This week, Harvard University students are taking a stand against a controversial 2009 dissertation, “IQ and Immigration Policy,” which argues that Hispanics have lower IQs and develops contentious suggestions for U.S. immigration reform based on this assumption. Jason Richwine, the author of the dissertation and currently a research contributor for The Heritage Foundation, ultimately recommends that U.S. immigration policy should be based on intelligence, excluding individuals with lower IQ scores and including individuals with higher scores. Though Richwine claims that he does not endorse ethnicity-based immigration reform, his use of IQs disaggregated by race and ethnicity raises questions about the intent of his work. (more…)
Crime is a global phenomenon. From the most highly developed states to the least developed ones, crime represents a significant threat to social well-being. And because of its ubiquity, unsavoriness, and harmful qualities, criminal activity has the distinction of being a social event that is often blamed on the individuals who live on the fringes of a society. For immigrants, this tendency to place the blame of crime on the less well-off members of a society is particularly dangerous since they often find themselves occupying some of the lowest rungs on a nation’s social ladder. Unsurprisingly, the consequences of criminal allegations against immigrants are likely to be severe; such allegations are also likely to reinforce the strong and enduring belief found in many countries that immigrants bring with them high criminal propensities (Citrin and Sides 2008; Ousey and Kubrin 2009). (more…)
Last month, a Guatemalan woman, N-S-, won her domestic violence based asylum case after seven years in the United States immigration court system. Her case is similar to the story of many other women who flee their countries in order to receive protection from their abusive husbands. Until recently, courts rejected these types of claims, arguing that their issues were personal, not cultural issues (see Sinha 2001). Now, with the help of organizations like the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at UC Hastings, it seems like more women receive favorable outcomes when their cases are heard in court (though the total number remains unknown since the asylum statistics are not disaggregated by type of persecution).
Domestic violence based cases usually involve a woman from a “Third World” or “developing” country migrating away from her husband to a “First World” or “developed” country, where she can receive refuge. This assumes that countries like the U.S. can provide a safe haven against domestic abuse. Yet, despite legislation and better police enforcement, many U.S. women (studies suggest at least one in four) will be the victims of domestic abuse at some point in their life course. Like many countries, the U.S. still shows high rates of domestic or intimate partner violence.
Source: Arasmus Photo
On May 10th, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County. The suit alleges that the man who claims to be “America’s toughest sheriff” has propagated a culture of discrimination against Hispanics and Latinos during his time in office. More specifically, it is argued in the lawsuit that Arpaio’s office has consistently permitted the violation of the civil rights of Hispanics and Latinos in its quest to crackdown on illegal immigration. It is alleged, for instance, that the sheriff’s office has failed to discourage discriminatory policing and that is has launched patrols based solely on reports of dark-skinned individuals congregating in a given area and/or speaking Spanish. The lawsuit further claims that Arpaio and his office do not track allegations of deputy misconduct. Although federal officials had been working with Arpaio to reach a settlement before filing the suit, talks broke down in April. At a news conference the day before the lawsuit was filed, Arpaio claimed that he has done nothing wrong and that he is being unfairly targeted by the Obama administration. The DOJ contends, however, that the sheriff’s office is practicing a type of law enforcement that is neither constitutional nor effective. (more…)
found at http://www.seiu.org/2011/04/immigrant-history-immigrant-future.php
If you asked Americans to pick which political party they considered pro-immigration and which one they considered anti-immigration most would agree that the Republican Party is anti-immigration and the Democratic Party is pro-immigration. Like abortion politics, this does not mean that every Democrat is pro-immigration and every Republican anti-immigration. Still, the divide between the parties appears to be growing starker as voters either sort themselves into parties due to their stance on immigration or solidify their stances on immigration as a result of their party affiliation. While many of us may take this alignment for granted, founders of the anti-immigration movement did not see this party alignment as inevitable and such an institutional arrangement was not deliberate. Instead, the current situation, I believe, points to the outsized role racialized politics play in the American political system. (more…)
Candidate Barack Obama promised to enact immigration reform in his first term. That promise is almost certain to go unfulfilled. The result of years of heated debate has been deadlock between two seemingly irreconcilable positions. On one hand, many in congress support a “path to citizenship” for undocumented workers and increased legal immigration. On the other, a substantial number argue for greater border enforcement, mass deportation, and decreased immigration. While the status quo has virtually no vocal support, systems create entrenched interest no matter how much everyone claims to despise that system. Furthermore, the deadlock may have entrenched a dominant discursive framework that impedes reform. (more…)
Saturday, February 5th, British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke at a security conference in Munich. In light of the growing evidence that the United Kingdom has become a “safe haven” for Islamic militants, Mr. Cameron’s remarks strongly criticized Britain’s multicultural approach to the nation’s immigrants. The policy, initiated in the 1960s, recognizes the right of all people in Britain to live by their own traditional values. Many argue that this strategy is responsible for the fractured sense of British identity and lack of social cohesion 50 years on.
While Mr. Cameron is not the first leader to decry European “multiculturalism” – Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France have both weighed in on the potential dangers- he went so far as to encourage governments to practice less tolerance. Britain’s new leader argued that this “hands-off tolerance” had encouraged Muslims and other immigrants to cut themselves off from the mainstream, creating segregated communities in which extremism can thrive.
The British Prime Minister went on to call for an end to what he perceives to be a dangerous double standard, stating “We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views- racism, for example- we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them.”
While the Mr. Cameron’s analysis may seem simplistic, it touches upon key spaces of analysis of race, immigration, identity, inequality, and the way that the last 10 years have introduced Islam as a particular factor. In the March 2011 issue of The Sociological Forum, Sociologists, Katja M. Guenther, Sadie Pendaz, and Fortunata Songora Makene explored many of these same themes in their article “The Impact of Intersecting Dimensions of Inequality and Identity on the Racial Status of Eastern African Immigrants.” While the research of Guenther, Pendaz, and Makene focuses primarily on east African immigrants in the American mid-west, many of the theses that the authors operate on serve as interesting lenses for the European multiculturalism debate. (more…)
Today, December 2, Maryland pastor Lennox Abrigo will be at the White House to discuss immigration reform. According to the New York Times, Abrigo and other pastors across the state have witnessed increases in the number of immigrants in their congregations as well as increases in the problems that these individuals face. Abrigo told the paper, “Members of our church have been deported… Families are disrupted.” Despite such challenges, the Times reports that immigration reform activism is on the rise Activists are working hard to fight stereotype and misconception. (more…)
For the past few weeks the British media and public have hotly been debating the rights and wrongs of allowing the controversial British National Party [BNP] leader to appear on the BBC’s ‘flagship’ politics programme Question Time. Despite attempts to halt Nick Griffin’s appearance, the programme finally aired on Thursday 22 October 2009, with record viewing figures of 8 million.
Since the broadcast, media analysis has been at fever pitch in an attempt to make sense of the reality. Against the backdrop of debates over freedom of speech and right wing rhetoric, as well as accusations of Holocaust denial and racism, Griffin has announced he will be making a complaint over his treatment by the programme.
In essence, Griffin insists that the format of the programme was changed in order to focus purely on his party’s policies on immigration and race, leaving him facing little more than a ‘lynch mob.’ Although, many commentators have suggested that his appearance has irrevocably tarnished the limited credibility of the BNP, others have argued that he should never have been allowed to appear in the first place. Interestingly, the BNP insist that their membership has increased since Griffin’s appearance. Needless to say the debate will run for some considerable time, dragging the issue of freedom of speech once more into the spotlight.
Tanya Golash-Boza on A Confluence of Interests in Immigration Enforcement: How Politicians, the Media, and Corporations Profit from Immigration Policies Destined to Fail
Amir Saeed on Media, Racism and Islamophobia: The Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media
The playing out of class bias in the national debate over immigration reveals the paradoxical nature of the American Dream and the ways in which it is invoked. Recent media coverage of the legal obstacles to obtain H1-B visas for highly skilled workers (see article below) highlights the class component of immigration. On the one side we have educated immigrants singing the praises of the American Dream, of the opportunities which drew them to this country. On the other hand we have the discourse of exceptionalism surrounding such visa requests. Couched in terms of the promise such excellent workers hold and the assets they will be to the United States, ultimately this is about hand-picking future American citizens based on racial, ethnic, and class criterion. Does anyone mention the incredible contributions (possible and future) that working class Mexicans make? In essence, we can not draw on notions of an American Dream to simultaneously encourage exceptionalism and deny entrance to those who have the most to gain from such ideology. Veit Bader’s work on the ethics of immigration offers important insights into these contradictions that lie at the heart of immigration debates. Framed within the context of normative criterion of citizenship, belonging, and universal rights, Bader offers important insights into the philosophical dilemmas that ultimately anchor issues of immigration, migration, and citizenship.