect two queens on their long journey home.
I made a mad king’s money vanish, and he even thanked me for it.
Her face crooks. What’s money? I say, money is a door
that only locks when you want it to.
Not missing a beat she asks, what’s a lock?
The condensation from my drink glass has mixed
with the blood-colored dust and has stained my hands.
I can’t stop thinking about all the times the magic didn’t work.
And how I will have to explain them to her someday.
The mother buried alive in the church that I failed to resurrect. The father with a son
was the same age as mine, but for whom I had no inn to offer. The crusade of children
in the desert I made no pilgrimage to comfort. And now my own worst voice comes out of their mouths
And tells me I was never any kind of wizard. Just a jester to a court bent on killing its audience.
That while I may claim to have saved a few drops,
there was an ocean that dried up on my watch.
What good is a book against men who burn them?
On Mars, the sun has set. I can’t find Earth. But I know it’s out there.
That blue fist holding so fast against what seems like infinite darkness.
What’s a lock?, I say,
My love, I don’t know if I can explain it well right now.
Please ask me again tomorrow.
Sunday, September 29, 2019
From the Bookshelves: Gringo Injustice: Insider Perspectives on Police, Gangs, and Law, 1st Edition Edited by Alfredo Mirandé
The recent mass shooting of 22 innocent people in El Paso by a lone White gunman looking to "Kill Mexicans" is not new. It is part of a long, bloody history of anti-Latina/o violence in the United States. Gringo Injustice brings this history to life, shedding critical light on the complex relationship between Latinas/os and the United States’ legal and judicial system.
Contributors with first-hand knowledge and experience, including former law enforcement officers, ex-gang members, attorneys, and community activists, share insider perspectives on the issues facing Latinas/os and initiate a critical dialogue on this neglected topic. Essays examine the unauthorized use of deadly force by police and patterned incidents of lynching, hate crimes, gang violence, and racial profiling. The book also highlights the hyper-criminalization of barrio youth and considers wide-ranging implications from the disproportionate imprisonment of Latinas/os. Gringo Injustice provides a comprehensive and powerful look into the Latina/o community’s fraught history with law enforcement and the American judicial system. It is an essential reference for students and scholars interested in intersections between crime and communities of Color, and for use in Sociology, Latino Studies, Ethnic Studies, Chicano Studies, Criminology, and Criminal Justice.
Here is the table of contents with chapter titles and authors:
Table of Contents
Saturday, September 28, 2019
In the search for top talent, Macarthur chose two immigrant writers who write about the migration experience. The poet and fiction writer Ocean Vuong, 30, wrote his first novel, "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous" as a Vietnamese immigrant son's letter to his illiterate mother.
Valeria Luiseli wrote a nonfiction memoir of her time as a translator in NYC immigration courts "Tell Me How It Ends" (2017) (previously profiled on ImmigrationProf blog). She also wrote about similar themes in the "Lost Children Archive" (2019), a fictionalized account of her own family’s road trip from New York to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, with stories of the unfolding Central American migration crisis woven into the narrative.
Explore their stories on social media with the hashtag #MacFellow, and check out all of the 2019 MacArthur Fellows.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Where Will I Live? is a children's picture book by Rosemary McCarney. Each page has just one sentence or part of a sentence as well as a nearly full page photograph of a real-world situation.
The book starts out dramatically: "Sometimes scary things happen to good people. When soldiers fight or danger comes families must pack their things and search for a safe place to live." The book then goes on to address the ways families might find a new home, what that new home might look like, and the hopes of finding friendship and welcome along the way.
It's a powerful book, especially for immprofs with younger children (or grandchildren) looking for a way to discuss their work in an age appropriate manner.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
From the Bookshelves: The Penguin Book of Migration Literature: Departures, Arrivals, Generations, Returns Edited by Dohra Ahmad
The Penguin Book of Migration Literature: Departures, Arrivals, Generations, Returns Foreword by Edwidge Danticat Edited by Dohra Ahmad (September 17, 2019)
Every year, three to four million people move to a new country. From war refugees to corporate expats, migrants constantly reshape their places of origin and arrival. This selection of works collected together for the first time brings together the most compelling literary depictions of migration.
Organized in four parts (Departures, Arrivals, Generations, and Returns), The Penguin Book of Migration Literature conveys the intricacy of worldwide migration patterns, the diversity of immigrant experiences, and the commonalities among many of those diverse experiences. Ranging widely across the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries, across every continent of the earth, and across multiple literary genres, the anthology gives readers an understanding of our rapidly changing world, through the eyes of those at the center of that change.
With thirty carefully selected poems, short stories, and excerpts spanning three hundred years and twenty-five countries, the collection brings together luminaries, emerging writers, and others who have earned a wide following in their home countries but have been less recognized in the Anglophone world. Editor of the volume Dohra Ahmad provides a contextual introduction, notes, and suggestions for further exploration.
Here is a review of the anthology.
Monday, September 16, 2019
From the Bookshelves: Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid by William D. Lopez
On a Thursday in November of 2013, Guadalupe Morales waited anxiously with her sister-in-law and their four small children. Every Latino man who drove away from their shared apartment above a small auto repair shop that day had failed to return―arrested, one by one, by ICE agents and local police. As the two women discussed what to do next, a SWAT team clad in body armor and carrying assault rifles stormed the room. As Guadalupe remembers it, "The soldiers came in the house. They knocked down doors. They threw gas. They had guns. We were two women with small children... The kids terrified, the kids screaming."
In Separated, William D. Lopez examines the lasting damage done by this daylong act of collaborative immigration enforcement in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Exploring the chaos of enforcement through the lens of community health, Lopez discusses deportation's rippling negative effects on families, communities, and individuals. Focusing on those left behind, Lopez reveals their efforts to cope with trauma, avoid homelessness, handle worsening health, and keep their families together as they attempt to deal with a deportation machine that is militarized, traumatic, implicitly racist, and profoundly violent.
Lopez uses this single home raid to show what immigration law enforcement looks like from the perspective of the people who actually experience it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with twenty-four individuals whose lives were changed that day in 2013, as well as field notes, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and his own experience as an activist, Lopez combines rigorous research with narrative storytelling. Putting faces and names to the numbers behind deportation statistics, Separated urges readers to move beyond sound bites and consider the human experience of mixed-status communities in the small everyday towns that dot the interior of the United States.
In More Than A Wall: Corporate Profiteering and the Militarization of US Borders, Todd Miller examines the role of the world’s largest arms (as well as a number of other security and IT) firms in shaping and profiting from the militarization of US borders. Through their campaign contributions, lobbying, constant engagement with government officials, and the revolving door between industry and government, these border security corporations and their government allies have formed powerful border–industrial complex that is a major impediment to a humane response to migration.
US President Donald Trump’s obsession with ‘building a wall’ on the US- Mexico border has both distorted and obscured public debate on border control. This is not just because there is already a physical wall – 650 miles of it – but because Trump’s theatrics and the Democrats’ opposition to his plans have given the impression that the Trump administration is forging a new direction on border control. A closer look at border policy over the last decades, however, shows that Trump is ratcheting up – and ultimately consolidating – a long-standing US approach to border control.
This report looks at the history of US border control and the strong political consensus – both Republican and Democrat – in support of border militarization that long pre-dates the Trump administration. It shows how this political consensus has been forged to a significant degree by the world’s largest arms (as well as a number of other security and IT) corporations that have made massive profits from the exponential growth of government budgets for border control. Through their campaign contributions, lobbying, constant engagement with government officials, and the revolving door between industry and government, these security corporations and their government allies have formed a powerful border–industrial complex. The evidence shows that it is these corporations – and their role in border infrastructure and policies – that have led to a predominantly militarized response to migration and thereby become the single biggest impediment to a humane response to migration.
Miller is also author of the books Border Patrol Nation and Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security.
Thursday, September 12, 2019
In the West African nation of Togo, applying for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery is a national obsession, with hundreds of thousands of Togolese entering each year. From the street frenzy of the lottery sign-up period and the scramble to raise money for the embassy interview to the gamesmanship of those adding spouses and dependents to their dossiers, the application process is complicated, expensive, and unpredictable. In The Fixer Charles Piot follows Kodjo Nicolas Batema, a Togolese visa broker—known as a “fixer”—as he shepherds his clients through the application and interview process. Relaying the experiences of the fixer, his clients, and embassy officials, Piot captures the ever-evolving cat-and-mouse game between the embassy and the hopeful Togolese as well as the disappointments and successes of lottery winners in the United States. These detailed and compelling stories uniquely illustrate the desire and savviness of migrants as they work to find what they hope will be a better life.
Hat tip to Alan Hyde!