Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas a difficult time for illegal immigrants

As border security has increased, migrant laborers are finding it harder to get back to places like Mexico to visit family during the holidays, as described in an article from the Tuscon Examiner:

Wishing all my readers a healthy and happy holiday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Back to the Euro Crisis...

Fascinating article from Yahoo! News on David Cameron's miscalculation at the Euro Summit:

This will have major repercussions for Cameron going forward.  Already his coalition partner, Nick Clegg, is denouncing Cameron's inability to negotiate:

This will be an important time to watch British politics closely...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The GOP and Immigration

As reported by the Texas Tribune today, Rick Perry has accepted the endorsment of Joe Arpaio, the (in)famous sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona (  Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich came under fire for his comments in a Republican debate, calling for a "humane" immigration policy, and later trying to turn the issue to his favor against his primary opponents(
It is not surprising that candidates who may have been generally in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, including a guest worker program, may find it difficult to walk the minefield of immigration policy while pleasing the Republican base votes they are trying to attract. As I found at the Texas Tribune event in September (see earlier blog posts), even Republican legislators in Texas are willing to say in public that comprehensive immigration reform is needed (albeit while securing the borders).  These issue will become even more important during the general election, when certain swing states may be tipped in one direction or another by hispanic voters.  In the meantime, expect to hear more about increasing deportations, border walls/security and the failures of the federal government to control immigration.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Populism and the Euro Crisis

Very interesting article from the Economist. Populists like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands have tapped into popular discontent with multiculturalism and European integration:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Far Right Terror in Germany

From Der Spiegel:  " Germany has been shocked by a series of revelations relating to a trio of neo-Nazis who appear to have carried out a crime wave lasting for over a decade. They are suspected of murdering nine immigrants and a policewoman as well as a series of bank robberies. The evidence points to a new kind of right-wing terrorism unlike anything Germany has seen.",1518,797569,00.html

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another perspective on last week's chaos in Europe

Interesting overview from the UK Guardian newspaper:

Another crazy week in Europe

Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy...elections in Spain which the opposition looks likely to win...if anything has highlighted the political nature of the current Euro crisis, it has been the governments which have fallen in the process.  At the same time, Angela Merkel's party has had major losses at the state level in Germany, where even the Pirate Party has had some success.  This past week saw Italy on the brink, and Silvio Berlusconi finally taking a fall.  As one commentator on NPR noted, it was not his sexual scandals or the financial irregularities related to his many businesses that brought him the end it was his inability to lead Italy through it's most critical economic crisis in a generation that led to his resignation.  The factors leading to the current crisis in Europe are many, but one major factor in the crisis has been leadership, or the lack thereof.  Both Italy and Greece have turned to technocrats as prime ministers, who would theoretically not expect to run for reelection, in a bid to avoid the political wrangling which led them to the brink of insolvency.  Time will tell if these economists will be able to succeed where their predecessors failed.  The future for Europe and the Euro is still unclear -- and the crisis could still expand to the U.S.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In the middle of the Euro Crisis

The LBJ School of Public Affairs is hosting an important conference on the Euro Crisis, as Greece's political system is threatening to fall apart.  It is being webcast as well:

I was on the first panel and focused my comments on the politics of European integration, reminding the participants that all of the key players are first and foremost politicians.  The economic solutions are relatively simple, the political situation seems intractable.  More later...and I'm also tweeting...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The GOP and Immigration

Interesting article in today's New York Times on GOP positions on immigrants: -- perhaps they are realizing they are alienating a large and growing proportion of the electorate? 

I have given a few talks on immigration policy in the last few weeks, and it is clear that comprehensive immigration reform is the logical way forward.  We need to look at the fact that we have 10-12 million undocumented immigrants as an important issue.  Why wouldn't we want to be able to document and track these people? (except for the fact that they provide cheap labor, etc...)  It's time to start changing the discourses around our broken immigration system and look at why we need to provide more visas. The situation in Alabama is a clear indicator of the problems inherent with our current situation.  Situations where families have children who are citizens and yet have to live in the shadows, or legal immigrants fear harassment.  We can and should do better.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Muslim integration issues -- from the New York Times

Today's column by John Vinocur raises several important points -- in the broader context of the Euro crisis, European politicians have chosen to avoid the issue of Muslim immigrants and immigrant integration:  Vinocur references to two recent studies, one by Gilles Keppel in France and the other by German researchers, examining issues related to Muslim integration.  These are important issues, and despite the urgency of the Euro crisis, it will be interesting to see if and how these issues play out politically, particularly with the upcoming French presidential elections.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

On the Euro Crisis

Although this blog is focused on immigration, I have been following the crisis in Europe and will also start sharing some of my thoughts on this issue.  As I tell my students on a regular basis, what happens in the next few months will have ramifications for European integration, global markets, and Transatlantic politics for the foreseeble future. Europe is in the process of dragging the U.S. and other parts of the world into a double-dip recession.
After reading various analyses and following the economic and political manuevers over the last two years it has become clear to me that two underlying factors are important to unerstanding the current situation:

1) the political scene and type of political leadership has shifted dramatically since the passage of the Maastrich Treaty at the end of the 1990s.  This shift began with the election of mostly conservative governments in the early 2000s.  These leaders came to power at a time when voters were rejecting an EU constitution, and a backlash against immigration, multiculturalism, and issues about national identity were driving policy.  European integration was taking a backseat to a revival of nationalist sentiment, often embodied in the rise of far right politicians like Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen.  Parties like the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) embodied rising Euroskepticism.

It also doesn't help that the most important politician in this developing drama, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, has proven undecisive, and unwilling to take bold measures when needed.  She has left the situation for the IMF, ECB and European Commission to play out, dragging out the Greek default so they can prepare the ground for bailing out the banks that will be damaged.

2) A blind pursuit of integration in late 1990s and early 2000s led European leaders to ignore major warning signs from Greece, even before they joined the Euro.  Others have done a good job of chronicling this mess, and I recommend Michael Lewis' new book Boomerang (and the interview on Fresh Air).  Without any means of sanctioning governments who weren't meeting convergence criteria, the Eurozone left itself open to exactly the scenario we are seeing today, a country which will have to default because there was no fiscal discipline.  I do believe Greece will have to default and leave the Eurozone, but it will be a long drawn-out process, which will leave Europe in an economic mess for years to come.

More later...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paul Scheffer, 'Immigrant Nations"

Here is a short excerpt from my review of Paul Scheffer's new book Immigrant Nations which will be published in Ethnic and Racial Studies  in the Spring:

Paul Scheffer (translated by Liz Waters), IMMIGRANT NATIONS, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011, 390 pp., £19.99 (paper).
As Paul Scheffer notes in his Epilogue, this book is the result of many years of discussion, literature review and analysis after the publication in 2000 of his controversial article “The Multicultural Drama” (‘Het multiculturele drama’, in NRC Handelsblad, 29 January 2000).  Those who don’t know of Scheffer’s role as public intellectual in the Netherlands may want to start by reading the Epilogue.  However, this background is not necessary to gain a great deal from what is clearly an in-depth and well researched book on the way that recent immigration is impacting Europe and the U.S. In this book, Scheffer attempts to reconcile the many conflicting forces that influence both the nature of immigrant integration, and the fundamental issue of citizenship in a global society. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 2 of Texas Tribune Festival

#tribunefest I can't cover all of the discussion today, but will look at a few of the comments that I found interesting.  We started early today with breakfast and Representative Aaron Pena giving us his take on border issues, security, and the need for a guestworker program.  He and I agreed that a guestworker program should be considered a security issue, so that we can actually keep track of immigrants   He emphasized both at breakfast and later in the day at the panel on the economics of immigration reform that those who live on the border have a very different perspective than those who don't.  He noted that it would be a lost opportunity if we don’t deal with immigration.  "Mexicans are like us, carry values that we hold dear, are people of faith, have strong family bonds, and are an asset to us in a global marketplace when when we are competing with India and China." He has been a proponent of a Utah-style guestworker program and thinks the states could be a laboratory for new approaches to immigration.

Eddie Aldrete argued that we have a bad habit of focusing on law enforcement – it’s a component but it can’t be the only focus. "We don’t need to increase the size of the border patrol, if you provide visas they can focus on the bad guys."

Sylvia Acevedo noted that we need to look beyond Mexico -- the demographics show that they are no longer growing as fast and we may need to rely on workers from Pakistan or other parts of the world.

Todd Staples took a more typical approach on illegal immigrants "Comprehension immigration has become a signal that we are giving up.  We need strategies and principles that can get us to where we need to be, like enforcing labor laws through e-verify, but we can’t do that without reforming the immigration system.  We have a failed guest worker program,we need to be documenting current immigrants and a have a pathway to citizenship – from country of origin."

Although some of the panelists emphasized the need for more "boots on the ground" at the border, the overall sentiment from left, right and the business community was for comprehensive immigration reform. They also recognized that we are in a time period when immigration is a visceral issue that is being driven more by emotion than logic.  It will be interesting to see how these issues play out in Texas over the next couple of years and the role that these leaders will  play.

Overall the conversations were interesting, and the participants provided some insights into the way that the discourses around immigration, race and border security are playing out in the state of Texas. Eddie Aldrete's recommended that we need a new bipartisan commission that can look at the immigration issue. I promised to provide some background on previous commissions and their impact, and will try to do so in the next few days.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

At the Texas Tribune Festival Race and Immigration Panels

#tribunefest #tfrace  Spent today at the Texas Tribune Festival, where they had a track on race and immigration in Texas.  The first panel I attended focused on Criminal Justice and Illegal Immigration.  The panelists agreed that border security was important, but it was also important to focus on comprehensive immigration reform. Several panelists agreed that a guestworker program would help in terms of being able to keep tabs on immigrants (as long as it didn't  take away American jobs), and that more cooperation between federal, state and local governments would help the security situation. Linda Graybill from the ACLU stated that we need smart policies that are constitutional, and that don't erode rights.  Charles Foster argued that by cutting off legal immigration options for Mexico and Latin America we created the current illegal immigration problem and that comprehensive immigration reform would encourage circular migration and allow homeland security to track immigrants.  Henry Cuellar emphasized that the security situation at the border (at least on the U.S. side) was not as bad as it is made out to be, according to FBI statistics.  He concluded that immigration has become an emotional issue and politics needs to be taken out of it.

Former ambassador to Mexico, Anthony Garza, had similar comments.  His session was focused on why Mexico and the U.S. need each other.  He argued that the economies are converging and that the political class has not kept pace with the realities of the marketplace, "Politics is the lagging indicator, markets and capital are the leading indicator.  We have a strategic interest in a more prosperous and secure Mexico."

On immigration:  "how we talk about it is important!  We have issues of security, we want to get a grip on who is in this country, and an aggressive guestworker program would help. The Bush initiative was good, but now the issue is toxic, amnesty is a death knell for any legislation, even though it wasn’t amnesty.  We need to build out from a guestworker program. Allowing people to have documents is important – we’ve lost circularity.  A path to citizenship wasn’t as critical as being legitimately in the workforce without fear of being rounded up."

More tomorrow!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Europe, the Arab Spring and immigration

As reported in the New York Times: The European Union authorities Friday sought to set new rules to maintain passport-free travel across large parts of the region, a response to recent moves by some governments to reinstate border controls because of mounting concern over what some see as uncontrolled migration from North Africa and the Middle East. More...

As the Euro crisis continues, it is likely that the immigration issue will become more heated, in conjunction with the increased flows from the Middle East and North Africa. Also, the continued success of the far right will play a role as the political season heats up with elections in France coming up in the spring.  However, the recent Danish election with the left winning the majority leaves the far right Danish People's Party out in the cold after 10 years of supporting the minority conservative government. Certainly more interesting results to come...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On Muslims in the West

Several books have come out recently, or in the case of Peter O'Brien's book, in the last couple of years, addressing issues surrounding Muslims and the West.  To quote from an article on Peter O'Brien:

"Professor O’Brien set out to explore Europeans’ self-perceived rivalry with Islamic civilization in pre-modern times and with the USA in the modern era. “I’m interested in how people from different cultures view each other and ultimately how they can learn to live together.” This interest has spawned his next research project on contemporary European responses to the existence of large numbers of Muslims residing in Europe"

European Perceptions of Islam & America from Saladin to George W. Bush: Europe’s Fragile Ego Uncovered (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Justin Gest's recent book on Muslims in the West also focuses on Europe:

Apart: Alienated and Engaged Muslims in the West (New York: Columbia University Press; London: Hurst, 2010)

Apart explores why many Western Muslims are disaffected, why others are engaged, and why some seek to undermine the very political system that remains their primary means of inclusion. Based on research conducted in London's East End and Madrid's Lavapies district, and drawing on over 100 interviews with community elders, imams, extremists, politicians, gangsters, and ordinary people just trying to get by, Justin Gest examines young Muslim men's daily existences. Confronting conventional explanations that point to inequality, discrimination and religion, he builds a new theory arguing that alienated and engaged political behavior is distinguished not by structural factors, but by how social agents interpret their shared realities. Filled with counterintuitive conclusions, Apart sounds an unambiguous warning to Western policy-makers, and presages an imminent American experience with the same challenges. How both governments and people discipline their fear and understand their Muslim fellows may shape democratic social life in the foreseeable future.

Writing as an advocate rather than an academic, Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, global media commentator, founder of and global managing editor of The Crescent Post. Additionally, Arsalan is also a regular weekly legal affairs/political commentator for the National Public Radio (NPR) show Tell Me More with Michel Martin and a contributing writer for and Esquire Magazine (Middle East edition). His new book is Islamic Pacificsm: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era.  From the Amazon description: "With the tragic rise of extremism and global racism around the world today, the sociopolitical philosophy of "Islamic Pacifism" is a humanitarian ethical platform rooted within the general concepts of nonviolence and basic Muslim ethical teachings of mercy and compassion towards all of humanity. "

Saturday, September 3, 2011

At the APSA meetings in Seattle

The politics of immigration is a top issue here in Seattle at the annual meetings of the American Political Science Association.  There is a working group on immigration and citizenship, and many panels related to immigration issues.  I participated in a panel on Friday that covered a variety of issues, including deportations as a form of immigration control, guestworker programs, citizenship policy, international cooperation on immigration policy, and my own paper on antidiscrimination policy.  Some of the issues that resonated across all of the papers included the role of left and right politics, particularly the role of the far right in setting the agenda and pushing policy in different directions.  Many political scientists are trying to develop quantitative analyses which can help us understand which factors are influencing policy change, and the consensus seemed to be that the economy (e.g., unemployment, gdp) was not an important factor in policy change.

On the news front, immigration is heating up as an issue in the Republican presidential race.  Mitt Romney is making clear his differences with Rick Perry as described in the Washington Post and In New Hampshire, Perry says he opposes Mexico border fence.

In the meantime California passes its own version of the Dream Act, while Georgia businesses are confused over the new law they are dealing with.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Alabama's immigration law blocked

Alabama's new immigration law, considered one of the strictest state laws thus far, has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge:
CNN Story

This is one in a growing list of states who are attempting to implement state level laws in the face of federal level inaction.  However, many provisions have been blocked in courts as noted in the following article:
List of State Immigration Laws Blocked in Federal Court Grows Longer

Friday, August 26, 2011

Starting up again...

August has been more difficult than expected and I have a new cause you can check out on Facebook:  1000-Miles-for-Madeline

In the meantime, Europeans are still working through the implications of the July Norway shootings, including this interesting article from Der Spiegel International:,1518,781577,00.html#ref=nlint
and the New York Times:
Where History Casts a Fearsome Shadow, Murmurings About the Far Right

Next week is the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in one of my former home towns, Seattle, Washington.  I'll be blogging from there on the issues and topics that stand out on the immigration front.  I will be presenting a paper on the role of networks in the passage and implementation of the European Union's racial equality directive.

Here's some of the latest from the U.S. on immigration, particularly related to the administration's new deportation policy:
Meant to Ease Fears of Deportation Program, Federal Hearings Draw Anger
U.S. Issues New Deportation Policy’s First Reprieves

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More on the far right

I have been on vacation the last few weeks, but will be back to blogging regularly this week.

Today's article from the associated press discusses the far right fringes in Europe

It's important to keep in mind that Islam has only recently (in the last 15 years or so) become a major focus for the far right, as well as other groups that cannot be classified.  Immigrants, people of color, and Jews have been ongoing targets of violence and discrimination over the years.  However, it is also important to keep in mind that Breivik targeted the current Norwegian government and his fellow countrymen.  Nothing justifies this type of violence and the goal seems to be changing the system, rather than targeting the small Muslim minority in the country.  Brievik's actions have shined a light on the far right, but there are many issues underlying his actions (besides madness) and the positions that different groups take that tolerate or advocate violence.  Clearly we need more understanding and analysis of these issues, including the politics that have developed around the immigration issue.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More on the issue of multiculturalism

An article from the Boston Review on the politics of multiculturalism in Europe:

It is always interesting to read the comments section on these articles as well.

There is also a review of Paul Lendvai’s most recent book, Mein Verspieltes Land: Ungarn im Umbruch, or My Squandered Country: Hungary Transformed:

Norway and the Far Right in Europe-- links to the U.S.

Many analysts (myself included) have quickly focused in on the impact of the far right in Europe in the context of the attacks in Norway.  For example, Joerg Forbrig discusses the spread and success of the far right in an article on CNN's Global Public Square.

It must be kept in mind that the far right has not only found success at the regional and national level, but also in the European parliament.  Another important point is that the far right, particularly organizations like Geert Wilder's Freedom Party and the English Defence League (as well as Defence Leagues which have formed in other European countries) have made linkages with anti-Islam and far right organizations in the U.S.  This is not just a European problem it is a Transatlantic problem.  Many far right organizations in Europe get funding and other resources from U.S. sources as well as wealthy supporters in their own countries (as detailed in investigations by the Guardian ).

Mainstream politicians in Europe have fed into the support for the far right by pulling far right discourses into mainstream rhetoric. Since I began studying these issues in the 1990s the rhetoric has clearly shifted towards the far right. Proclamations that "multiculturalism has failed" (particularly ironic in countries like Germany that have not practiced it) have fed into an emphasis on Muslims and their lack of integration.  The securitization rhetoric has fed into the perception of Muslims as threat.  Certainly this has not necessarily led to what happened in Norway, Breivik has been planning for many years and was motivated by his own demons.  However, it is critical that mainstream politicians don't turn a small minority into a scapegoat for larger public ills.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Norway attack

From the Globe and Mail:
"Norwegians, reeling at the death of at least 93 adults and children in Friday’s mass shootings and bombing attack, are being forced to confront the fact that the perpetrator is not a lone madman, but a highly organized Norwegian political terrorist who claims to be part of a Europe-wide movement opposed to Muslim immigrants and multiculturalism." More

This attack highlights the challenges facing governments from anti-Islamic terrorists who are encouraged by the likes of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen in France and the English Defence League as noted in an article in the Wall Street Journal on Far Right Views.

Many of these issues were highlighted in the conference I had last January at UT Austin on Transatlantic Intolerance...this event gives even more urgency to the issues raised then.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More on Mexican Migration Dynamics

I have reported on some of these articles already, but here's a list from Phil Wolgin, an Immigration Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress,

The first is the new USA Today report on border violence, basically making the (well researched) claim that the border is safer than ever:

The second is the NYTimes report drawing from Massey's MMP, that changes in Mexico - both demographic and economic - have made emigration less attractive, and for the first time we are now looking at net negative immigration:

Third is a new Pew Hispanic Center report that shows that Mexican American births have far overtaken the number of Mexican immigrants per year:

Fourth is a RAND Study that shows that the numbers of Mexicans returning home during the recession dropped significantly.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Investing in Mexico

Bill Ong Hing's commentary in the Huffington Post:, Control the Border, Invest in Mexico, echoes many of the ideas that have surfaced since the publication of Doug Massey's latest research on the decline in flows from Mexico to the U.S., as reported in the New York Times.  The EU's investment in Eastern Europe after the end of the cold war is an apt comparison, although he overlooks the fact that there was a great deal of internal migration after unification with Eastern Europe, particularly from Poland.  Jorge Perez's blog which is in my previous post, also points out the importance of Mexico and it's emigrants in all of this.  Mexico's economy is dependent on remittances to a certain extent.  This should be the begining of a larger discussion that does not forget the agency of the Mexican government and Mexican immigrants, along with government and the business sector in the U.S. that are already investing in Mexico.  These aren't new ideas, but the focus of the media has certainly been on action in the U.S. (particularly what is going on in the states) vs. what is happening in Mexico and with the broader issues that lead to migration flows.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A migrant's perspective on Mexico's migrant issues

An interesting perspective that helps to give agency to those who want to see change in Mexico, as well as those who want to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S.

Christian Science Monitor on State of Play of 5 state laws:

"Alabama immigration law faces legal challenge: Can it survive?

Several civil-rights groups sued the state of Alabama Friday to block what some observers say is the toughest anti-illegal-immigration law to date. Among other things, it mandates that primary and secondary schools check residency status of students.

Federal lawsuits have now been filed against the five states that have passed such laws during the past 15 months. The rulings that have come down, which have all been against the laws, have been appealed by the states' attorneys general in the hope that the Supreme Court will take up the issue.  More"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating citizenship on the 4th of July

The 4th of July is a day we celebrate our independence, but it is also a day we celebrate those who have chosen to join us as citizens.  Across the U.S., communities celebrate the new citizens:

From Fox news -- A Fourth of July Tradition: Immigrants Around the Country Take the Oath of Citizenship
Read more:

Orlando, Florida

Nashville, Tennessee

Southport, North Carolina

Orange County, California

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More on the journalist who "outed" himself as an illegal immigrant

Interesting take on the story from NPR

It will be interesting to see if/how politicians respond to this story, if the immigration issue becomes an important aspect of the upcoming election season...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Multiculturalism Policy Index

Keith Banting, et. al. have published their new Multiculturalism Policy Index:

The data is available for public use and is a welcome addition to the field of immigrant integration research and allows for comparison with the MIPEX

The Crisis in Europe

As Greek protesters fill the streets to say "no" to the fiscal reforms being demanded by the European Union, others focus on the impact of the current crisis to an entire generation across Europe as described in the article from Der Spiegel International:,1518,769831-4,00.html  Many young Europeans are trying to move within Europe to find jobs, while others are looking to Latin America, as described in this article:

A generation that is well-educated but un- or under-employed is finding it difficult to support a European Union that feels distant, bureaucratic and even "kafka-esque" as noted in the article from Der Spiegel.  Although these issues may seem distant from U.S. concerns, in many ways similar themes are being echoed in the discontent many feel with current U.S. policy, the inability of Republicans and Democrats to come to agreement on budget issues, the backlash against federal inaction on immigration policy, etc...this is all beside the fact that any meltdown in Europe will drag the U.S. into another downward economic spiral.  The current situation need to be watched carefully on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From University of Illinois

First - thanks to the EU Center here at U of I for a great visit so far. 

Second -- this New York Times story is making the rounds of social media:

This is the second time this year I have done a lecture for K-12 teachers and they are always a great group.  They ask insightful questions and we always end up having a great discussion.  Today the focus was on comparisons between the U.S. and Europe.  We had an interesting discussion around issues like skilled vs. unskilled immigrants, differences in the educational systems (e.g., local control vs. national level curricula) and issues surrounding the integration of spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. and Muslims in Europe.  I'll be giving another lecture tomorrow morning before heading back to Austin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Enforcement news

ICE steps up audits of I-9 forms:

Senate Republicans in Texas pass "sanctuary cities" legislation:

Houston protestors head to Austin to rally against the passage of the "sanctuary cities" bill:

There has been some discussion in the Texas Republican party about the impact of the passage of this bill, and whether it will hurt the party with Hispanic voters.  Time will tell...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Report documents dramatic shift in immigrant workforce’s skill level

The Washington Post is reporting on a report by the Brookings institute that the skill level of the immigrant workforce has increased:

In Texas, the state legislature has gone into special session to deal with budget-related issues, and Governor Perry has also added several measures related to immigration, including a "sanctuary cities" measure:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Supreme Court declines case on in-state tuition

The story from the LA Times:  Supreme Court ruling on California immigrant tuition rates could affect other states' policies

This case emphasizes the role of the state in determining policies related to immigrants and education.  While states like California and Texas offer in-state tuition to undocumented students who graduate from in-state high schools, other states are moving to restrict access.  It will be interesting to see if these policy approaches will ultimately have any impact on politics, particularly around the issue of the DREAM act.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A play about borders

This week I saw a play titled "The Book of Grace" which revolves around the turmoil caused by a reunion between a father who is obsessed with his job as a border patrol agent, and his son who is recently returned from the military.  Although it is advertised as having 3 charactes, I would argue that the border fence plays an important fourth character, in this allegory about borders between people.  The performances were uneven, although the actor who played the father, "Vet", did an amazing job of inhabiting his character.  I left the play wondering what it was really about, and I have to admit that I consider a play successful if it makes me think in more detail -- this one made me think more about the impact that the border has on both sides, and the people who live in its shadow.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interesting developments at the state level

I'll start today with an interesting editorial in the Christian Science Monitor, by Daniel Altschuler:  'Silent raids' and E-Verify immigration enforcement are destroying US farms

He emphasizes the impact of the recent Supreme Court decision on Arizona's law sanctioning employers who hire illegal aliens (NYT article) and it's impact on farm workers, i.e, the human cost of employer sanctions.

However, it is clear that states are ready to step in where the federal government has failed to take action - although some argue that e-verify can't be trusted (LA Times).  Texas' legislature has gone into special session, and many of the bills that failed to make it through the regular session will be revived and the deployment of National Guard troops is being extended by three months along the Texas border.  Utah has passed controversial legislation, and many more states are in the process of considering legislation including an Arizona (SB1070) style immigration bill in Louisiana.

The Supreme Court ruling ensures that much of the action on immigration policy will continue to be at the state level, the question is what's next for Congress?  Its still seems unlikely that any major measures will be considered before 2012...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ruben Navarrette takes on Lamar Smith

Ruben Navarrette writes a regular syndicated column and often comments on immigration issues.  In today's column he is critical of Lamar Smith and the Republican Party's take on immigration policy:

Previous columns have also taken on the Texas legislature and Governor Perry on sanctuary cities:

Back From Paris

I am back from my week in Paris, and I had an enjoyable trip, with a few highlights related to antidiscrimination policy.  Last Monday I attended the Y'a Bon awards in Paris.  This is an annual event hosted by the organization Les Indivisibles.  I was invited by Rokhaya Diallo who was a participant in the conference I organized around Transatlantic Intolerance back in February.  The event highlights the most egregious racist statements made in the media by high profile people in France like government ministers and business people.  It was interesting to see a different perspective around issues of racism in France, since I am normally spending time with academics, many of whom continue to insist that racism isn't an issue in France.  It is also interesting to note that there is a much stronger linkage to issues around racism, discrimination and immigration in France.  For example, many of the statements have linkages to the colonial past (e.g., Guerlain's use of the word negre) or Muslim immigrants.

I also attended a conference at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) Law School around the issue of organizations like La Halde, France's main antidiscrimination body, being folded into a human rights body call the Defenseur des Droits.  Most of the commentators focused on how this would reduce the effectiveness of the different entities that had focused on discrimination related to gender, sexual orientation, race, and many other grounds.  This has clearly been a political process, with the Sarkozy government focusing on this as a "rationalization" of the different entities (i.e., cutting people and budgets), but also reducing the ability of these organizations to "blame and shame" businesses, and even government entities that discriminate.  France does not have a legal tradition of class action law suits and they generally do not collect data that would help to support discrimination cases, so this will be a major dilution of the ability to pursue these types of cases.

Other immigration news updates:
The New York Times reports on the Obama administration's focus on employer sanctions:
A critique from the Daily Beast of Obama's approach to immigration legislation:
California Assembly vote to limit immigration checks:

Friday, May 27, 2011

In Paris

I have been in Paris this week, giving a talk at the University for Social Science Studies (EHESS), meeting with people about my research, and attending a day-long conference on changes in anti-discrimination institutions here in France. Unfortunately, things seem to be moving in a negative direction, but I'll be writing more about that later. Of course the big news has been Dominique Strauss-Kahn, aka DSK.  After initial disbelief, the French seem to have gotten used to the idea that he isn't going to be able to make quick work of this problem.  Other news includes Obama's trip to Britain and now he is in France for the G-8 meeting.

The New York Times has had several interesting articles related to immigration:

The first is the sad story of a migrant living in the shadows in Europe:

Migrant labor in Napa Valley:

Supreme court upholds Arizona's employer sanctions law:

Friday, May 20, 2011

From the Dallas Fed

I have been attending a conference at the Dallas Fed Immigration Policy in an era of Globalization

The papers presented will become part of the third edition of the book Controlling Immigration
I am working with Phil Martin on the chapter on Germany.

Panels on the U.S., Canada and Australia began the conference, as "Nations of Immigrants."  Panelists examined issues around the maintenance of the status quo in the U.S. which is beneficial to business and people who benefit from hiring low-wage/low-skilled workers, particularly from Mexico.  Canada was highlighted as a country that has very positive public opinion on immigration, although it's not totally clear what factors into this attitude.  Australia has had a rather unsuccessful push to limit refugees that land there, and is trying to work with other Asian countries to help with the processing of refugees and asylum seekers.

For the European cases, some of the clear themes coming out of the conference is the focus on immigrant integration policy.  It is a way to provide access to language programs and civics education for immigrants but it is also used as a form of immigration control, particularly in the area of family reunification. Due to court rulings and human rights policies, many European countries have been unable to restrict family reunification immigration, but this is beginning to change through the use of language requirements prior to receiving a visa.

There were also excellent papers and discussion around shifts in policy in countries like the UK, where issues such as 9/11 and securitization have impacted liberal policies and a shift in government has refocused policy on control.

The Scandinavian cases focused particularly on the role of the welfare state and history to explain similarities and differences and the discussion focused attention on the role of politics and populist parties.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Christian Science Monitor on Muslims in Europe

Now it's time for something from the European side of the Atlantic.  Issues around Islam and anti-Muslim sentiment have been a hot topic, particularly since the publication of books in France and Germany that claim that Muslims are "dumbing down" society, and that they refuse to integrate. However, issues of discrimination need to be addressed as well:

Obama's speech on immigration


Leave it to the Irish Times to cover the Latino response:

Republicans push back:

The push by Obama continues:

 Ruben Navarette's opinion -- tough as always:

Some facts on U.S. Mexico relationship:

Reyes defends border cities:

Some new MPI reports

There are two new reports from MPI -- the first is on skilled immigration and competitiveness in the U.S.:

Here is the link to the report on the EU:

This is part of a larger project on:

US and European Immigration Systems

A Collaborative Project on Improving the Capacity for Responding to Global Challenges

MPI is also collaborating with the Wilson Center on the following project on regional migration and competitiveness:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Obama to revive immigration reform

Can Obama use the political capital he gained this week to revive immigration reform?  I'm skeptical, but here are what some of the commentators in the media have to say:

From Time magazine:  Global Spin
Washington Examiner:  Obama to propose broader immigration reforms
From Reuters:  Obama-and-the-vexed-issue-of-immigration

Obama's meeting with Hispanic legislators from the Huffington Post:  Hispanic-lawmakers-obama-immigration-policy

In other news:
The Chipotle restaurant chain is in the spotlight for immigration violations:  Denver based Chipotle under scrutiny
The Hispanic Caucus calls for a freeze of: Secure Communitites

More from the New York Times on:Secure Communities

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ICE turn-around on students designated for deportation

Interesting article in the New York Times -- the student in Connecticut had support from Governor and Senators -- will this lead to more support for the DREAM act?: ARTICLE
        Arizona Governor Brewer asks for an extension of Guard deployment at the border:  ARTICLE

News from Europe and U.S. on Immigration - Schengen, reform, etcc

On reforming Schengen in the BBC:  France and Italy push for reform of Schengen treaty
Gavin Hewitt's commentary:  France and Italy

Last week President Obama held a meeting on immigration reform:  CNN link
The meeting did not include members of congress or border governors, leading to criticism by many outlets:
Washington Examiner Blog
FAIR on Obama immigration meeting

While others criticized the lack of progress:
U.S. Catholic Report
The Democratic Daily

Sunday, April 17, 2011

France Blocks Italian Trains

Authorities in France temporarily blocked trains from Italy in an attempt to stop north African migrants from entering the country...more from the BBC

Georgia governor to sign bill targeting illegal immigration

Georgia passes law similar to Arizona's SB 1070: ARTICLE

Important Article on FAIR from the New York Times

Jason de Parle writes about the man behind the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) John Tanton. This examination of the organizations he has started is a clear example of the role of "professional expertise" (a la Tichenor) in defining discourses and policy around immigration.  It is interesting to note, as was clear in the founding of FAIR, that Tanton initially had learned the lesson from racist groups in the past, and tried to keep FAIR "centrist and liberal" -- but over time Tanton became more racist and anti-Hispanic in tone and in the causes he funded.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The European Union awaits "strong and clear" action from Tunisia

The European Union awaits "strong and clear" action from Tunisia to help stem the flow of migrants fleeing the country, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday...more

..and another article from the Economist on this topic:

More Grad Students Eyeing U.S.

Inside Higher Ed reports that numbers of international student applicants increasing:  Graduate student applications increasing

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Paper from MPI-EUI

The Migration Policy Institute-European University Institute research partnership, which is funded by the European External Action Service, is identifying ways in which European and US immigration systems can be substantially improved to address major challenges policymakers confront on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Obstacles and Opportunities for Regional Cooperation: The US-Mexico Case, MPI Senior Policy Analyst Marc Rosenblum analyzes the history of US-Mexico relations on migration dating from the 1890s to the current day and offers some lessons for the relationship going forward. The history suggests that cooperation, while difficult, is not impossible and can offer benefits for both countries.