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  • Author: Ricardo Gomez, Bryce Clayton, Sara Vannini
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: The growing numbers of vulnerable migrants seeking shelter and refuge in the United States and Europe are finding increased racism and xenophobia as well as renewed efforts by humanitarian volunteers to offer them aid, sanctuary, and protection. This article sets forth a typology to better understand the motivations of volunteers working to help migrants in need of humanitarian assistance. Why do people go out of their way to offer humanitarian aid to someone they do not know and, in some cases, they will never meet? What are the drivers of altruistic behavior of humanitarian volunteers in the face of rising injustice, nationalism, and xenophobia? In answer to these questions, we offer a typology centered on empathic concern, differentiating secular/faith-based motivations, and deontological/moral-virtue motivations, with particular behaviors in each of the four resulting categories: the Missionary Type, the Good Samaritan Type, the Do Gooder Type, and the Activist Type. We also suggest four additional self-centered (non-altruistic, or not-other-centered) types (Militant, Crusader, Martyr, and Humanitarian Tourist). The nuances offered by this typology can help organizations working with migrants and refugees better understand and channel the enthusiasm of their volunteers and better meet the needs of the vulnerable populations they serve. This is especially important at a time when migration is being criminalized and when humanitarian aid is deemed unpatriotic, if not outright illegal. In the face of increased nationalistic and xenophobic messages surrounding migration, we need to articulate the altruistic humanitarian motivations of volunteers in the context of migration aid. Our typology may also be used to understand altruistic behaviors in other contexts such as disaster relief, community organization and activism, international adoptions, or organ donations to strangers, among others, in which altruistic empathic concern can be an important motivation driving people to act for the well-being of distant others.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Migration, Nationalism, Xenophobia
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Robert Warren
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: This report presents estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in 2018, highlighting demographic changes since 2010. The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) compiled these estimates based primarily on information collected in the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The annual CMS estimates of undocumented residents for 2010 to 2018 include all the detailed characteristics collected in the ACS. [1] A summary of the CMS estimation procedures, as well as a discussion of the plausibility of the estimates, is provided in the Appendix. The total undocumented population in the United States continued to decline in 2018, primarily because large numbers of undocumented residents returned to Mexico. From 2010 to 2018, a total of 2.6 million Mexican nationals left the US undocumented population; [2] about 1.1 million, or 45 percent of them, returned to Mexico voluntarily. The decline in the US undocumented population from Mexico since 2010 contributed to declines in the undocumented population in many states. Major findings include the following: The total US undocumented population was 10.6 million in 2018, a decline of about 80,000 from 2017, and a drop of 1.2 million, or 10 percent, since 2010. Since 2010, about two-thirds of new arrivals have overstayed temporary visas and one-third entered illegally across the border. The undocumented population from Mexico fell from 6.6 million in 2010 to 5.1 million in 2018, a decline of 1.5 million, or 23 percent. Total arrivals in the US undocumented population from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — despite high numbers of Border Patrol apprehensions of these populations in recent years — remained at about the same level in 2018 as in the previous four years. [3] The total undocumented population in California was 2.3 million in 2018, a decline of about 600,000 compared to 2.9 million in 2010. The number from Mexico residing in the state dropped by 605,000 from 2010 to 2018. The undocumented population in New York State fell by 230,000, or 25 percent, from 2010 to 2018. Declines were largest for Jamaica (−51 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (−50 percent), Ecuador (−44 percent), and Mexico (−34 percent). The results shown here reinforce the view that improving social and economic conditions in sending countries would not only reduce pressure at the border but also likely cause a large decline in the undocumented population. Two countries had especially large population changes — in different directions — in the 2010 to 2018 period. The population from Poland dropped steadily, from 93,000 to 39,000, while the population from Venezuela increased from 65,000 to 172,000. Almost all the increase from Venezuela occurred after 2014.
  • Topic: Migration, Border Control, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • Author: Dan Tsahor
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This study follows the events that caused the depopulation of the village of Zakariyya, south of the Jaffa-Jerusalem road, during the summer of 1950. Using documents from state and military archives, the article constructs the story of the villagers’ expulsion and explores the role of the little-known Transfer Committee in initiating and promoting postwar expulsions of Palestinians from the newly established State of Israel. A close reading of the actions of individual committee members over the course of events uncovers both the Transfer Committee’s modus operandi and the ostensible rationale for the postwar depopulation of the village. The article argues that by packing the committee with representatives of major Israeli power centers, Chair Yosef Weitz in effect laid the groundwork for the continuing expulsion of Palestinians from Israel after the establishment of the state.
  • Topic: Migration, Population, Rural, Settler Colonialism, Nation-State
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Seth Anziska
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: A 2019 investigation by the Israeli NGO Akevot and Haaretz newspaper has uncovered official suppression of crucial documents about the Nakba in Israeli archives. The Journal of Palestine Studies is publishing print excerpts and a full online version of the buried “migration report,” which details Israel’s depopulation of Palestinian villages in the first six months of the 1948 war, a document that clearly undermines official Israeli state narratives about the course of events. In methodical fashion, this report provides contemporaneous documentation of Israeli culpability in the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the systematic depopulation of so-called Arab villages in the first six months of the war. Alongside a discussion of key revelations in the newly available document, this introduction situates the broader pattern of erasure within historiographical debates over 1948 and questions of archival access. It examines how accounts of Israel’s birth and Palestinian statelessness have been crafted in relation to the underlying question: who has permission to narrate the past?
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Population, Ethnic Cleansing, Settler Colonialism, State Building
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Warren
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: This article presents estimates of the US undocumented population for 2017 derived by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). It focuses on the steep decline in the undocumented population from Mexico since 2010. While the president has focused the nation’s attention on the border wall, half a million[1] US undocumented residents from Mexico left[2] the undocumented population in 2016 alone, more than three times the number that arrived that year, leading to an overall decrease of nearly 400,000 undocumented residents from Mexico from 2016 to 2017. From 2010 to 2017, the undocumented population from Mexico fell by a remarkable 1.3 million. For the past 10 years, the primary mode of entry for the undocumented population has been to overstay temporary visas. This article provides estimates of the number of noncitizens who overstayed temporary visas and those who entered without inspection (EWIs) in 2016 by the top five countries of origin. Summary of Findings The US undocumented population from Mexico fell by almost 400,000 in 2017. In 2017, for the first time, the population from Mexico constituted less than one half of the total undocumented population. Since 2010, the undocumented population from Mexico has declined by 1.3 million. In California, the undocumented population from Mexico has declined by 26 percent since 2010, falling from 2.0 to 1.5 million; it also dropped by 50 percent in Alabama, and by one third in Georgia, New York, and New Mexico. The undocumented population from Venezuela grew rapidly after 2013, increasing from 60,000 to 145,000 in just four years. Visa overstays have significantly exceeded illegal border crossings during each of the last seven years. Mexico was the leading country for overstays in 2017, with about twice as many as India or China. The estimates presented here were derived by CMS based on information collected in the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS). The procedures used to derive detailed estimates of the undocumented population are described in Warren (2014). CMS used its annual estimates of the undocumented population for 2010 to 2017 — by state of residence, country of origin, and year of entry — to compile the information described here. Additional methodological details appear as footnotes or as notes in the tables.
  • Topic: Migration, Border Control, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America
  • Author: Geoffrey Alan Boyce, Samuel Chambers, Sarah Launius
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: Since 2000, 3,199 human remains of unauthorized migrants have been recovered from the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona (Coalición de Derechos Humanos 2018). These recovered remains provide only one indicator of the scope of death and suffering affecting unauthorized migrants and their loved ones — something that also includes thousands of individuals whose whereabouts or remains are never encountered (and who therefore remain disappeared) (ibid.). Just as significantly, the number of human remains recovered in southern Arizona has remained consistently high despite a significant decline during the past decade in the number of apprehensions (a figure frequently used as a proxy for unauthorized migration) in the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. This condition has led scholars and commentators alike to observe an increase in the ratio of deaths to migration, even as unauthorized border crossing fluctuates (Martínez et al. 2014; Reineke and Martínez 2014; International Organization for Migration 2018). In 2012, the southern Arizona humanitarian organization No More Deaths began systematically tracking the use and vandalism of cached drinking water it supplies at 512 sites across an 800-square-mile area of southern Arizona’s Altar Valley, a high-traffic migration corridor bisected by the US–Mexico border (Ferguson, Price, and Parks 2010; Regan 2010; Boyce 2016; Chambers et al. 2019). On an almost daily basis, volunteers with No More Deaths travel this migration corridor to resupply caches of 5–20 gallons of clean drinking water, physically hauling this water by truck and by foot. Each cache site is tracked using a Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinate to make navigation of the remote desert borderlands and the location of dispersed and frequently hidden cache sites easier for new volunteers. In 2015, the authors began working with No More Deaths to digitize and conduct spatial and statistical analysis on the data entered into these desert aid logs, with the express aim of seeing what this archive can reveal about everyday activity related to boundary enforcement and migration, as well as the efficacy of the organization’s activities throughout time. In total, No More Deaths’ desert aid archive contains 4,847 unique entries from March 2012 to December 2015, logging the date when an individual cache site was visited, the number of new water gallons deposited during this visit, the number of water gallons encountered intact and unused from previous resupply visits, the conditions of any empty water bottles left behind (including telltale signs of human vandalism, as well as occasional animal damage), and any subjectively unusual conditions or noteworthy events that were observed at the site or during the visit. Combined, this archive provides remarkable and uncommon insight into subtle changes in migration routes and patterns within the Altar Valley desert corridor, as well as those quotidian forms of harassment and vandalism of water supplies that we believe are intended to amplify and maximize hardship for unauthorized border crossers. Indeed, scholars have long argued that the US Border Patrol’s enforcement strategy of “Prevention Through Deterrence” (PTD), first launched in 1994, is premised on instrumentalizing the difficult climate and terrain of the US–Mexico border by pushing migration routes away from traditional urban crossing areas and into increasingly rugged and remote desert areas (Andreas 2001; Cornelius 2001; Rubio-Goldsmith et al. 2006; Nevins 2008; Martínez et al. 2014; De León 2015; Slack et al. 2016). The Border Patrol’s own policy documents make this case. Observing that migrants “crossing through remote, uninhabited expanses of land and sea along the border can find themselves in mortal danger,” the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS — at the time, the Border Patrol’s parent agency) argued that by channeling migration routes into “harsh terrain less suitable for crossing and more suitable for enforcement,” the Border Patrol would eventually obtain a “tactical advantage” over would-be border crossers (INS 1994, 7). Then–INS Commissioner Doris Meissner later reflected, “We did believe that geography would be an ally for us. It was our sense that the number of people crossing through the Arizona desert would go down to a trickle once people realized what [it’s] like” (quoted in Cornelius 2005). In this article, we conduct geospatial modeling and statistical analysis of No More Deaths’ desert aid archive. This involves measuring changes in the distribution of water use throughout time across the 62 cache sites consistently visited during all four calendar years included in the dataset, and then reading this measurement against a model of ruggedness that incorporates multiple variables including slope, vegetation, “jaggedness,” and ground temperature while controlling for Euclidian distance. Adjusting for seasonal variation and the overall volume of water use, we find a statistically meaningful increase in the cumulative ruggedness score of migration routes associated with cache sites during the four calendar years included in No More Deaths’ desert aid logs. These findings reveal a steady pressure toward more rugged and difficult crossing routes throughout time, an outcome that provides important context for the vandalism and harassment that target migrants and humanitarian aid workers alike (see No More Deaths and Coalición de Derechos Humanos 2018). In what follows, we first provide greater detail on the context of our study and of the authors’ collaboration with No More Deaths. Next, we discuss our research methodology, including the contours of the geographic information system (GIS) modeling through which we conduct our analysis. We then present our findings, and discuss and contextualize these, before turning to some of the limitations of our study and directions for future research. We conclude by considering some of the policy implications of our findings, as well as their implications for studies of mobility, border policing, and state violence, including in contexts when states are instrumentalizing environmental features and conditions for the purposes of boundary enforcement.
  • Topic: Migration, Water, Border Control, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America
  • Author: Donald Kerwin, Robert Warren
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: The US Department of State (DOS) reports that as of November 2018, nearly 3.7 million persons had been found by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to have a close family relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) that qualified them for a visa, but were on “the waiting list in the various numerically-limited immigrant categories” (DOS 2018). These backlogs in family-based “preference” (numerically capped) categories represent one of the most egregious examples of the dysfunction of the US immigration system. They consign family members of US citizens and LPRs that potentially qualify for a visa and that avail themselves of US legal procedures to years of insecurity, frustration, and (often) separation from their families. Often criticized in the public sphere for jumping the visa queue, it would be more accurate to say that this population, in large part, comprises the queue. While they wait for their visa priority date to become current, those without immigration status are subject to removal. In addition, most cannot adjust to LPR status in the United States, but must leave the country for consular processing and, when they do, face three- or 10-year bars on readmission, depending on the duration of their unlawful presence in the United States. This population will also be negatively affected by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposed rule to expand the public charge ground of inadmissibility (Kerwin, Warren, and Nicholson 2018). In addition, persons languishing in backlogs enjoy few prospects in the short term for executive or legislative relief, given political gridlock over immigration reform and the Trump administration’s support for reduced family-based immigration. In this paper, the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) offers estimates and a profile based on 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) data of a strongly correlated population to the 3.7 million persons in family-based visa backlogs: i.e., the 1.55 million US residents potentially eligible for a visa in a family-based preference category based on a qualifying relationship to a household member. CMS data represents only part of the population in family-based backlogs. In particular, it captures only a small percentage of the 4th preference, brothers and sisters of US citizens.[1] However, everybody in CMS’s data could be petitioned for, if they have not been already. Among this population’s ties and contributions to the United States, the paper finds that: Fifty-nine percent has lived in the United States for 10 years or more, including 23 percent for at least 20 years. Nearly one million US-born children under age 21 live in these households, as well as 111,600 US-born adults (aged 21 and over) who have undocumented parents. 449,500 arrived in the United States at age 15 or younger. 139,100 qualify for the DREAM Act based their age at entry, continuous residence, and graduation from high school or receipt of a GED. Seventy-two percent aged 16 and older are in the labor force, and more than two-thirds (68 percent) are employed; these rates exceed those of the overall US population. Two-thirds of those aged 18 or older have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, including 25 percent with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 295,100 aged three and older are enrolled in school. The median income of their households is $63,000, slightly above the US median. More than two-thirds (68 percent) have health insurance, including 51 percent with private health insurance. Nearly one-third (32 percent) live in mortgaged homes, and 12 percent in homes owned free and clear. The paper provides several recommendations to reduce family-based backlogs. In particular, it proposes that Congress pass and the President sign into law legislation to legalize intending family-based immigrants who have been mired in backlogs for two years or more. In addition, this legislation should define the spouses and minor unmarried children of LPRs as immediate relatives (not subject to numerical limits), not count the derivative family members of the principal beneficiary against per country and annual quotas, and raise per country caps. The administration should also re-use the visas of legal immigrants who emigrate each year, particularly those who formally abandon LPR status. This practice would reduce backlogs without increasing visa numbers. Congress should also pass legislation to advance the entry date for eligibility for “registry,” an existing feature of US immigration law designed to legalize long-term residents. In particular, the legislation should move forward the registry cutoff date on an automatic basis to provide a pathway to status for noncitizens who have lived continuously in the United States for at least 15 years, have good moral character, and are not inadmissible on security and other grounds. In fact, Congress advanced the registry date on a regular basis during most of the 20th century, but has not updated this date, which now stands at January 1, 1972, for 33 years.
  • Topic: Migration, Immigration, Border Control, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America
  • Author: Donald Kerwin, Mike Nicholson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: The effects of US immigration enforcement policies on immigrants, US families, and communities have been well-documented. However, less attention has been paid to their impact on faith-based organizations (FBOs). Faith communities provide a spiritual home, and extensive legal, resettlement, social service, health, and educational services for refugees and immigrants. This report presents the findings of the FEER (Federal Enforcement Effect Research) Survey, which explored the effects of US immigration enforcement policies on immigrant-serving Catholic institutions.[1] Many of these institutions arose in response to the needs of previous generations of immigrants and their children (Kerwin and George 2014, 14, 74-75). Most strongly identify with immigrants and have long served as crucial intermediaries between immigrant communities and the broader society (Campos 2014, 149-51).[2] Over its first two years, the Trump administration has consistently characterized immigrants as criminals, security risks, and an economic burden. Among its policy initiatives, the administration has supported major cuts in family-based immigration, attempted to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, reduced refugee admissions to historic lows, instituted admission bars on Muslim-majority countries, attempted to strip Temporary Protection Status (TPS) from all but a fraction of its beneficiaries, erected major new barriers to asylum, and proposed new rules regarding the public charge grounds of inadmissibility that would make it more difficult for poor and working class persons to obtain permanent residence. US immigration enforcement policies have separated children from their parents, criminally prosecuted asylum-seekers, expanded detention, increased arrests of non-citizens without criminal records, and militarized the US-Mexico border. These policies have failed to stem the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers: instead these flows have increased dramatically in recent months. These policies have succeeded, however, in devastating children, instilling fear in immigrant communities, blocking access to the US asylum system, and undermining immigrant integration (Kerwin 2018).[3] The FEER survey points to a paradox. On one hand, US enforcement policies have increased the demand for services such as legal screening, representation, naturalization, assistance to unaccompanied minors, and support to the US families of detainees and deportees. Many Catholic institutions have expanded their services to accommodate the increased demand for their services. On the other hand, their work with immigrants has been impeded by federal immigration policies that effectively prevent immigrants from driving, attending gatherings, applying for benefits, and accessing services for fear that these activities might lead to their deportation or the deportation of a family member. Among other top-line findings, 59 percent of 133 FEER respondents reported that “fear of apprehension or deportation” negatively affected immigrants’ access to their services, and 57 percent of 127 respondents reported that immigrant enforcement very negatively or negatively affected the participation of immigrants in their programs and ministries.
  • Topic: Migration, Religion, Border Control, Immigrants, Catholic Church
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America
  • Author: Pia Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: Opponents of immigration often claim that immigrants, particularly those who are unauthorized, are more likely than US natives to commit crimes and that they pose a threat to public safety. There is little evidence to support these claims. In fact, research overwhelmingly indicates that immigrants are less likely than similar US natives to commit violent and property crimes, and that areas with more immigrants have similar or lower rates of violent and property crimes than areas with fewer immigrants. There are relatively few studies specifically of criminal behavior among unauthorized immigrants, but the limited research suggests that these immigrants also have a lower propensity to commit crime than their native-born peers, although possibly a higher propensity than legal immigrants. Evidence about legalization programs is consistent with these findings, indicating that a legalization program reduces crime rates. Meanwhile, increased border enforcement, which reduces unauthorized immigrant inflows, has mixed effects on crime rates. A legalization program or other similar initiatives not currently under serious consideration have more potential to improve public safety and security than several other policies that have recently been proposed or implemented.
  • Topic: Crime, Migration, Immigration, Border Control
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Rebecca Galemba, Katie Dingeman, Kaelyn DeVries, Yvette Servin
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: Anti-immigrant rhetoric and constricting avenues for asylum in the United States, amid continuing high rates of poverty, environmental crisis, and violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, have led many migrants from these countries to remain in Mexico. Yet despite opportunities for humanitarian relief in Mexico, since the early 2000s the Mexican government, under growing pressure from the United States, has pursued enforcement-first initiatives to stem northward migration from Central America. In July 2014, Mexico introduced the Southern Border Program (SBP) with support from the United States. The SBP dramatically expanded Mexico’s immigration enforcement efforts, especially in its southern border states, leading to rising deportations. Far from reducing migration or migrant smuggling, these policies have trapped migrants for longer in Mexico, made them increasingly susceptible to crimes by a wide range of state and nonstate actors, and exacerbated risk along the entire migrant trail. In recognition of rising crimes against migrants and heeding calls from civil society to protect migrant rights, Mexico’s 2011 revision to its Migration Law expanded legal avenues for granting humanitarian protection to migrants who are victims of crimes in Mexico, including the provision of a one-year humanitarian visa so that migrants can collaborate with the prosecutor’s office in the investigation of crimes committed against them. The new humanitarian visa laws were a significant achievement and represent a victory by civil society keen on protecting migrants as they travel through Mexico. The wider atmosphere of impunity, however, alongside the Mexican government’s prioritization of detaining and deporting migrants, facilitates abuses, obscures transparent accounting of crimes, and limits access to justice. In practice, the laws are not achieving their intended outcomes. They also fail to recognize how Mexico’s securitized migration policies subject migrants to risk throughout their journeys, including at border checkpoints between Guatemala and Honduras, along critical transit corridors in Guatemala, and on the Guatemalan side of Mexico’s southern border. In this article, we examine a novel set of data from migrant shelters — 16 qualitative interviews with migrants and nine with staff and advocates in the Mexico–Guatemala border region, as well as 118 complaints of abuses committed along migrants’ journeys — informally filed by migrants at a shelter on the Guatemalan side of the border, and an additional eight complaints filed at a shelter on the Mexican side of the border. We document and analyze the nature, location, and perpetrators of these alleged abuses, using a framework of “compassionate repression” (Fassin 2012) to examine the obstacles that migrants encounter in denouncing abuses and seeking protection. We contend that while humanitarian visas can provide necessary protection for abuses committed in Mexico, they are limited by their temporary nature, by being nested within a migration system that prioritizes migrant removal, and because they recognize only crimes that occur in Mexico. The paradox between humanitarian concerns and repressive migration governance in a context of high impunity shapes institutional and practical obstacles to reporting crimes, receiving visas, and accessing justice. In this context, a variety of actors recognize that they can exploit and profit from migrants’ lack of mobility, legal vulnerability, and uncertain access to protection, leading to a commodification of access to humanitarian protection along the route.
  • Topic: Migration, Immigration, Border Control, Violence, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • Author: Ayelet Shachar
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Tough action and rhetoric are the stamp of U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. The decision in September 2017 to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—a program that shields young undocumented immigrants (“Dreamers”) from removal, granting them an opportunity to complete school, enroll in college, volunteer for the armed services, or join the workforce—proved to be the most contentious in a groundswell of executive orders, directives, memos, and wide-ranging enforcement efforts to curtail unauthorized presence.1 Critics describe such sweeping measures as amounting to an anti-immigrant crusade. Supporters, meanwhile, applaud them as taking the handcuffs off immigration enforcement officers and border patrol agents. With the rising tide of restrictionism and the government’s tough-on-immigration approach under the rubric of a “nation of laws,” it is easy to lose sight of the only immigration program that has been renewed and extended under the Trump administration: the EB-5 program, or the “golden visa.”2 The contrast between the DACA “Dreamers” and the EB-5 “Parachuters” reveals the sharp edge, and deep injustices, of current policies. In 2017 the president signed into law and renewed the extension of the EB-5 program, which offers the world’s wealthy a coveted path to securing lawful permanent residence (LPR) status, jumping the queue and gaining an easy pass through the otherwise increasingly bolted gates of admission. The price tag for securing a green card via the EB-5 program ranges from $1 million to a “discounted” rate of $500,000 if funds are for specially designated rural areas or areas of high unemployment.3 The American golden visa, like comparable schemes in other desirable destination countries, caters to the global 1 percent. It treats money transfers—in large quantities—as a currency for acquiring entry visas, residence permits, and, ultimately, citizenship itself. Unlike the Dreamers, who now face the risk of deportation from the only country they have ever known as home, these visa applicants have no prior “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”4 Instead, they gain a privileged route to enter the United States and remain lawfully in the country based on their ability to transfer capital across borders. The contrast between the DACA “Dreamers” and the EB-5 “Parachuters” reveals the sharp edge, and deep injustices, of current policies. The former have already become part of the fabric of the United States—including its society and economy—through their ongoing, peaceful, and productive presence, yet the sword of deportation continues to hang over their heads. On the other hand, the latter benefit from expedited and simplified pathways to obtain full-fledged legal membership, even if they fail to establish any tangible connections to their new home country. The intrusion of market logic into the sovereign act of defining “who belongs” raises significant justice and equality concerns that require closer scrutiny. The United States is not alone in testing, blurring, and eroding the state-market boundary regulating access to membership. A growing number of countries are putting their visas and passports up for sale. The proliferation of these programs is one of the most significant developments in citizenship and immigration practice in the past few decades, yet it has received scant attention in the literature. In the following pages, I begin to address this lacuna by identifying the core legal and normative puzzles associated with this new trend, which I will refer to as the marketization of citizenship to highlight a dual transformation: the commodifying of access to membership and the hollowing out of the “status, rights, and identity” components of citizenship.5 Marketization is never merely an economic process; it is also deeply political, as it reshapes and reengineers the boundaries of and interactions between states and markets, voice and power, the inviolable and the mercantile. The intrusion of market logic into the sovereign act of defining “who belongs” raises significant justice and equality concerns that require closer scrutiny, both empirical and normative—the remit of this essay. I treat these new developments as a productive site to explore foundational questions about the character of citizenship and its transformation in today’s world. I begin by tracing the global surge in the marketization of citizenship, providing illustrative examples, before turning to explore the official rationales for the EB-5 and exposing their shortcomings. Moving from the positive to the normative, I develop several lines of critique that seek to show that this new trend is uniquely threatening to notions of citizenship reflecting the horizon of equality and participation, regardless of which theories of state and society—liberal, civic republican, or democratic—inform them.
  • Topic: Migration, Immigration, Citizenship, Borders
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Donald Kerwin, Robert Warren
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: This paper presents the results of a study by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) on potential beneficiaries of the DREAM Act of 2017 (the “DREAM Act” or “Act”). The study reveals a long-term, highly productive population, with deep ties to the United States. In particular, it finds that: More than 2.2 million US residents would qualify for conditional residence under the DREAM Act. An additional 929,000 — who are now age 18 and over — arrived when they were under 18, but have not graduated from high school and are not enrolled in school and, thus, would not currently qualify for status under the Act. The DREAM Act-eligible can be found in large numbers (5,000 or more) in 41 states and more than 30 counties, metropolitan areas, and cities. Potential DREAM Act recipients have lived in the United States for an average of 14 years. Sixty-five percent (age 16 and above) participate in the labor force, with far higher rates in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Utah, Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, and Oregon. This population works heavily in sales and related occupations; food preparation and serving; construction and extracting; office and administrative support; production; transportation and material moving; and building/grounds cleaning and maintenance. Many of the DREAM Act-eligible are highly skilled and credentialed. 70,500 are self-employed. Eighty-eight percent speaks English exclusively, very well, or well. 392,500 have US-citizen children, and more than 100,000 are married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. Twenty-nine percent has attended college or received a college degree. The DREAM Act-eligible include 50,700 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras, 45 percent of whom live in the Miami metro area, Los Angeles County, the Washington, DC area, Houston, New York City, the San Francisco metro area, and the City of Dallas. The study also underscores the immense investment — $150 billion — that states and localities have already made in educating these young Americans. It argues that over time and with a path to citizenship the return on this investment will increase by virtually every indicia of integration — education levels, employment rates, self-employment numbers, US family members, and English language proficiency.
  • Topic: Migration, Border Control, Refugees, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Karen Pren, Nadia Flores-Yeffal
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: Although Salvadoran emigration to the United States is one of the most important migratory flows emanating from Latin America, there is insufficient information about the predictors of first unauthorized migration from El Salvador to the United States. In this study, we use data from the Latin American Migration Project–El Salvador (LAMP-ELS4) to perform an event history analysis to discern the factors that influenced the likelihood that a Salvadoran household head would take a first unauthorized trip to the United States between 1965 and 2007. We take into account a series of demographic, social capital, human capital, and physical capital characteristics of the Salvadoran household head; demographic and social context variables in the place of origin; as well as economic and border security factors at the place of destination. Our findings suggest that an increase in the Salvadoran civil violence index and a personal economic crisis increased the likelihood of first-time unauthorized migration. Salvadorans who were less likely to take a first unauthorized trip were business owners, those employed in skilled occupations, and persons with more years of experience in the labor force. Contextual variables in the United States, such as a high unemployment rate and an increase in the Border Patrol budget, deterred the decision to take a first unauthorized trip. Finally, social capital had no effect on the decision to migrate; this means that for unauthorized Salvadoran migrants, having contacts in the United States is not the main driver to start a migration journey to the United States. We suggest as policy recommendations that the United States should award Salvadorans more work-related visas or asylum protection. For those Salvadorans whose Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has ended, the United States should allow them to apply for permanent residency. The decision not to continue to extend TPS to Salvadorans will only increase the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. The United States needs to revise its current immigration policies, which make it a very difficult and/or extremely lengthy process for Salvadorans and other immigrants to regularize their current immigration status in the United States. Furthermore, because of our research findings, we recommend that the Salvadoran government — to discourage out-migration — invest in high-skilled job training and also offer training and credit opportunities to its population to encourage business ventures.
  • Topic: Migration, Immigration, Violence, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America, El Salvador
  • Author: Donald Kerwin, Daniela Alulema, Mike Nicholson
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: In late 2017, the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), and the Office of Justice and Ecology (OJE) of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States initiated a study to examine the characteristics of deportees and the effects of deportation, and to place them in a broader policy context (see Attachment A in the Supplemental Material, available in the online version of this article).[1] The CRISIS Study (Catholic Removal Impact Survey in Society) included both quantitative and qualitative elements. During the first five months of 2018, KBI staff surveyed 133 deportees from the United States at its migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora. Survey respondents were all Mexican nationals, all but one were men, and each had been living for a period of time in the United States.[2] They had resided in 16 US states, the majority in Arizona, followed by Nevada, California, and Utah. The survey sought information on their US lives, the removal and detention process, and the impact of removal on them and their families (see Attachment B in the Supplemental Material, available in the online version of this article). The study also included one interview with a deportee (via Skype) and 20 interviews with the family members of deportees and other persons affected by deportation in Catholic parishes in Florida, Michigan, and Minnesota. The parishes — which the report will not identify in order to ensure the interviewees’ anonymity — were chosen based on their geographic, demographic, and sociopolitical diversity, their connections to the agencies conducting the study, and their ability to facilitate access to deportees, their families, and others impacted by deportation. The interviews explored: (1) the impact of removals on deportees, their families, and other community members; (2) the deportation process; and (3) the relationship between deportees and their families (see Attachment C in the Supplemental Material, available in the online version of this article). They provided an intimate, often raw look at the human consequences of deportation.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugees, Deportation
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Fred Lazin
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Polish Political Science Yearbook
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: The JDC is an American Jewish organization that assists overseas Jewish commu- nities in distress. It is responsible to “American Jewry” and those organizations that fund it. Bauer (1974, 19) argued that the JDC has been guided by its founding “pledge of impartiality – it steers clear of political involvements” and takes pride in being “probably the only really non-partisan organization in Jewish life.” This paper examines the role of the JDC in caring for Soviet émigrés who left on visas for Israel but chose to resettle elsewhere. They were known as “dropouts” (Noshrim in Hebrew). It also deals with the JDC policy toward recently settled Russian Jews who left Israel to resettle elsewhere. In its work with Soviet Jewish emi- gres did the JDC serve the interests of the Israeli government, its donors and or the emigres? Did the JDC abide by its pledge of impartiality? Did the JDC try to force them to resettle in Israel against their wishes? The paper focuses on the spring of 1976 when the number of dropouts outnumbered those resettling in Israel. This led to a joint committee of Israelis and American Jews to coordinate a response. The ‘freedom of choice’ debate ensued; should So- viet Jews resettle in Israel or have the freedom to choose where to resettle? The findings here are based on archival records in the JDC, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the CJF (Jewish federations) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The author also conducted interviews and reviewed secondary sources. The paper should contribute to a better under- standing of the JDC and its past ties to Israel and the American Jewish community.
  • Topic: Migration, Religion, Culture, Judaism, Displacement, NGOs
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Author: Convadonga Meseguer, Jaupart Pascal, Javier Aparicio
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: We explore how the reception of remittances affects perceptions of the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States. Scholars have claimed that the economic benefits of the relationship with the US prevail over imperialistic concerns as a result of the asymmetry of power between the two countries. Empirical research shows that Latin American public opinion is indeed more supportive of the US than theory indicates. However, we identify two gaps in this literature. First, scholars have explored the determinants of generic expressions of sentiment toward the US, overlooking more concrete instances of cooperation between the two countries. Second, scholars have focused on trade and investment and have ignored how the material gains of emigration shape attitudes toward the US. The present paper fills these two gaps by using novel survey data on the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the US. On one hand, we find that while the reception of remittances correlates positively with good sentiments toward the US, the recipients of remittances are consistently more opposed to cooperation with the US in the fight against drug trafficking. We argue that this finding can be explained by the different nature of the migratory phenomenon, and the connection between anti-drug trafficking policies and the close scrutiny of illegal flows of money and people.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Trafficking , Borders, Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Zoya Gubernskaya, Joanna Dreby
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: As the Trump administration contemplates immigration reform, it is important to better understand what works and what does not in the current system. This paper reviews and critically evaluates the principle of family unity, a hallmark of US immigration policy over the past 50 years and the most important mechanism for immigration to the United States. Since 1965, the United States has been admitting a relatively high proportion of family-based migrants and allowing for the immigration of a broader range of family members. However, restrictive annual quotas have resulted in a long line of prospective immigrants waiting outside of the United States or within the United States, but without status. Further policy changes have led to an increasing number of undocumented migrants and mixed-status families in the United States. Several policies and practices contribute to prolonged periods of family separation by restricting travel and effectively locking in a large number of people either inside or outside of the United States. On top of that, increasingly aggressive enforcement practices undermine family unity of a large number of undocumented and mixed-status families. Deportations — and even a fear of deportation — cause severe psychological distress and often leave US-born children of undocumented parents without economic and social support. A recent comprehensive report concluded that immigration has overall positive impact on the US economy, suggesting that a predominantly family-based migration system carries net economic benefits. Immigrants rely on family networks for employment, housing, transportation, informal financial services, schooling, childcare, and old age care. In the US context where there is nearly no federal support for immigrants’ integration and limited welfare policies, family unity is critical for promoting immigrant integration, social and economic well-being, and intergenerational mobility. Given the benefits of family unity in the US immigrant context and the significant negative consequences of family separation, the United States would do well to make a number of changes to current policy and practice that reaffirm its commitment to family unity. Reducing wait times for family reunification with spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, allowing prospective family-based migrants to visit their relatives in the United States while their applications are being processed, and providing relief from deportation and a path to legalization to parents and spouses of US citizens should be prioritized. The cost to implement these measures would likely be minor compared to current and projected spending on immigration enforcement and it would be more than offset by the improved health and well-being of American families.
  • Topic: Migration, Border Control, Refugees, Family, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America
  • Author: Leisy Abrego, Mat Coleman, Daniel Martínez
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: During a post-election TV interview that aired mid-November 2016, then President-Elect Donald Trump claimed that there are millions of so-called “criminal aliens” living in the United States: “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate.” This claim is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute suggests that just over 800,000 (or 7 percent) of the 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States have criminal records. Of this population, 300,000 individuals are felony offenders and 390,000 are serious misdemeanor offenders — tallies which exclude more than 93 percent of the resident undocumented population (Rosenblum 2015, 22-24).[1] Moreover, the Congressional Research Service found that 140,000 undocumented migrants — or slightly more than 1 percent of the undocumented population — are currently serving time in prison in the United States (Kandel 2016). The facts, therefore, are closer to what Doris Meissner, former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner, argues: that the number of “criminal aliens” arrested as a percentage of all fugitive immigration cases is “modest” (Meissner et al. 2013, 102-03). The facts notwithstanding, President Trump’s fictional tally is important to consider because it conveys an intent to produce at least this many people who — through discourse and policy — can be criminalized and incarcerated or deported as “criminal aliens.” In this article, we critically review the literature on immigrant criminalization and trace the specific laws that first linked and then solidified the association between undocumented immigrants and criminality. To move beyond a legal, abstract context, we also draw on our quantitative and qualitative research to underscore ways immigrants experience criminalization in their family, school, and work lives. The first half of our analysis is focused on immigrant criminalization from the late 1980s through the Obama administration, with an emphasis on immigration enforcement practices first engineered in the 1990s. Most significant, we argue, are the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). The second section of our analysis explores the social impacts of immigrant criminalization, as people’s experiences bring the consequences of immigrant criminalization most clearly into focus. We approach our analysis of the production of criminality of immigrants through the lens of legal violence (Menjivar and Abrego 2012), a concept designed to understand the immediate and long-term harmful effects that the immigration regime makes possible. Instead of narrowly focusing only on the physical injury of intentional acts to cause harm, this concept broadens the lens to include less visible sources of violence that reside in institutions and structures and without identifiable perpetrators or incidents to be tabulated. This violence comes from structures, laws, institutions, and practices that, similar to acts of physical violence, leave indelible marks on individuals and produce social suffering. In examining the effects of today’s ramped up immigration enforcement, we turn to this concept to capture the violence that this regime produces in the lives of immigrants. Immigrant criminalization has underpinned US immigration policy over the last several decades. The year 1996, in particular, was a signal year in the process of criminalizing immigrants. Having 20 years to trace the connections, it becomes evident that the policies of 1996 used the term “criminal alien” as a strategic sleight of hand. These laws established the concept of “criminal alienhood” that has slowly but purposefully redefined what it means to be unauthorized in the United States such that criminality and unauthorized status are too often considered synonymous (Ewing, Martínez, and Rumbaut 2015). Policies that followed in the 2000s, moreover, cast an increasingly wider net which continually re-determined who could be classified as a “criminal alien,” such that the term is now a mostly incoherent grab bag. Simultaneously and in contrast, the practices that produce “criminal aliens” are coherent insofar as they condition immigrant life in the United States in now predictable ways. This solidity allows us to turn in our conclusion to some thoughts about the likely future of US immigration policy and practice under President Trump.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugees, Criminal Justice
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America