Category Archives: Immigration

The State Effect: Theorizing Immigration Politics in Arizona

Source: Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Social Problems, Vol. 64 no. 2, May 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
How do perceptions of the state shape social movements’ strategies? Drawing on 16 months of participant observation and 70 interviews with activists in Arizona, this article illustrates how the politics of immigration plays out at the grassroots level as a struggle between expanding and restricting the state. Pro-immigrant activists in this study contended that the problem of undocumented migration resulted from the state’s unchecked coercive power. Experiencing this strong-state effect, pro-immigrant activists’ tactics focused on limiting the state’s reach and reinforcing society’s capacity to resist the state. Meanwhile, immigration restrictionist activists attributed the problem of undocumented immigration to the state’s feebleness as a policing entity. In response to this weak-state effect, restrictionist tactics tried to expand the state’s scope and build society’s ability to aid the state. The article concludes by discussing how the strong/weak-state effect framework helps illuminate the field of social relations in which an activist group is embedded and provides an avenue for exploring the relationship between state practices and social movements.

Health Care Workers Bring Sanctuary Movement into the Union

Source: Porfirio Quintano, Labor Notes, April 13, 2017

I had no money and spoke no English when I illegally crossed the border into California 23 years ago, but I worked hard and fought for the right to stay here.

Had I made that harrowing journey this year, I’m sure I’d be deported right back into the crosshairs of the Honduran government’s death squads that had targeted me and many other community organizers.

Instead I quickly won a grant of political asylum—and later received full American citizenship.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones. At the San Francisco hospital where I work, nine out of 10 members of my union are foreign-born. We never ask anyone about their immigration status, but I know several green card holders who are getting ready to apply for citizenship now that their place in America seems less secure.

People might think the Bay Area is one big protective cocoon for immigrants, but that’s not the case. The suburb where I live is not a sanctuary city. And my elected county sheriff contracts with the Department of Homeland Security to house people awaiting deportation hearings.

Who can my co-workers count on if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents come looking for them or their family members? Our union, thankfully…..

Abolishing Immigration Prisons

Source: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Boston University Law Review, Vol. 97, No. 245, 2017

From the abstract:
The United States has a long and inglorious history of coercive state practices of social control that are motivated, explicitly or implicitly, by race. From chattel slavery to modern incarceration, state actors have regularly marginalized, demonized, and exploited people racialized as nonwhite. Immigration imprisonment—the practice of confining people because of a suspected or confirmed immigration law violation—fits neatly into this ignoble tradition. The United States’ half million immigration prisoners, who are overwhelmingly Latino, were almost all pushed and pulled to leave their countries of origin in part by policies promoted or supported by the United States. Yet, once here, Latin American migrants are relegated to a legal system that treats them as confineable based merely on their status.

Even worse is that the practice of immigration imprisonment, as designed and operated, has stripped migrants of their inherent dignity as humans and has instead commodified them into a source of revenue. For immigration prisoners, the prison operates as a means of segregation and stigmatization: immigration prisoners are segregated from the political community and perceived to be dangerous. For other migrants who, for the time being at least, avoid imprisonment, the prison symbolizes the state’s brute power. For the vast network of interested parties who have invested deeply in immigration imprisonment, the prison marks the location of production. Paid according to the number of people locked up, private prisons and local governments profit from human bondage. Meanwhile, opportunistic politicians reap political rewards by pointing to barbed wire perimeters and sizeable prison populations as evidence of their efforts to protect the nation.

This Article is the first to argue that immigration imprisonment is inherently indefensible and should be abolished. The United States should instead adopt an alternative moral framework of migrants and migration that is grounded in history and attuned to human fallibility. Doing so will help discourage harmful immigration rhetoric steeped in myths of migrant criminality and will foster better understanding of migrants and their reasons for coming to the United States.

Keeping Families Together: Why All Americans Should Care About What Happens to Unauthorized Immigrants

Source: Silva Mathema, Center for American Progress, March 16, 2017

The main findings of this brief are as follows:
• Nationwide, about 16.7 million people in the country have at least one unauthorized family member living with them in the same household.
• More than 8 million U.S. citizens, of which 1.2 million are naturalized citizens, have at least one unauthorized family member living with them.
• More than 5.9 million citizen children, U.S. born and naturalized, live with at least one family member who is unauthorized.
• California, Texas, and Nevada, are the top three states that will be most heavily affected by an anti-immigrant policy because they have the highest percent of U.S.-born population with at least one unauthorized family member living with them.
• But even states with smaller immigrant populations, such as Nebraska, Arkansas, and Kansas, will also be affected, because they have high percentages of naturalized citizens who have unauthorized family members living in the same household.
See also:
Interactive: State-by-State Estimates of the Family Members of Unauthorized Immigrants

Do Large Employers Treat Racial Minorities More Fairly? A New Analysis Of Canadian Field Experiment Data

Source: Rupa Banerjee, Jeffrey G. Reitz, Phil Oreopoulos, University of Toronto, January 25, 2017

Analysis of amended data from a large e-scale Canadian employment audit study (Oreopoulos 2011) shows that large employers with over 500 employees discriminate against applicants with Asian (Chinese, Indian or Pakistani) names in the decision to call for an interview, about half as often as smaller employers. The audit involved submission of nearly 13,000 computer-generated resumes to a sample of 3,225 jobs offered online in Toronto and Montreal in 2008 and 2009 for which university-trained applicants were requested by email submission. An organization-size difference in employer response to Asian names on the resume exists when the Asian-named applicant has all Canadian qualifications (20% disadvantage for large employers, almost 40% disadvantage for small employers) and when they have some or all foreign qualifications (35% disadvantage for large employers, over 60% disadvantage for small employers). Discrimination in smaller organizations is most pronounced in considering applicants for jobs at the highest skill levels. As well, whereas the Asian-name disadvantage is overcome in large organizations when the applicant has an additional Canadian master’s degree, this is not the case in smaller organizations. It is suggested that large organizations discriminate less frequently because they have more resources devoted to recruitment, a more professionalized human resources recruitment process, and greater experience with a diverse staff complement. Experimentation with anonymized resume review may be an inexpensive way that organizations can test their own hiring procedures for discrimination.
Related:
Asian Last Names Lead To Fewer Job Interviews, Still
Source: Jenny J. Chen, NPR, February 23, 2017

Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes
Source: Philip Oreopoulos, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol. 3, no. 4, November 2011
(subscription required)

Understanding the Economic Impact of the H-1B Program on the U.S.

Source: John Bound, Gaurav Khanna, Nicolas Morales, NBER Working Paper No. 23153, February 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Over the 1990s, the share of foreigners entering the US high-skill workforce grew rapidly. This migration potentially had a significant effect on US workers, consumers and firms. To study these effects, we construct a general equilibrium model of the US economy and calibrate it using data from 1994 to 2001. Built into the model are positive effects high skilled immigrants have on innovation. Counterfactual simulations based on our model suggest that immigration increased the overall welfare of US natives, and had significant distributional consequences. In the absence of immigration, wages for US computer scientists would have been 2.6% to 5.1% higher and employment in computer science for US workers would have been 6.1% to 10.8% higher in 2001. On the other hand, complements in production benefited substantially from immigration, and immigration also lowered prices and raised the output of IT goods by between 1.9% and 2.5%, thus benefiting consumers. Finally, firms in the IT sector also earned substantially higher profits due to immigration.
Related:
Using H-1B Visas To Help Outsource IT Work Draws Criticism, Scrutiny
Source: NPR, All Things Considered, February 13, 2017

Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy: Evidence from the Mexican Bracero Exclusion

Source: Michael A. Clemens, Ethan G. Lewis, Hannah M. Postel, National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 23125, February 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
An important class of active labor market policy has received little rigorous impact evaluation: immigration barriers intended to improve the terms of employment for domestic workers by deliberately shrinking the workforce. Recent advances in the theory of endogenous technical change suggest that such policies could have limited or even perverse labor-market effects, but empirical tests are scarce. We study a natural experiment that excluded almost half a million Mexican ‘bracero’ seasonal agricultural workers from the United States, with the stated goal of raising wages and employment for domestic farm workers. We build a simple model to clarify how the labor-market effects of bracero exclusion depend on assumptions about production technology, and test it by collecting novel archival data on the bracero program that allow us to measure state-level exposure to exclusion for the first time. We cannot reject the hypothesis that bracero exclusion had no effect on U.S. agricultural wages or employment, and find that important mechanisms for this result include both adoption of less labor-intensive technologies and shifts in crop mix.

Get Your Protest On: Tips for Taking It to the Streets

Source: Rebecca Givan, Labor Notes, February 9, 2017

On January 28 I woke up, heard the news about immigrants being detained because of the president’s executive order, and decided to head over to New York’s JFK Airport. …

…. My union often participates in actions beyond our own workplaces, but because this executive order happened so suddenly, we had no time to get organized….

This was a large, safe protest where many participants didn’t have much protest experience. Here are a few lessons and observations:

1. Dress warmly and flexibly. ….
2. Wear your union logo on your sleeve, sign, or shirt. ….
3. Bring your own sign. ….
4. Bring supplies to share with others. ….
5. Manage your food and water intake. ….
6. Trust community groups and organizers. ….
7. Affected communities to the front. ….
8. Elected officials help. ….
9. Numbers matter. ….
10. Lawyers can work in parallel to protestors. ….
11. Use what you’ve got. ….
12. Use social media well. ….
13. Share good news. ….
14. When you get home, tell people you were there. ….

How the Black Lives Matter Movement Is Mobilizing Against Trump

Source: Brandon Ellington Patterson, Mother Jones, February 7, 2017

Donald Trump repeatedly expressed hostility towards Black Lives Matter activists during his presidential campaign, particularly for their efforts to confront police brutality. Now, faced with a Trump agenda whose repercussions for African Americans could reach far beyond policing, BLM organizers say they are broadly expanding their mission. …. In the wake of Trump’s immigration order, BLM organizers mobilized their networks to turn out at airports to protest. The groups also fired up their social media networks to amplify calls for the release of detained travelers. BLM leaders say their strategy will evolve as more details become known about what Trump plans to do on matters ranging from policing and reproductive rights to climate change and LGBT issues. They will focus on combating what they see as Trump’s hostile, retrograde agenda—and that of right-wing politicians emboldened by Trump—primarily at the state and local levels. ….