JOIN THE PENN WHARTON PUBLIC POLICY INITIATIVE STUDENT ASSOCIATION for "U.S. Immigration Policy: Dreaming of Reform," a lecture by Douglas Rivlin, ASC’95, current Director of Communications for for the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force, U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL-04). This event is in conjunction with the recent release of “Framing the Debate: Immigration,” a comprehensive report on current policy options before Congress and the economic effects of undocumented immigration, authored by members of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative Student Association.
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.
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.
MAJOR SCHOLARS FROM sociology, city planning, economics, history, and public policy convene to present research on the role of immigration in reshaping metropolitan housing markets, creating economic opportunity, and transforming neighborhoods throughout the United States (and beyond).
9:00-9:15: Introduction/Welcome (Thomas Sugrue) Watch video
9:15-10:45: Revitalizing Small Cities and Suburbs
Introductions by Chair: Laurencio Sanguino (SSPF Postdoc) Watch video
Marilynn Johnson (Boston College, History), "The Metropolitan Diaspora: New Immigrants in the Greater Boston Suburbs" Watch video.
Michael Katz and Kenneth Ginsburg (Penn, History), "Immigrant Cities as Reservations for Low Wage Labor: Bridgeport, Passaic, and Paterson" Watch video
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 Garciais 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.”
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.
SSPF immigration advisory board member, Emilio Parrado, discusses the political inertia that is holding up immigration reform in Congress and its impact. "In this era of concern over budget deficits, we are spending more and more on immigration enforcement, including border security and locking people up for months before we deport them." He concludes that immigration reform has failed because of "a lack of leadership and willingness to take a risk. Good politicians have to accept that some things that are good for the country are not going to be popular with their local constituencies, and do them anyway. But they just don’t seem to be able to find people to do that." The full interview is here.