Category Archives: Immigration

Who are the “Illegals”? The Social Construction of Illegality in the United States

Source: René D. Flores, Ariela Schachter, American Sociological Review, Volume: 83 Number: 5, October 2018
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From the abstract:
Immigration scholars have increasingly questioned the idea that “illegality” is a fixed, inherent condition. Instead, the new consensus is that immigration laws produce “illegality.” But can “illegality” be socially constructed? When initially judging who is an “illegal immigrant,” common observers and even authorities typically do not rely on an individual’s documentation. Instead, people rely on shared stereotypes to assign “illegality” to certain bodies, a condition we refer to as “social illegality.” Ethnographers have documented that individual traits like occupation or national-origin may trigger illegality suspicions, but it is not clear how widespread these stereotypes are, or whether all stereotypes are equally consequential. To address this question, we examine the personal attributes shaping perceived “illegality.” We apply a paired conjoint survey experiment on a nationally representative sample of 1,515 non-Hispanic white U.S. adults to assess the independent effect of each dimension. We find that national origin, social class, and criminal background powerfully shape perceptions of illegality. These findings reveal a new source of ethnic-based inequalities—“social illegality”—that may potentially increase law enforcement scrutiny and influence the decisions of hiring managers, landlords, teachers, and other members of the public.

Amid Legal and Political Uncertainty, DACA Remains More Important Than Ever

Source: Tom K. Wong, Sanaa Abrar, Tom Jawetz, Ignacia Rodriguez Kmec, Patrick O’Shea, Greisa Martinez Rosas, and Philip E. Wolgin, Center for American Progress, August 15, 2018

Note: The survey results can be found here. For more information on the survey, please contact Tom K. Wong.

Since it was first announced on June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has provided work authorization as well as temporary relief from deportation to approximately 822,000 undocumented young people across the United States.

From July 16 to August 7, 2018, Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego; United We Dream; the National Immigration Law Center; and the Center for American Progress fielded a national survey to further analyze the experiences of DACA recipients. The study includes 1,050 DACA recipients in 41 states as well as the District of Columbia.

This research, as with previous surveys, shows that DACA recipients are making significant contributions to the economy and their communities. In all, 96 percent of respondents are currently employed or enrolled in school.

….Several years of data, including this 2018 survey, make clear that DACA is having a positive and significant effect on wages. The average hourly wage of respondents increased by 78 percent since receiving DACA, from $10.32 per hour to $18.42 per hour. Among respondents 25 years and older, the average hourly wage increased by 97 percent since receiving DACA. These higher wages are not only important for recipients and their families but also for tax revenues and economic growth at the local, state, and federal levels…..

Parents Were Targeted Under The “Zero Tolerance” Policy, A New Analysis Of Immigration Data Finds

Source: Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News, August 2, 2018

The Trump administration said family separation was the result of a “zero tolerance” prosecution strategy. But a new analysis shows that parents with children were the ones sent to court, while adults without kids weren’t.

Related:
“Zero Tolerance” at the Border: Rhetoric vs. Reality
Source: TRAC Immigration, July 24, 2018

….Family separations, the Administration stated, was the inevitable consequence of prosecuting everyone caught illegally entering this country. As the press widely reported, “[t]he Justice Department can’t prosecute children along with their parents, so the natural result of the zero-tolerance policy has been a sharp rise in family separations. Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from parents during six weeks in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.”

However, since less than a third of adults apprehended illegally crossing the border were actually referred for prosecution, the stated justification does not explain why this Administration chose to prosecute parents with children over prosecuting adults without children who were also apprehended in even larger numbers. As shown in Table 1, the total number of adults apprehended without children during May 2018 was 24,465. This is much larger than the 9,216 adults that the administration chose to prosecute that month.

Thus, the so-called zero-tolerance policy didn’t as a practical matter eliminate prosecutorial discretion. Since less than one out of three adults were actually prosecuted, CBP personnel had to choose which individuals among those apprehended to refer to federal prosecutors[4]. The Administration has not explained its rationale for prosecuting parents with children when that left so many other adults without children who were not being referred for prosecution…..

State Constitutions in the Era of a Shifting Supreme Court

Source: Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Government Law Center at Albany Law SchoolJuly 23, 2018

The Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Government Law Center at Albany Law School recently hosted “How Can State Constitutions Respond to a Shifting Supreme Court?” to examine the role state constitutions can play if the Supreme Court begins to roll back federal protections.

With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and the recent nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to take his place, the Supreme Court is expected to shift further to the conservative end of the ideological spectrum, with the potential for weakening or even extinguishing important constitutional protections.

Much attention is being paid to the possible implications for reproductive rights, protections for immigrants, affirmative action, environmental protections, LGBTQ rights, and other issues. So what does it mean for New Yorkers — or for states more generally? Although we often don’t think of state constitutions, many of them offer protections above and beyond what is provided in the federal Constitution.

What role can state constitutions play if the Supreme Court begins to weaken federal protections? In many ways, your position on the states-versus-federal rights issue often depends upon where you sit. Last year the Rockefeller Institute and Government Law Center at Albany Law School issued a report on the topic.

Related:
Protections in the New York State Constitution Beyond the Federal Bill of Rights
Source: Edited by Scott N. Fein and Andrew B. Ayers, the Government Law Center at Albany Law School and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, April 18, 2017

Is immigration bad for the economy? 4 essential reads

Source: Bryan Keogh, Nicole Zelniker, The Conversation, July 3, 2018

….Economists and other scholars have been tackling this topic for years, resulting in many studies that explore the effect immigrants of different stripes have on the economy.

All in all, scholars who have written for The Conversation have concluded immigration’s impact is actually quite positive….

Living in the Shadows: Latina Domestic Workers in the Texas-Mexico Border Region

Source: Linda Burnham, Lisa Moore, Emilee Ohia, A.Y.U.D.A. Inc., Comité de Justicia Laboral, Fuerza del Valle Workers’ Center, National Domestic Workers Alliance, 2018

In 2016, three community-based organizations that operate in the Texas–Mexico border region collaborated on a participatory research project. A.Y.U.D.A. Inc., Fuerza del Valle Workers’ Center and Comité de Justicia Laboral/Labor Justice Committee trained 36 women from the local communities as surveyors. The surveyors, most of them domestic workers themselves, interviewed 516 housecleaners, nannies and care workers for people with disabilities or for the elderly who work in private homes. The survey was conducted in Spanish and was composed of a standardized set of questions focused on work arrangements, working conditions, the impact of low pay on workers’ lives, injuries and abuse on the job and citizenship status.

This report, the result of the surveyors’ hard work knocking on doors, gaining trust and gathering data, is the very first quantitative study of a sizable number of domestic workers in the Texas–Mexico border region. The data provides us with a fact-based portrait of the difficult conditions domestic workers in the region face. The report findings will be used to shape ongoing organizing and advocacy to improve conditions and end workplace abuse. Our hope is that it will also shape the thinking of policy makers and encourage further research about working conditions along the border.

Related:

The Price of Domestic Workers’ Invisible Labor in U.S. Border Towns
Source: Sarah Holder, The Atlantic, June 25, 2018

An Overview of U.S. Immigration Laws Regulating the Admission and Exclusion of Aliens at the Border

Source: Hillel R. Smith, Congressional Research Service, CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10150, June 15, 2018

Reports of a “migrant caravan” traveling from Central America to the United States have sparked considerable attention on the treatment of non-U.S. nationals (aliens) without legal immigration status who are arrested at or near the U.S.-Mexico border. The “caravan” comprises aliens primarily from Honduras, many of whom purportedly came to the United States to escape crime and political instability in their native countries. In recent months, there has been a marked increase in the number of apprehensions of aliens at the border seeking to unlawfully enter the country, with roughly three times as many border apprehensions in May 2018 compared to the same time last year.

In response to this influx of unauthorized border crossings, President Trump and other administration officials have called for stricter immigration laws and enhanced border security. In addition, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a “zero tolerance” policy to criminally prosecute aliens who unlawfully enter the United States at the southern border; a policy which has reportedly led to the separation of children from parents awaiting prosecution for unlawful entry. The Administration and its supporters argue that these policies serve as a “tough deterrent” that is necessary to curb illegal border crossings. Opponents of these policies claim that U.S. immigration laws offer inadequate protections for those seeking a “safe haven” in the United States, and some have also legally challenged the separation of families on constitutional grounds.

The situation at the border and U.S. immigration authorities’ response to it has prompted significant attention and, in some cases, confusion regarding the governing laws and policies. This Legal Sidebar briefly examines the laws governing the admission and exclusion of aliens at the border, including the procedures for aliens seeking asylum and the circumstances in which arriving aliens may be detained. The Sidebar also addresses special rules concerning the treatment of unaccompanied alien children (UACs), as well as legislative proposals that would alter the scope of protections for arriving aliens at the border. A concluding Table provides an overview of the existing laws governing the detention and removal process for aliens.

DACA Rescission: Legal Issues and Litigation Status

Source: Ben Harrington, Congressional Research Service, CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10136, May 23, 2018

…. Collectively, the lawsuits to preserve DACA and to force its termination raise the related issues of whether DHS offered an adequate justification for the DACA rescission and whether DHS lacks, as Attorney General Sessions concluded, statutory and constitutional authority to administer DACA.

Enactment of statutory protections for certain childhood arrivals would likely moot the lawsuits in substantial part or entirely, but a range of legislative proposals to this effect—including those considered during open debate on the Senate floor in February 2018 in the wake of a government shutdown over the childhood arrivals issue—have not resulted in new law. Some Members have continued to pursue similar legislative efforts, however. ….