Friday, November 21, 2014

Obama's Executive Order on Immigration - the details and more analysis

President Obama's Thursday evening speech was short on details of the executive action being taken to defer deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. Below are some summaries and links to the pertinent details:

A summary from the Law Firm of Karen Crawford:

November 21, 2014

a.       Age cap lifted – if you fulfill all other requirements, it does not matter how old you are now [this will impact journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas]
a.       He changed the date of entry– if you entered before your 16th birthday before January 1, 2010, you are now eligible (it was 6/15/07) 
b.      They will give permits for three years instead of two
c.       Rules will be released within 90 days
a.       Three year work permits for parents of US citizens and permanent residents
b.      You must have arrived before January 1, 2010
c.       The child must have been born by 11/20/14, but the age of the child doesn’t matter
d.      You must have been present in the US without lawful status on 11/20/14
e.       We do not know yet what documents are required nor the criminal eligibility, but the Immigration fee will be $465
f.        Rules will be released within 180 days
g.       In the meantime, gather evidence of identity (Passport or national ID), birth certificates of children and their resident cards if applicable, and evidence of your residence since 2010
a.       You can request your waiver before you depart the US
b.      Extended to anyone with a currently available visa – specifically spouses of residents and sons/daughters of citizens and residents

c.       It may be easier to prove extreme hardship

U.S. Department of Homeland Security sealThe Department of Homeland Security has a website with a summary of the executive action and series of memos detailing policy changes and implementation 

Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action - Key Facts

Taking Action on Immigration

More Analysis:

Is Obama's immigration action legal? A Q&A.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama takes executive action for undocumented parents of citizen children

Despite threats from GOP leaders, President Obama took a major step today to provide relief from deportation for approximately 4 million undocumented immigrants. After nearly two years of inaction by Congress, the President had been pressured by immigrant activists to take the action he had promised during his re-election campaign. He had originally planned to take action before the midterm election but was convinced by congressional democrats to wait. Some had urged him to wait until the new Congress was in place, to see if they would take action - the consequences of this executive action, including implementation, the response from conservatives and other issues remain to be seen:

Here’s Obama’s Immigration Speech In Full

Barack Obama

For those with a short attention span:

A quick recap from the WSJ:

The broad outlines of Obama’s actions tonight:
  • Would shift more resources to border enforcement
  • Would fix the immigration court system
  • Would grant more visas to victims of crimes or human trafficking
  • Would emphasize deporting criminals and persons suspected of involvement in terrorism or gang activity.
  • Would allow about 4 million immigrants to take a background check and apply for limited permission to stay in the country.
  • Would expand a deferred action program to cover more of the Dreamers — children of illegal immigrants brought to this country as children.

It's important to note that Obama's action does not extend to the parents of Dreamers (undocumented immigrants currently getting relief from deportation via Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA)

Analysis from the New York Times:

Analysis from the Los Angeles Times:

Silicon Valley lukewarm to Obama's immigration reform moves

Hot off the presses from the White House:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Time for a Latino Political Party?


Time for a Latino Political Party?

Frustrated Hispanic-American voters might strike out on their own. Then what?

In the late 1800s, disgruntled farmers in the Midwest and South decided they could no longer support the Democratic or Republican Parties. Neither of the major parties was responsive to their concerns amid crop failures and falling prices during a recession, so the farmers decided to throw their weight behind an upstart, the Populist or People’s Party. White and black farmers joined together, even in the South, to support candidates who called for the federal government to provide credit and financial support during a time of low crop yields and economic downturn. They succeeded in electing governors, congressmen and hundreds of minor officials and legislators, primarily throughout the Midwest. The party was geographically concentrated, which allowed them to focus their efforts to elect congressional candidates.

The Populists lasted only a few years as an independent entity, but their success clearly got the attention of the mainstream parties. Most important, it had a lasting impact on policy, even beyond the issues pushed by the farmers. Many of the Populists’ demands became law by the 1920s—including the direct election of U. S. senators, the development of a progressive federal income tax and the availability of short-term credit in rural areas.

Latinos in the United States are now confronting a dilemma similar to the one faced by the farmers. A recent Gallup poll indicates that the number of Latinos ranking immigration as a top issue doubled since the first half of this year. Yet Latinos have been forced to endure bitter disappointment from a Democratic president who has broken many immigration promises, in no small measure because the Republican-led House of Representatives refuses to act on immigration reform in Congress. The president’s decision to defer deportation of newly arrived children—a decision announced just five months before the 2012 presidential election—increased enthusiasm for Obama among Latinos; 71 percent of the record 11.2 million Latinos who turned out to vote cast their ballot for Obama.

Many of them are now deeply disappointed. The president—who had campaigned in 2008 on a pledge to reform the immigration system—again promised to make the issue an early and top priority during his second term. Congress stymied those efforts, so Obama pledged to take executive action—only to delay it until after the midterms. No wonder a new Pew Research Center poll shows that a majority of Latino voters think the Democratic Party is doing a poor job on immigration, and a different recent survey indicates substantially dampened enthusiasm for Obama and the Democrats among Latino voters because of inaction on immigration reform. Even as the president tried to smooth over differences this week at an appearance before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus annual gala, some frustrated Latino activists are contemplating deliberately sitting out the midterm election to make Democrats pay a price at the polls.

Many of them are now deeply disappointed. The president—who had campaigned in 2008 on a pledge to reform the immigration system—again promised to make the issue an early and top priority during his second term. Congress stymied those efforts, so Obama pledged to take executive action—only to delay it until after the midterms. Now wonder a new Pew Research Center poll shows that a majority of Latino voters think the Democratic Party is doing a poor job on immigration, and a different recent survey indicates substantially dampened enthusiasm for Obama and the Democrats among Latino voters because of inaction on immigration reform. Because of their profound disappointment with the Democrats’ inaction, some frustrated Latino activists are even contemplating deliberately sitting out the midterm election to make Democrats pay a price at the polls.

But are these the only alternatives—stay home and sulk, or accept the better of two bad options? Could it be time for Latinos to follow the path forged by the disgruntled farmers? Or follow the model in Europe, where third parties are fairly common?

In Europe, minorities and special interests often form their own parties when they feel their issues are not being championed by larger parties. This is most easily done in countries with proportional representation, which allows more than one representative for each district and—unlike winner-take-all systems like most of the United States—allocate seats based on the percentage of votes garnered by each contender. In such a system, minor parties are often able to gain enough support to win seats in legislatures. Examples include Basque nationalists in Spain, as well as Green and far-right parties across Europe. In places like Britain that have majoritarian systems with single-member districts, geographically concentrated parties like the Scottish National Party are able to win seats in Parliament. Even here in the United States, the occasional small party or independent can win a seat, including in the U.S. Senate. (One example: Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who caucuses with Democrats.)

As relative newcomers, immigrants often don’t have the money or other resources needed to start a new party. Far-right party leaders, on the other hand, tend to come from existing parties and have a built-in support network.

Indeed, in Europe’s multi-party system, it has been anti-immigrant far right parties that have taken hold. We have an analogue in the Tea Party in the United States. Yet the Tea Party is not truly a separate party—at least for now, it is a faction within the Republican Party that has managed to set the agenda on issues like immigration.

By and large, majoritarian electoral rules like ours produce two-party systems. There is no hope in the foreseeable future that those rules will change and that means that small parties, like the Populist Party, inevitably disappear or, like the Libertarian and Green Parties, remain on the fringes of a system dominated by the two major parties.

Still, there are some reasons—42 million of them, to start with—to think that a Latino party could be different. Various ethnic groups have historically wielded a great deal of influence within political parties, particularly at the local and state levels. The German-American Alliance, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (“the oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization in the United States”) and the Immigrant’s Protection League all mobilized against the restriction of immigration in the early 20th century. Latinos also have an important advantage which supports the idea of starting a separate party: They still tend to be geographically concentrated in such states as California, Florida and Texas which allows them to focus their efforts, like the Populist party did in the 1890s.

Another relevant historical example is the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). Fifty years ago Fannie Lou Hamer appealed to the conscience of the Democratic Party, asking for the Democratic National Committee’s credential committee to recognize their delegation in place of the all-white Democratic delegation from the state. The leadership came to a compromise and agreed to seat two members of the delegation, but the white delegation walked off and wouldn’t accept the compromise. Nevertheless, the example set by the MFDP would have a clear impact on the Democratic Party in the South going forward. Despite the prospect of losing white support in the South, the Democratic Party supported civil rights legislation and gained the support of a majority of black voters.

An ethnic party did arise in the United States in the late 1960s as the Chicano Movement organized and called for a third party to focus on self-determination for Mexican-Americans. The main focus of organizers was in Texas, where La Raza Unida party won seats on city councils, school boards, and even ran a candidate for governor in 1972 and 1978. However, the party’s support declined as party activism slowed in the late 1970s.

Hispanic Americans are in a better political position today than either the MFDP was five decades ago or even La Raza Unida was in the ‘70s. In terms of representation, there is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the 113th Congress has a record number of Latino elected officials, with 35 representatives and three senators. Most of these representatives are Democrats, and the immigration issue has been a high priority, as evidenced by the scathing criticism recently lobbed at the president by Representatives Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) and Luis Gutierrez (Ill.). Organizations like the National Council of La Raza, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and a variety of pro-immigration organizations have lobbied for immigration reform and deportation relief. How long will it be before such groups grow exasperated with the Democrats’ failure to move these issues forward?
A Latino party might even help solve the biggest obstacle to greater political clout—boosting turnout. At the time of the last midterm election, data from the Pew Research Center shows, Latinos chalked up a sharp increase in the number of eligible voters, while the number of actual voters is increasing more slowly. Also, as Pew notes, “even among eligible voters, Latino participation rates have lagged behind that of other groups in recent elections.” For example, 31.2 percent of Latino eligible voters said they voted in 2010, compared with nearly half of white eligible voters and 44 percent of black eligible voters. An independent Latino Party or a cohesive Latino bloc within an existing party that focused on the issues most important to Latinos could spur increased participation—and thus more political clout.

The smartest approach in the short run might be for Latinos to work within the existing party system, even as they continue to organize and swell their ranks within the electorate. In the long-term—especially if Democrats and Republicans continue to disappoint—they will need to assess their potential for working together as a voting bloc and whether this could lead to support for a party. Is this a long shot? Yes, but it’s better than sitting on the sidelines or waiting for others to act. How long will it be before Hispanic-Americans’ patience runs out?

Terri E. Givens is associate professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Legislating Equality: The Politics of Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe, with Rhonda Evans Case. Her website can be found at and she is on twitter @TerriGivens.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Muslim integration in Europe

The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog is hosting series of blogs this week on Muslim integration in Europe, starting with a post by Terri Givens and Pete Mohanty of the University of Texas at Austin:

A left-right divide in European attitudes toward immigrants

Friday, September 19, 2014

Obama's delay continues to impact party politics, election in Sweden raises concerns on immigration

Fallout over President Obama's decision to delay taking executive action on immigration continues...

The response from the Hispanic Caucus tries to address the concerns of activists who are unhappy with the Democratic party:
Protesters gather at Democratic Party headquarters, call for immigration reform

Meanwhile the number of Central American's crossing the border has dropped dramatically:

In Europe, the success of Sweden's anti-immigrant party has raised concerns about the immigration issue:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Obama delays action on immigration/deportations until after midterms

The big news for this weeks is President Obama's decision to delay taking action on immigration/deportations, despite pressure from immigrant advocates. Here's a range of coverage from the media beginning with an analysis from BuzzFeed:

Inside President Obama’s Decision To Delay Immigration Actions

Ints Kalnins / Reuters

Obama Delays Immigration Action, Yielding to Democratic Concerns
From the New York Times: “Because of the Republicans’ extreme politicization of this issue, the president believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections,” a White House official said. “Because he wants to do this in a way that’s sustainable, the president will take action on immigration before the end of the year.”

Protesters outside the White House last month. President Obama had promised to issue broad directives to overhaul the immigration system by summer’s end.

More in-depth analysis from the New York Times:
Political Shift Stalls Efforts to Overhaul Immigration

NBC news had an exclusive interview with President Obama on today's Meet the Press:

Exclusive: Obama Blames Border Crisis for Immigration Reform Delay

Democrats criticize Obama on immigration-order delay

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Politics of Immigration: House Manages to pass bills, upcoming elections in focus

Lots of analysis this week about the House GOP's actions on immigration, the first a bill that focused on deportations and a funding bill that doesn't come close to the President's request. The GOP is clearly concerned about taking action on immigration before the midterm elections, but the bills passed are of concern to those who want to reach out to Latino voters.

HR 5230 and HR 5272: Making a Bad Situation Worse and What It Means for November and Beyond

Voices: GOP won't face immigration backlash in November

Republican Rep. Steve King was confronted Monday night at his own fundraiser by an undocumented immigrant and activist.

Meanwhile the focus remains on the border, particularly here in Texas where legislators this week questioned Governor Perry's calling up of the National Guard and how that will be paid for, in the absence of federal funds.

Perry's Office Defends National Guard Funding

Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, announces the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border on July 21, 2014.
photo by: Bob Daemmrich
The numbers of children crossing the border has dropped but concerns over housing remain, although plans to house families at military bases have been dropped and some shelters were closed.

U.S. to Close Three Emergency Shelters for Child Immigrants:Need for Sites Declines With Fewer Unaccompanied Minors Caught Crossing Mexican Border

Children at the Border - Interactive Map from the NY Times

Friday, July 25, 2014

Governor Perry deploys National Guard, Broader issues raised in Central America

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced this week that he would deploy 1000 National Guard troops to deal with the crisis at the Texas border. This raised a variety of issues (including the impact on Perry's potential run for president), particularly what kind of coordination there might be with the Border Patrol, if the Guard troops would have the authority to arrest people caught crossing the border, the impact on children crossing the border, etc...Fusion news raised a set of questions as well:
Major General Nichols of the Texas National Guard held a press briefing on Tuesday hoping to clarify the role of the Guard and raising the hope that many of the troops would volunteer for the duty:
The New York Times raised the issue of arrest power:

and "Government Executive" explored the options of action on the border:
Meanwhile President Obama is also considering deploying the National Guard at the border:

In Washington, DC, the Wilson Center's Latin American Program is doing a series of reports and panels on the issue of migrants from Central America. This included a panel with the foreign ministers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras discussing issues of violence, transnational criminal organizations, and what can be done to deal with the underlying factors that are driving migrants to the U.S. [panel starts at 10 minute point]

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The Immigration Policy Center has set up a resource page:

Unaccompanied Children: A Resource Page

I'll end today's blog post with an interesting editorial from the Baptist Standard:
Editorial: What are we going to do about all those children?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New resources for understanding the crisis of unaccompanied minors on the border

Several outlets have developed background materials for understanding the factors that have led to the current crisis of refugees/migrants on the border from Central America.

The first link is a blog post from an immigration lawyer detailing the hurdles lawyers face in trying to represent families in detention centers:

The Artesia Experience

The Wilson Quarterly has put together an interactive set of maps and graphs which detail the underlying factors which lead people to leave places like Honduras and El Salvador:

Wilson Quarterly Interactive Map

Huff Post Latino Voices has also examined the U.S. influences that have helped lead to the current crisis:

Here's How The U.S. Sparked A Refugee Crisis On The Border, In 8 Simple Steps

Protests against the influx were set for this weekend, although turn-outs tended to be small, it is an illustration of the divides in public opinion created by the crisis:

tipo gritando.jpg

from the Austin American-Statesman:
Seeking Asylum in the United States: Fleeing gang brutality in El Salvador, Jose has made the dangerous trek to the United States to seek asylum. Casa Marianella in Austin has been his home for the past three months.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Focus on unaccompanied minors continues

The situation for unaccompanied minors at the border continues to create headlines. Protests are continuing and have spread to Arizona where many are calling for the children to be deported immediately, but this would be against current law, and due process.

Growing protests over where to shelter immigrant children hits Arizona

The Catholic church has already taken an active role in helping the children and families and Pope Francis has taken a strong position in support of the child migrants:

I recently learned of a new resource called TRAC immigration (h/t Karen Crawford):
"TRAC's Immigration Project is a unique new multi-year effort to systematically go after very detailed information from the government, check it for accuracy and completeness and then make it available in an understandable way to the American people, Congress, immigration groups and others."

They just posted data on unaccompanied children and how they fare in court:
The ACLU has also posted a commentary on children in immigration court and how they fare without a lawyer:
New Republic has posted an article that focuses on the TRAC data on children in immigration court:

Migrants and lawyers

A recent Gallup poll shows that concern about immigration has grown dramatically:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Border issues dominate Obama visit to Texas

Immigration ended up high on the agenda for President Obama's trip to Texas, that was planned to focus on economic growth and support for the middle class. Earlier this week, President Obama proposed a $3.7 billion emergency budget measure that would in part address housing issues for the large number of unaccompanied minors who have entered the country from Central America in the last few months.

After some back and forth over if and when a meeting would occur, Governor Rick Perry agreed to join President Obama in Dallas at a round-table discussion about the border.

Obama Presses Perry to Rally Support for Border Funds

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas greeted President Obama on Wednesday in Dallas, where the two attended a meeting on immigration. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama came out of the meeting urging Congress to approve funds to deal with the crisis.

The roots of the crisis in Central America are still being discussed, with a variety of factors being considered, some argue that President Obama's executive order allowing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is encouraging children from Central America to come to the U.S. or that criminal gangs are telling people in these countries that there children won't be deported:

Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating: ‘Lax enforcement’ is not the culprit—U.S. trade and immigration policies are.
There is at least one House Republican who thinks that immigration reform needs to move forward, but he was told this week that his bill is dead:

Monday, July 7, 2014

The public response to the influx of refugees from Central America

Beyond the political posturing of Republicans and Democrats on the issue of immigration, there has been the on the ground response of citizens in cities that have been affected by the influx.  As noted in our previous post, the number of children, particularly unaccompanied minors is unprecendented in recent times.  It harkens back to the 1960s exodus of Cuban children known as Operation Pedro Pan

The media has focused attention on the protest by citizens of Murrieta, California who blocked busloads of migrants begin brought to the town for processing -- as in this report from NBC news:

Murrieta Mayor: Undocumented Immigrant Bus Protests Are Free Speech

 "'What people need to understand is that they [protesters] are showing their emotion and passion about a federal policy that isn’t working,' Murrieta Mayor Alan Long said Wednesday, speaking in support of crowds that blocked buses full of undocumented immigrants trying to enter the town a day earlier."

However, the protests in Murrieta are an outlier - in most border cities, organizations like Catholic Charities are reaching out to help house and feed the migrants as noted in this report from NBC news:

In Some Towns, Immigrants Met With Aid Instead of Anger

"'Right now it’s not about politics. It’s about a humanitarian crisis,' said Ofelia de los Santos of Catholic Charities, whose group helps about 200 people a day. McAllen and the other small towns in the Rio Grande Valley were described as a region where most are first-, second- or third-generation Mexican-Americans."

Meanwhile, militia groups are heading onto the scene, raising concerns about armed civilians encountering immigrants as they come across the border:

Texas militia leader's video on border patrols draws fire                      

Unaccompanied minors and refugees from Central America

This will be the first of several posts on the crisis of unaccompanied minors coming from Central America. Described as a "humanitarian crisis" by some and an "illegal immigration crisis" by others, the current situation with refugees/undocumented immigrants from Central America has shifted the agenda of the politics of immigration in the last month. In particular, the number of unaccompanied minors has increased dramatically from 26,000 last year, to 52,000 since October. This is a multi-faceted issues, that raises many issues, but it is not necessarily an issue of border enforcement. Most of the minors crossing the border are surrendering to the Border Patrol, and are not necessarily trying to sneak into the U.S.  It is a humanitarian crisis because our own laws require these children to be processed and the system is not equipped to handle these numbers.

Here is more on the issue from back in June:
Many of the children and families coming to the U.S. are fleeing violence in Central America, as shown in this report from the Department of Homeland Security, and posted by the Pew Research Center:
DHS map of where unaccompanied children are coming from in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador
Another factor is Mexico's southern border:
NBC News has a subject page on the "Immigration Border Crisis" which follows the many facets of this story: 

More to come soon!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Europe and the World: The Role of Cities in Immigrant Integration

Check out my latest post on my Europe blog that deals with immigration:  Europe and the World: The Role of Cities in Immigrant Integration: My week in Berlin continues, as I was walking around the Alexanderplatz I happened to run into a protest of some refugees and recorded a bit...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe: Equality Bodies in the fiscal crisis

Today's post is drawn from the new book Legislating Equality: The Politics of Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe by Terri E. Givens and Rhonda Evans Case (Oxford University Press, May 2014). You can download the first chapter at Oxford University Press - UK

In October of 1999 politicians around the European Union (EU) were stunned by the success of Jörg Haider’s far right Freedom Party. When Haider’s party became part of the Austrian government in early 2000, the other EU countries responded with diplomatic sanctions and within a few months would pass the Racial Equality Directive (RED), a measure which would require all 15 member states (and future members) to pass antidiscrimination policy into national law. Ten years later, despite some initial success with the development of national level equality bodies, many EU governments were slashing funding and moving once-independent entities into larger human rights bodies, thereby diluting their influence. The institutions created by the RED were under fire partially because of the ongoing fiscal crisis, but also due to political pressure. The RED and consequent Equal employment and Gender equality directives were a set of policies which developed along with European integration in the 1990s, but ran into the integration slowdown after enlargement in the mid-2000s, a fiscal crisis, and a lack of prioritization by mostly conservative governments.

In our book, Legislating Equality: The Politics of Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe, we examine the development and implementation of the RED in Europe. Two factors played an important role for the development of antidiscrimination policy in the EU. The first is racist anti-immigrant sentiment, and the second is Left vs. Right politics, i.e. the rise of the radical right as a catalyst for the passage of legislation and Left support for antidiscrimination policy. However, these policy developments were also dependent upon the process of Europeanization – as the European Union developed, political opportunities developed which allowed the issue of racism and antidiscrimination policy to move forward as a policy issue.

The RED’s most visible accomplishment was the creation of national equality bodies tasked with combating discrimination. The equality bodies have three principal goals: to assist and support victims to pursue complaints, to conduct independent surveys, and to publish independent reports on discrimination. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) delineated the following competencies as central to a body’s success:

  • Providing aid and assistance to victims, including legal aid, and (where appropriate) to ensure victims have recourse to the courts or other judicial authorities. 
  • Monitoring the content and impact of legislation intended to combat racial discrimination, and recommending, where necessary, improvements to this legislation. 
  • Advising policymakers on how to improve regulations and practices. 
  • Hearing complaints concerning specific cases of discrimination and seeking resolutions either through mediation or through binding and enforceable decisions. 
  • Sharing information with other national and European institutions tasked with promoting equality. 
  • Issuing advice on best practices of anti-discriminatory practice. 
  • Promoting public awareness of discrimination and disseminating pertinent information (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, 1997). 
By 2008 most countries in the EU, including those that had recently joined, had passed laws implementing the EU’s equality directives. In the first few years after the transposition of the Equal Treatment Directives there was growth in both the number and staffing of the equality bodies and in some cases success in “naming and shaming” corporations and other entities for discrimination. The equality bodies were also somewhat successful in bringing awareness to the issues around discrimination. However, by the ten year anniversary of the passage of the RED in 2010 it was clear that both politics and the European fiscal crisis were having a negative impact on the equality bodies.

By 2010, antidiscrimination policy enforcement was put on the backburner in most countries.  Britain’s Labour government decided to merge the long-standing Commission for Race Equality into the Equality and Human Rights Commission, potentially blunting its impact in the area of racial discrimination. In France, the Haute Autorité de Lutte contre les Discriminations et pour L’Egalité (HALDE) became an important contact point for those who felt discrimination. However, in 2011, the French Assembly passed a law that folded the HALDE into a larger human rights entity, the Defenseur des Droits. Both staff from the HALDE and academic commentators expected this change to reduce the visibility, effectiveness and power of the HALDE, particularly in the area of racial discrimination.

The global economic downturn has been perceived to be a “trigger” for increased intolerance and discrimination against migrants and members of minority groups, exacerbated by budget cuts and waning political will to combat it. However, this is likely a temporary spike that does not yet point to an increase in institutional discrimination. This does point to a need for governments to act quickly: the right measures need to be put in place during countries’ recovery period from the crisis to stave off a worsening of the situation of migrants and minorities—groups already at risk.

In light of these challenges, the European Union’s antidiscrimination priority for the next decade should not be to create more legislation or more institutions; instead, the EU needs to strengthen the ones it already has. European governments, EU institutions, and civil society partners will continue to evaluate what is working and what is not, and reinforce the existing structures.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Immigration enforcement tops news, reform remains unlikely before election

Homeland Security's new Secretary, Jeh Johnson hit the Sunday morning talk shows to defend the Obama administration's record on immigration enforcement:

"This Week" Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Chief Stresses Families in Immigration

Many were surprised by Congressman John Boehner's comments about his Republican colleagues in the House and their unwillingness to address immigration reform:
But concerns about enforcement remain:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Immigration and the Civil Rights Summit

With comprehensive immigration reform off the table for now, immigration advocates have turned to the issue of deportations, particularly of family members.  The Obama administration has reached 2 million deportations and advocates are urging the President to change his policies and consider the welfare of children and families:

Report: Deportations Quadrupled With Obama, Two-Thirds Were For Minor Offenses

UT students were among those protesting deportations both Wednesday afternoon and Thursday during the Civil Rights Summit, with a large march from the UT Tower to the LBJ Library:

Students Protest Ahead of Obama's Civil Rights Speech

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Activists try to put immigration back on the agenda

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has a district that is changing - and may lead to a new focus on immigration reform:

As Hispanic population booms, immigration debate comes to key Republican’s Va. district

Meanwhile, in Florida:

Miami immigrant rights group to host annual awards dinner with hopes for immigration reform

A network of young immigrants are looking to President Obama to cut back on deportations:

Young Immigrants Turn Focus to President in Struggle Over Deportations

While other advocates began a nation-wide bus tour that will stop in key congressional districts in Texas:

Cross-country trek embarks for immigration reform

Read more here:



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Boehner says immigration reform off the table for this year

House Speaker John Boehner surprised many analysts last week, saying that passing immigration reform was unlikely before the 2014 midterm elections. The rationale behind this is complicated as noted in this article from the New York Times:

Behind Retreat on Immigration, a Complicated Political Interplay

Why are many Republicans against a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants? This cartoon helps explain part of the reason...

Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer has been looking for ways to get around the roadblocks in the House:

Schumer Offers Long-Shot Option to Skirt House G.O.P. on Immigration

To see an  in-depth look at immigration issues that have come up this week in Europe, check out my Europe blog:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

GOP Unveils Immigration Principles, Obama Facing Tough Choices

On Thursday the GOP presented their "Immigration Principles" which are expected to lay the groundwork for legislation going forward - the principles call for legalization but not a path to citizenship:

President Obama, who has previously called for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants has said he is open to compromise with the House:

"The quandary for Mr. Obama is clear: He has vowed to overhaul immigration in two presidential campaigns, but to make good on the promise, he may have to agree to conditions from House Republicans that will be hard for many Democrats to accept. Mr. Boehner is facing pressure of his own to come up with a plan that will appeal to Hispanic voters."

Speaker John A. Boehner’s blueprint may force President Obama to decide whether to abandon a new path to citizenship. Doug Mills/The New York Times

Editorial from the New York Times:

Jennifer Rubin highlights the challenges that reform proposals will face: