Since 9/11, migration-related security measures, including a growing reliance on watch-lists, have limited the right to travel. Jeffrey Kahn’s book, Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists, examines the legal and policy questions raised by prohibitions on travel by US citizens.
Migrant workers, particularly those classified as “low-skilled,” find that the denial of their rights is the “price of admission” to labor immigration programs. This is the global phenomenon described and analyzed by Martin Ruhs in The Price of Rights: Regulating International Labor Migration. This book review provides an in-depth discussion of Ruhs's comprehensive study of labor immigration policies and the substantial questions it raises for the global migration debate.
Waiting for José uncovers the practices and motivations of those who form the ranks of the Minutemen—a US anti-immigration movement that has garnered attention over the last decade. Whether readers are sympathetic to or enraged by the Minutemen’s political bravado, they will be captivated by Harel Shapira’s work helping us understand them.
Reconceiving Citizenship: Noncitizen Voting in New York City Municipal Elections as a Case Study in Immigrant Integration and Local Governance
by Lauren Gilbert
This paper uses New York City’s consideration of an amendment to its Charter that would extend voting rights to noncitizens in municipal elections as a case study in immigrant integration and local governance. It examines the legal and policy dimensions of noncitizen suffrage and assesses the legal obstacles to noncitizen voting in New York City municipal elections, including federal criminal and immigration law, and state law. It discusses recent experiments with noncitizen voting in municipal and school board elections, and identifies best practices for moving forward with the issue of noncitizen suffrage in New York City and other locales.
“Enemy Territory:” Immigration Enforcement in the US-Mexico Borderlands
by Walter A. Ewing
For the last two decades, immigration enforcement along the US-Mexico border has been based on the strategy of “prevention through deterrence,” which has been characterized by concentrated enforcement personnel and resources directly along the border and expanded detention and deportation of unauthorized immigrants. Despite significant federal spending on enforcement, the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States has tripled since the strategy was introduced in the 1990s. “Prevention through deterrence” has also funneled more migrants into increasingly dangerous border crossing routes and resulted in enforcement excesses by Border Patrol agents. This paper traces the evolution of US border enforcement and recommends greater accountability of enforcement officials as well as shifting the focus of border security toward the apprehension of terrorists and the disruption of transnational criminal organizations.
There and Back Again: On the Diffusion of Immigration Detention
by Michael Flynn
The use of detention as a tool of immigration control has become a global phenomenon. This paper uses concepts from diffusion theory to detail the history of key policy events in immigration destination countries that led to the spread of detention practices over the last 30 years. It examines how the United States in particular has played an important role in encouraging the process of policy innovation, imitation, and imposition that has helped give rise to immigration detention regimes globally.
The Intersection of Statelessness and Refugee Protection in US Asylum Policy
by Maryellen Fullerton
Stateless persons face gaps in protection and in many cases experience persecution that falls within the refugee paradigm. However, US asylum policy does not adequately address the myriad legal problems that confront the stateless, who have been largely invisible in the jurisprudence and academic literature. This article analyzes two federal appellate court opinions that shed new light on the intersection of statelessness and refugee law in the United States. It makes recommendations for developing legislative, regulatory and other policy guidance concerning statelessness claims.
An Overview of Pending Asylum and Refugee Legislation in the US Congress
by Melanie Nezer
There has been no significant legislation related to the asylum process enacted in Congress in nearly a decade. During the past several sessions of Congress, bills have been introduced that would make significant changes to the country’s asylum laws and refugee admissions program. This paper provides an overview of the pending legislation and the changes proposed. These bills demonstrate the continued interest of members of Congress in these issues and the need for reform, and they provide an important tool for advocates for education and outreach to Congress and the public.
Unfulfilled Promises, Future Possibilities: The Refugee Resettlement System in the United States
by Anastasia Brown, Todd Scribner
Since World War II, the US domestic resettlement system has evolved from one that responded to crises in an ad hoc manner to one characterized by an expansive and dynamic partnership between the federal government, states and voluntary resettlement agencies. However, more than three decades after the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, the program suffers from a lack of adequate financial support for transitional assistance and integration services, gaps in coordination and information sharing among participating agencies, and a backlash against the program in certain receiving communities. This paper highlights specific improvements that would address these issues and strengthen the US resettlement system moving forward.
Identifying and Measuring the Lifelong Human Capital of “Unskilled” Migrants in the Mexico-US Migratory Circuit
by Jacqueline Hagan, Jean Luc Demonsant, Sergio Chávez
Most human capital and migration studies classify migrants with limited formal education as “unskilled,” despite substantial skills developed through job and life experiences. Drawing on a binational multi-stage research project, this paper identifies the lifelong human capital acquired and transferred by Mexican migrants in North Carolina and return migrants to Guanajuato, Mexico. It documents mobility pathways associated with the acquisition and transfer of skills across the migratory circuit, including reskilling, occupational mobility, job jumping, and entrepreneurship. The findings suggest that policies which recognize the substantial informal skills of migrants could better match migrants’ abilities to labor market needs in the US as well as support the reintegration of return migrants with enhanced skill sets in Mexico.
Creating a More Responsive and Seamless Refugee Protection System: The Scope, Promise and Limitations of US Temporary Protection Programs
by Donald Kerwin
Temporary protection programs can provide haven to endangered persons while states and non-governmental organizations work to create durable solutions in sending, host and third countries. This paper outlines international standards for the design and operation of temporary protection programs, and identifies gaps in protection for de facto refugees and other at-risk populations that seek protection in the United States. Among other policy proposals, it recommends that Congress create a non-immigrant “protection” visa for non-citizens who are at substantial risk of persecution, danger, or harm in their home or host countries.
Temporary Protected Status after 25 Years: Addressing the Challenge of Long-Term “Temporary” Residents and Strengthening a Centerpiece of US Humanitarian Protection
by Claire Bergeron
This paper examines the legal parameters of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States and traces the program’s legislative history, exploring the congressional intent behind its creation. It argues that TPS has mostly been used as a tool to provide long-term protection, which runs contrary to congressional intent in establishing the program and has placed TPS recipients in a “legal limbo” in which they are unable to fully integrate into the United States. The paper discusses administrative and legislative remedies that would attempt to realign the TPS program with the goal of providing temporary protection to individuals fleeing crisis situations, as well as uphold the US tradition of integrating long-term immigrants.