Penn Arts and Sciences


The Deportation Machine: Policing, Color Blind Racism, and the Institutional Production of Immigrant Criminality (Amada Armenta)

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm

CHANGES TO IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT POLICIES and tactics have resulted in the expansion of deportation in the United States. However, little is known about the institutional dynamics and everyday enforcement practices that channel immigrants into the criminal justice system.

Drawing on two years of fieldwork in Nashville, Prof. Armenta offers an on-the-ground account of police behavior, the first actors connecting immigrants to the criminal justice system. Building on theories of institutional and color-blind racism,  she identifies a system of “institutional nativism” – a set of policies and practices that work together to systematically detect, subordinate and expel noncitizens.

The unauthorized accrue additional disadvantage related to their alienage through three mechanisms: 1) the local police department’s mandate that officers create contact with residents via traffic enforcement, inevitably puts offers in contact with immigrants, some of whom are unauthorized; 2) state laws prohibit unauthorized residents from obtaining driver’s licenses and identification cards, increasing their risk of arrest by local police; and 3) immigration screenings at the local jail. Local police are largely blind to their participation in deportation and explain their behavior through a color-blind ideology. This color-blind ideology obscures and naturalizes how organizational practices and laws converge to systematically criminalize unauthorized Latino residents.

Armada Armenta is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Penn.

Being American/Becoming American: Immigrants’ Membership in the United States (Irene Bloemraad)

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm

WHAT MAKES SOMEONE AN "AMERICAN"?  Political theorists and political sociologists have emphasized "ethnic" and "civic" distinctions in national belonging, while scholars of immigration focus on boundary making around language, religion, citizenship status and race.  In a presentation of ongoing work, Professor Bloemraad explores the contours of membership in the United States that emerged in interviews with 182 U.S.-born youth and their immigrant parents born in Mexico, China, and Vietnam. Despite a discourse portraying U.S. citizenship as a civic and political affiliation blind to ascriptive traits, many of those interviewed equate “being American” with racial majority status, affluence, and privilege.

Bloemraad argues that contemporary scholars of politics and immigration have not sufficiently explored economic notions of American-ness, which immigrants and their children can see as both a barrier to membership, but also a pathway to symbolic inclusion, notably for undocumented migrants.  For many immigrants, membership through naturalization – the exemplar of citizenship by consent – does not overcome a lingering sense of outsider status. Perhaps surprisingly, birthright citizenship offers an egalitarian promise: it is a color-blind and class-blind path to membership.

These findings have implications for current political debates. Various politicians and public commentators seek to deny birthright citizenship to children born in the United States to undocumented or temporary migrants. Among their claims, critics of universal birthright citizenship contend that the practice flies in the face of liberal principles, in which both individuals and the state should consent to membership. From this perspective, citizenship through naturalization is valorized, since it rests on the affirmative choice of the immigrant and the clear consent of the state.  This research suggests instead that the Citizenship Clause of Fourteenth Amendment provides constitutional legitimacy for the ideals of inclusion and equality, facilitating immigrant integration and communal membership through citizenship. 

Irene Bloemraad is the Thomas Garden Barnes Chair of Canadian Studies and Associate Professor, Sociology, at the University of California, Berkeley.  An internationally recognized expert on immigration, in January 2014 she was named a member of the U.S. National Research Council panel that will report on “Integration of Immigrants in U.S. Society.” Bloemraad’s work examines the intersection of immigration and politics, with emphasis on citizenship, immigrants’ political and civic participation, and multiculturalism. 

Her research has appeared in top academic journals spanning the fields of sociology, political science, history and ethnic/ migration studies. Recent articles include “Is There a Trade-off Between Multiculturalism and Socio-Political Integration?” (co-authored with Matthew Wright) which appeared in Perspectives in Politics and won the “Best Article” award from the Migration and Citizenship section of the American Political Science Association in 2013. Bloemraad has authored or co-edited three books: Rallying for Immigrant Rights (2011), Civic Hopes and Political Realities (2008) and Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada (2006), which won an honorable mention for the best book from the American Sociological Association’s International Migration section. 

Rethinking Race and Immigration in an Era of Mass Immigration: Evidence from a High-Skilled Gateway (Thomas Jiménez)

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Tomas R. Jiménez is an assistant professor of sociology at Stanford University. He is also a Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion. Professor Jiménez is currently spending a sabbatical year as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (CASBS). His research and writing focus on immigration, assimilation, social mobility, and ethnic and racial identity. His book, Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity (University of California Press, 2010) draws on interviews and participant observation to understand how uninterrupted Mexican immigration influences the ethnic identity oflater-generation Mexican Americans. The book was recently awarded the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Latinos/as Section 2011 Distinguished Book Award. Professor Jiménez has also published this research in the American Sociological Review (forthcoming), American Journal of Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Science Quarterly, DuBois Review, and the Annual Review of Sociology.

Professor Jiménez is being hosted by the Department of Sociology Colloquium Series.

American Refugee Law: Historical, Global and Local Perspectives (Maria Cristina Garcia, Fernando Chang-Muy, Judith Bernstein-Baker)

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

FOR THIS FAR-RANGING EXAMINATION of American refugee law, with ample opportunity for the audience to ask questions and participate, we have brought together historian Maria Cristina Garcia (Cornell), legal scholar Fernando Chang-Muy (Penn Law), and advocate Judith Bernstein-Baker (HIAS-PA). They will discuss the transformations of refugee law in recent decades, possibilities for reform, and the current situation in the Philadelphia area.

Judith Bernstein-Baker joined  the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) of Pennsylvania as the Executive Director in 1998. Prior to that she ran the Public Service Program at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was named Honorary Fellow of Penn Law School in 1998. She received her B.A. from Binghamton University, her M.S.W. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work and her J.D., cum laude, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

Fernando Chang-Muy is the Thomas O’Boyle Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where he teaches Refugee Law and Policy. In addition, at the Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice, he lectures on Immigration and Social Work, and on Organizational Effectiveness, in the Executive Education Program, with a focus on strategic planning, board governance, staff communications, and resource development. He is former Assistant Dean and Equal Opportunity Officer at Swarthmore College, where he also taught International Human Rights.

Maria Cristina Garcia is the Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies at Cornell University.  She studies refugees, immigrants, exiles, and transnationals in the Americas. Her first book, Havana USA (1996), examined the migration of Cubans to the United States after Fidel Castro took power in 1959. Her second book, Seeking Refuge (2006), is a study of the individuals, groups, and organizations that responded to the Central American refugee crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, and helped shape refugee policies throughout North America. Garcia has been chosen as a fellow for 2013-14 by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Her project as a Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow in residence will be “Refuge in Post-Cold War America.”

Governing the Divide (James Walsh, SSPF Postdoctoral Fellow, with Irene Bloemraad and Rogers Smith)

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

IN THIS POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW WORKSHOP, James Walsh presents new work developed from his dissertation, "Governing the Divide: Institutions and Immigration Control in the United States, Canada, and Australia."  Through sources extending back to the nineteenth century, Walsh traces the origins of three regimes for handling immigration – generally more centralized and technocratic in Canada and Australia, and more fragmented in the U.S. –  that continue to determine distinctive border controls in the age of globalization. Irene Bloemraad (UC Berkeley) and Rogers Smith (Penn Political Science) will comment on Walsh's manuscript.

GRADUATE SSPF WORKSHOP: New Nations, Old States, and Great Power Conflict

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 5:30pm

As part of its Origins of the Twenty-First Century: People, Policies, Politics series of graduate-student workshops, the Graduate Social Science & Policy Forum presents two papers on the theme, "New Nations, Old States, and Great Power Conflict."  Meicen Sun (Penn Political Science) will discuss "Red army, Blue Helmets: Evaluating the nature of change in China’s participation in UN Peacekeeping." Claire Kaiser (Penn History) will discuss, "The Soviet Roots of the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict."

GRADUATE SSPF WORKSHOP: New Policies, New Institutions, and New Communities

Thu, 01/23/2014 - 4:30pm - 6:00pm

As part of its Origins of the Twenty-First Century: People, Policies, Politics series of graduate-student workshops, the Graduate Social Science & Policy Forum presents two papers on the theme, "New Policies, New Institutions, and New Communities."  Nichole Nelson (Vanderbilt University Dept. of History) will discuss "A Model for America: Racial Integration in South Orange, New Jersey."  C. Luke Victor (University of Kentucky Dept. of History) will discuss, "Move ’em, Dam It!: A Social History of the Tennessee Valley Authority, 1915-1940."

GRADUATE SSPF WORKSHOP: New Rationalizations of Political and Social Behavior

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 5:30pm

As part of its Origins of the Twenty-First Century: People, Policies, Politics series of graduate-student workshops, the Graduate Social Science & Policy Forum presents two papers on the theme, "New Rationalizations for Political and Social Behavior."  Jason Oakes (Penn History & Sociology of Science) will discuss "Length of Life, Risk of Death, and the Replacement of Capital Goods: Calculating the Population at MetLife and the Institute for Biological Research, 1925-1940."  Rachel Guberman (Penn History) will discuss, "Remaking the Political Mainstream: Reform Democrats and the 1974 Election."

The Origins of Migration Between Mexico & the U.S. (Laurencio Sanguino, SSPF Postdoctoral Fellow, with Jose Moya and Madeline Hsu)

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm

IN THIS POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW WORKSHOP, Laurencio Sanguino presents new work developed from his dissertation, "The Origins of Migration between Mexico and the United States, 1905-1945." The focus of his work this year has been Zamora, Michoacán, and its transformation into one of the most important migrant-sending communities in Mexico. Jose Moya (Barnard College) and Madeline Hsu (University of Texas, Austin) will comment on Sanguino's manuscript.

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