Sept 18 – “Seeking Asylum in North America” w/ Judge Rico Bartolomei

Thursday, September 18, 2014

12:10 p.m. @ Room 2G

350 Cedar Street Building, California Western School of Law

Judge Rico Bartolomei, the third highest ranking judge in the U.S. Immigration Court, will be the lead off speaker for the twelve annual joint speakers series, co-sponsored by California Western School of Law’s International Legal Studies Program and the Institute of International, Comparative and Area Studies at UC San Diego.  The speakers series title is Seeking Asylum in North America.

For more information, please contact Prof. James Cooper by email or by phone at 619-525-1430. There is ample city and private parking, for more information please click here.

Rico J. BartolomeiDOJ Seal was appointed as an ACIJ in April 2012, based in San Diego. Judge Bartolomei received a bachelor of arts degree in 1983 from the University of Notre Dame and a juris doctorate in 1986 from Georgetown University Law Center. From January 2009 to April 2012, and again from September 1994 to October 2006, Judge Bartolomei served as an immigration judge at the San Diego immigration court. From October 2006 to January 2009, Judge Bartolomei served as an assistant chief immigration judge in San Diego. From 1991 to 1994, he served as a staff attorney for the Board of Immigration Appeals. From 1987 to 1991, he worked as an attorney with the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Judge Bartolomei is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia Bars.

Implications of Deportation on Health & Well Being – Sept 10

 

 Wednesday,September 10, 12:30pm

Biomedical Research Facility, School of Medicine, Conference Room 5A03

*Lunch will be provided

The United States has expelled nearly 2 million persons since 2009.  Relatively little research exists on the potential ramifications of this unprecedented event on health and well being.  This talk will highlight notable findings relating to understanding deportation in the context of the northern US-Mexico border and southern Mexico-Guatemala border regions. Research is being conducted by three leading researchers in the field of migration and health and it features the potential health vulnerabilities that deported migrants may experience in the context of converging social forces including drug trafficking, sex tourism and poverty.

Speakers:

ojedaVictoria Ojeda is an Associate Professor in the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Medicine at UCSD. She conducts qualitative and quantitative research on substance use, HIV/AIDS, and mental health issues, with a focus on Latino deportees, and injection drug users.

 

kim brouwerKimberly Brouwer is an Associate Professor in the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Medicine at UCSD.  She researches the spatial and molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases, studying the dynamic between the host and environment, and how this relates to susceptibility to and spread of infections.

 

 

shura goldenbergShira Goldenberg is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative of the Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the Division of AIDS in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She conducts qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research on social and structural factors shaping HIV/STI risk among mobile, vulnerable populations in Canada and Latin America.

 

For arrangementsto accommodate a disability, contact theOffice for Students with Disabilities at deaf-hohrequest@ucsd.edu or (858)534-9709(TTY).

Statistical Analysis Shows that Violence, Not U.S. Immigration Policies, Is Behind the Surge of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border

Tom K. Wong is Assistant Professor of Political Science at UCSD, tomkwong@ucsd.edu, @twong002

Download a PDF version here.

An earlier version of this article appeared on July 8, 2014 via the Center for American Progress.

A humanitarian refugee situation at the U.S. southern border has been unfolding over the past few years and dramatically intensifying over the past several months, as tens of thousands of unaccompanied children are fleeing their homes in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. In search of a safe haven, these children embark on dangerous journeys, arriving in the United States and neighboring countries throughout Central America. Indeed, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, asylum applications from children are up by 712 percent in the neighboring countries of Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has argued that “many of the children apprehended at the border are fleeing unspeakable violence in their home countries.”

Even as the Obama administration struggles to deal with the situation, including finding adequate shelter and protection for the kids, some in Congress have attempted to score political points by arguing that the increased numbers are the result of the administration’s own immigration enforcement policies, such as the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program in 2012, which grants eligible unauthorized youth a two-year reprieve from deportation and a work permit. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), for example, called on President Barack Obama to end the DACA program and begin deporting those with the status to send a message to prospective child refugees that they should not come to the United States. A recent Congressional hearing also placed the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) at the center of the current increase in unaccompanied minors. However, a close statistical evaluation of the available data suggests a very different dynamic that is leading children to leave their Central American homes. It is not U.S. policy but rather violence and the desire to find safety that is the impetus for these children’s journeys.

An analysis of the available data suggests that:

  • Violence is among of the main drivers causing the increase. Whereas Central American countries that are experiencing high levels of violence have seen thousands of children flee, others with lower levels of violence are not facing the same outflow. This trend holds even when accounting for poverty and distance to the United States.
  • By contrast, the evidence does not support the argument that DACA, the TVPRA, or lax border enforcement has caused the increase in children fleeing to the United States.

 

Violence is driving children to flee Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador

How can it be determined that violence is a primary factor causing children to flee? One way is to use the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC, data on homicides and homicide rates by country. Coupling this data with that of the number of children arriving each year allows us to examine the relationship between violence and children arrivals.

Figure 1 shows how violence affects the flow of children. The relationship is positive, meaning that higher rates of homicide in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are related to greater numbers of children fleeing to the United States.

1

Another way to examine the relationship between violence and unaccompanied children is to use the data on security levels in Latin America compiled by FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. The annual index ranges from 1 (safe) to 5 (very dangerous) for each country, and data are available from 2009 to 2014. Here again, the relationship is positive, meaning that more dangerous security conditions are related to greater numbers of unaccompanied children. Using the FTI Consulting index data provides an even more strongly statistically significant result, suggesting an even clearer link between violence and children fleeing.

Not only do countries with the highest rates of homicide have the largest numbers of unaccompanied children fleeing, but the data also make clear that countries in Latin America with lower rates of homicide are not sending large numbers of unaccompanied children.

In 2012, the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico accounted for 41,828 homicides, at a rate of 28 per 100,000 people. Exclude Mexico and the murder rate jumps to 54 per 100,000 people. The president of Honduras has gone as far as calling the children refugees from “war” in his country. By contrast, other countries in the region, such as Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama had a total of just 1,881 murders, at a rate of only 13 per 100,000. Nicaragua is particularly useful as an example: It is the second-poorest country in the region—behind only Haiti—and yet, with far lower rates of violence than the three main sending countries, it has not seen an uptick in unaccompanied children leaving.

These findings reinforce a report released by DHS that shows that many of the unaccompanied minors who have recently arrived come from some of the most dangerous cities in Central America.

I also note here that including all Latin American countries in the analysis adds leverage (increases the n) so that other factors can simultaneously be analyzed. The main finding about violence holds when also accounting for economic conditions and distance to the United States.

 

DACA, the TVPRA, or lax border enforcement is not to blame

DACA

In fiscal year 2009, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, encountered slightly fewer than 20,000 unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. So far in FY 2014, more than 51,000 children have entered, with the increase almost entirely coming from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala (see Figure 2).

2

The sharp increase during FY 2012 has been used by senators such as Ted Cruz (R-TX) to argue that the creation of the DACA program in June 2012 is the reason “that we have seen the number of children taking the incredible risks entailed with coming across the border grow exponentially.”

There are two problems with this line of thinking. For one, the increase in unaccompanied children began well before 2012. CBP estimates that between FY 2008 and FY 2009, for example, there was a 145 percent spike in unaccompanied children arrivals, jumping from 8,041 to 19,668.

But even more importantly, the U.S. fiscal year starts on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. This means that FY 2012 actually started in October 2011 and ended in September 2012. Considering that applications for deferred action could only be submitted starting on August 15, 2012, it is highly unlikely that DACA caused an increase in children. Data on monthly border apprehensions—which admittedly do not distinguish between unaccompanied children and all others caught at the border—show that the number of people caught at the border actually slowed in the months after DACA was announced.

It also stands to reason that if DACA is causally related to the increased flow of unaccompanied children, the national origins profile of these children should potentially be as diverse as the profile of DACA recipients themselves—in other words, the dramatic increase in unaccompanied minors would not, as the data currently show, be limited to only a few countries. This, in the language of causal inference, means the absence of unit homogeneity. In other words, if DACA were in fact incentivizing the flow of unaccompanied children, Nicaraguans and Panamanians would feel this just as Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans, which would mean dramatic upticks across the board. However, this is clearly not the case.

TVPRA

The TVPRA, which was signed into law by former President Bush at the end of 2008, includes core provisions that are germane to the current political debate over unaccompanied minors. To begin, the TVPRA makes a distinction between non-contiguous and contiguous countries to the U.S. For unaccompanied minors from non-contiguous countries, the TVPRA requires that they be given “safe and secure placement” under the supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services, or HSS, in order to protect them from “traffickers and other persons seeking to victimize or otherwise engage such children in criminal, harmful, or exploitative activity” (see Section 235(c)(1)), and that they have access to legal counsel “to the greatest extent practicable” (see Section 235(c)(5)). This by no means is a “free pass,” as these unaccompanied children are also placed in removal proceedings pending the hearing and adjudication of their cases. The TVPRA also allowed the U.S. to negotiate “child repatriation agreements” with contiguous countries (see Section 235(a)(2)). As a result, unaccompanied Mexican minors are to be treated in the manner described above unless they agree to “voluntarily return,” a process that can lead to their return to Mexico in as little as 48 hours. As the UNHCR notes, most Mexican unaccompanied minors are promptly returned to Mexico under the voluntary return procedure after no more than 1-2 days in U.S. custody. And while data are currently not publicly available on the percentage of children who are returned under this procedure, the fact that only 3% of all unaccompanied minors who were transferred to HSS custody during FY 2013 were from Mexico suggests that the vast majority of unaccompanied Mexican minors are in fact being promptly returned.

It is important to note that the general treatment of unaccompanied minors under the TVPRA is consistent with U.S. obligations under the United Nations Refugee Convention (as well as our own Refugee Act of 1980). However, some such as Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), argue that these provisions are contributing causal factors to the flow of unaccompanied minors.

If the TVPRA had a causal effect upon its enactment, one would expect the number of unaccompanied children coming to the U.S. from non-contiguous countries (i.e., Central American countries south of Mexico) to increase from 2008 to 2009. However, the data show that unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras decreased by 12%, 20%, and 39%, respectively, from FY 2008 to FY 2009. Moreover, as noted earlier, while CBP estimates an overall increase in unaccompanied children between FY 2008 and FY 2009, the data show that this increase is driven exclusively by unaccompanied minors from Mexico—to recall, the TVPRA allowed the U.S. to immediately deport unaccompanied Mexican minors under expedited return procedures. This suggests that the expedited return of unaccompanied Mexican minors has not deterred children from Mexico from attempting to enter the U.S. I note here that during this period, Mexico experienced one of its largest year-to-year increases in deaths as a result of its drug war, jumping 141% (an increase from 2,837 deaths to 6,844).

Of course, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are currently at the center of the political debate over unaccompanied minors. Does this mean that the TVPRA has a lagged causal effect? This does not seem to be the case. If the TVPRA is causally related to the recent increase in unaccompanied children, it also stands to reason—given the TVPRA distinguishes between contiguous and non-contiguous countries—that the national origins profile of unaccompanied minors would include fewer Mexican children (as a contiguous country whose children are subject to expedited return), and a broader range of Latin American countries (as non-contiguous countries whose children are provided basic protections under the legislation). This is not the case. Unaccompanied minors from Mexico have held largely steady over recent years. Moreover, and to reiterate, the recent increase in unaccompanied minors remains limited to only three countries. As with DACA, this again, in the language of causal inference, means the absence of unit homogeneity.

Border enforcement

Arguments such as those of Sen. Cruz connecting DACA to the increase in unaccompanied children also cite lax border security by the Obama administration as an additional contributing factor. But these arguments, such as those about DACA, are equally unsupported by the data. To give just a few examples:

  • Under the Obama administration, funding for the Border Patrol has reached record levels, increasing from $2.3 billion at the end of the Bush administration in 2008 to $3.5 billion in FY 2013—an increase of 52 percent.
  • The number of Border Patrol agents in general, and at the southwest border, now stand at record levels (see Figure 3).

3

If lax border security were contributing to the increase in children arriving, we would expect to see a negative relationship between border security metrics and the number of unaccompanied children entering the United States. To put it another way, we would expect more children to arrive as border security efforts decrease. Instead, the opposite has occurred: As the United States has ramped up its border enforcement, more children have come (see Figure 4).

To be clear, this should not be interpreted to mean that more border security means more unaccompanied children—again, we only have a handful of observations to analyze. Rather, the data suggest that the recent increase in unaccompanied children is not the result of lax border security, but is occurring despite record levels of border security spending and staffing.

And from recent press reports, it is clear that our border security policies are working exactly as intended: Numerous stories note that the Border Patrol is apprehending these kids upon entry, or soon after. Here too, the evidence is clear that border enforcement policies are not driving the surge in unaccompanied children.

4

 

Conclusion

Instead of attempting to repeal programs such as DACA or the TVPRA, the United States should—as Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has suggested—ensure that these children are safe and secure, go after the smugglers and traffickers bringing them here in the first place, often luring them by spreading misinformation, and seek solutions that help quell the violence in these children’s home countries. The data show that this situation is a humanitarian and refugee issue, not an immigration issue, and all sides must not lose sight of the children themselves who are at the heart of the matter.

 

Notes

Notes to Figure 1. Violence and the annual percentage change in unaccompanied minors from 2009 to 2013. For example, Honduras’s homicide rate of 90.4 per 100,000 people in 2012 was associated with a 125% increase in unaccompanied minors from 2012 to 2013. The result is only weakly statistically significant (p = .094), which is expected given the fact that the data covers only a few years. UNODC data are only available through 2012; still, the data are helpful in explaining the relationship between violence and childhood arrivals. Violence is measured using UNODC data on homicide rates—lagged so that cause comes before effect—and unaccompanied children are measured using the annual percentage change in unaccompanied children. Source: Author’s calculation of UNODC and CBP data. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Global Study on Homicide, 2013” (2013), available at https://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children,” n.d., available at http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children (last accessed July 2014).

Notes to Figure 2. Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children,” n.d., available at http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children (last accessed July 2014).

Notes to Figure 3. Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “United States Border Patrol: Border Patrol Agent Staffing by Fiscal Year,” n.d., available at http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/U.S.%20Border%20Patrol%20Fiscal%20Year%20Staffing%20Statistics%201992-2013.pdf (last accessed, July 2014).

Notes to Figure 4. Author’s calculations based on U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children,” n.d., available at http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “United States Border Patrol: Border Patrol Agent Staffing by Fiscal Year,” n.d., available at http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/U.S.%20Border%20Patrol%20Fiscal%20Year%20Staffing%20Statistics%201992-2013.pdf (last accessed July 2014).

UCSD Faculty in the News – Scapegoating Africa’s Immigrants (The Washington Post)

By Claire Adida – June 3rd

Kim Yi Dionne: Claire Adida is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California San Diego. This post draws from her book, “Immigrant Exclusion and Insecurity in Africa: Coethnic Strangers,” which was recently published by Cambridge University Press.

Two months ago, after explosions killed at least six people in Nairobi’s Eastleigh suburb, Kenyan police launched Operation Usalama Watch, arrested hundreds – some say thousands – in the ethnically Somali neighborhood, and crammed them intoKasarani Stadium outside the capital city, where many continue to live today. (Twitter, with its #KasaraniConcentrationCamp hashtag, remains the best source of information on this topic.) The official word from Kenya’s State House was that the operation aimed to clean Nairobi of terrorists and illegal immigrants. The problem: Many of those arrested are Kenyan citizens.

We know very little about the fate of immigrants in Africa, a region known for sending migrants elsewhere, not for hosting them. Immigration debates and scholarly work focus overwhelmingly on south-to-north migration, the flow of people from developing to industrialized countries. And when we do turn our attention to migrant flows within the developing world, we typically think of refugees, people fleeing wars and famine. Yet close to half of all international migrants settle in the developing world, including 10 percent in Africa. These are not refugees: In 2013, an estimated14.6 million immigrants lived in Africa compared to fewer than 3 million refugees.

In many African countries, “immigrant” is more an identity predicated on ethnic heritage than a legal status.  As a result, many ethnic minorities face scapegoating and violence. This is true for Kenya’s ethnic Somalis today, who have been scapegoats for the terrorist attacks perpetrated in Kenya by Somalia’s al-Shabaab. It is pervasive throughout South Africa, where black African immigrants – derogatorily called “makwerekwere” – are blamed for the country’s economic hardships. And it has characterized Côte d’Ivoire’s recent civil war, where economic and political competition spurred the Ivoirité movement, an attempt to disenfranchise the country’s northern Muslims.

Individual case studies of immigrant scapegoating in Africa are common. My book, “Immigrant Exclusion and Insecurity in Africa: Coethnic Strangers” not only investigates the prevalence of immigrant scapegoating in sub-Saharan Africa but also explains why some immigrant groups face greater exclusion than others. I collected and analyzed data on mass immigrant expulsions in sub-Saharan African countries, from their year of independence to 1999. The analysis shows that African leaders regularly rely on mass immigrant expulsions (see map below), and that they tend to do so following economic hardship (see figure below). Idi Amin’s notorious expulsion of over 70,000 Asian Ugandans in 1972 comes to mind, but this was hardly the only or most egregious example of immigrant scapegoating.

Frequency of mass immigrant expulsions, from independence to 1999. Map by Claire Adida, shared courtesy of Cambridge University Press.

Frequency of mass immigrant expulsions, from independence to 1999. (Map by Claire Adida, courtesy of Cambridge University Press)

GDP growth around the time of a mass immigrant expulsion. Figure by Claire Adida, shared courtesy of Cambridge University Press.

GDP growth around the time of a mass immigrant expulsion. (Figure by Claire Adida, courtesy of Cambridge University Press)

In 1969, Ghana’s prime minister, Kofi Busia, facing an economic and popularity crisis, decreed his Alien Compliance Order. The executive order gave all aliens in Ghana two weeks to regularize their stay or face expulsion. An official countdown was aired every day on the radio, creating chaos and fear. Eventually, 500,000 people left. The victims of this executive order were, for the most part, ethnic Yorubas who had been living in Ghana for generations. But as members of an ethnic group indigenous to land now located in Nigeria and Benin, not Ghana, and as successful traders in Ghana’s urban centers, they became easy scapegoats.

How do these immigrants protect themselves from such scapegoating? Answering this question required a deeper exploration into the lives and integration strategies of immigrants in Africa. In 2007, I spent a year following two immigrant ethnic groups from Nigeria – the Hausas and the Yorubas – in three West African cities: Accra (Ghana), Cotonou (Benin), and Niamey (Niger) (see map below). I interviewed their leaders and surveyed their community members as well as their hosts in the urban centers in which they settle. I also sought out and interviewed victims of Ghana’s 1969 expulsion; though many have passed away, a number are now living in Ogbomosho (Nigeria). What I found is that immigrants find economic success and security by notintegrating into their host societies, a strategy reminiscent of Southeast Asia’s ethnic Chinese or Europe’s Jews.

Research sites in "Immigrant Exclusion and Insecurity in Africa: Coethnic Strangers." Map by Claire Adida, shared courtesy of Cambridge University Press.

Research sites in “Immigrant Exclusion and Insecurity in Africa: Coethnic Strangers.” (Map by Claire Adida, courtesy of Cambridge University Press)

The immigrant groups I studied settled generations ago into their urban host societies as informal traders and rely heavily on leaders in their own communities for key resources, such as access to loans, customers and supplies.

They also seek and find in these leaders greater security. When local police raid neighborhoods and round up immigrants, immigrant community leaders bail them out. This is possible because these leaders strike bargains with local police. They monitor their own, turn in the bad apples, and in return are recognized as a legitimate authority. In sum, they expend considerable time and energy organizing their members and ensuring they remain identifiable… as immigrants.

The very same strategy that gives immigrants in sub-Saharan Africa the best chances for economic success and physical safety also appears to be what keeps them vulnerable. By eschewing integration, immigrants both protect themselves against scapegoating and ensure that the threat remains.

Read full article >>

April 8 – Social Sciences Supper Club – What’s Next for U.S. Immigration Reform and Border Enforcement?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – 5:30pm Special Reception & 6pm Talk & Dinner

RSVP Online by April 4 at alumni.ucsd.edu/supperclub

Supper-Club APR 8 2014 Invite (2)Supper-Club APR 8 2014 Invite (3)A comprehensive immigration reform bill backed by a bipartisan Senate majority and President Obama is currently causing tremendous controversy. This presentation will examine the political, demographic, and economic origins of immigration reform and the prospects for passage. Drawing on research conducted by UCSD students, we will discuss how current U.S. policies are affecting migration from Mexico to the United States.

With David FitzGerald, Co-Director of CCIS and the Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations at UCSD

Supper Club events include a wine reception, full dinner and Faculty Club parking in addition to the lecture. $65 per person; $50 alumni price.

May 12-18: The Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues

The Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues is an internationally acclaimed seven-day, non-credit course for academic and field-based practitioners working in the area of forced migration. It serves as a hub for researchers, students, practitioners, service providers and policy makers to share information and ideas.  The Summer Course is housed within the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University. All participants who complete the full course receive a York University Centre for Refugee Studies Summer Course Certificate.

Dates: May 12-18, 2014
Location: York University, Toronto, Canada Course Fee: $1400 CAD +13%HST (until April 1, 2014)

2014 Summer Course topics will include:

  •  Forced displacement: International case studies
  • Legal approaches to refugee studies
  • UNHCR, the Convention and the international refugee regime
  • Humanitarian aid: a comparative perspective
  • Refugee resettlement policy
  • Urban refugees
  • Internally displaced populations
  • Age, gender and diversity mainstreaming in forced migration
  • Sexual minority claims
  • Environmentally-induced displacement
  • Externalization of asylum
  • Transitional justice
  • Detention practices

 

For more information, and to apply, please visit our website at http://crs.yorku.ca/summer/

Feb. 20 – March 4: Faculty Fellow Chats with Dr. Victoria Ojeda

 

FacultyFellowChatW14“Becoming A Public Health & International Migration Researcher”

Thursday, February 20

1PM in The Great Hall

 

“Current State of Deportation Research on the U.S.-Mexico Border”

Thursday, February 27

12PM in The Great Hall

 

“Lessons Learned in Research with Vulnerable Populations”

Tuesday, March 4

11AM in The Great Hall

Interreligious Reflections on Immigration Seminar: Nov. 22-25, 2014

 American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 22-25, 2014

Statement of Purpose: 

The overall purpose of this seminar is to promote interreligious and interdisciplinary dialogue and reflection on immigration, broadly conceived. Globalization and the ever-increasing movement of individuals and groups across multiple types of borders are fertile ground for theological and religious exploration. The issue of immigration and religion is especially timely. This seminar continues the work of scholars of diverse religious, cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender identities whose collaborations resulted in the publication of Strangers in this World: Multi-Religious Reflections on Immigration (Fortress Press, early 2015). This new seminar will work towards publication of a follow-up volume and coordinate with other related AAR program units to help address the growing interest and need for more religious reflections on immigration.

Call for Papers: 

The Interreligious Reflections on Immigration Seminar invites proposals for papers that address religion and immigration, broadly conceived. This is the first year of the Seminar whose goal is to produce a follow-up volume to Strangers in this World: Multi-Religious Reflections (Fortress Press, 2015). Scholars interested in contributing to the new volume of essays are encouraged to submit a proposal/abstract that addresses immigration and religion from any scholarly perspective—for example, philosophical, economic, political, theological, historical, and sociological. Selected proposals will be invited for further discussion at the seminar session at the San Diego AAR, 2014 meeting.

Leadership: 

Chairs: Alexander Y. Hwang, hwangalex@yahoo.com; Laura Alexander, lek2fb@virginia.edu

Steering Committee: Joseph Mas, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Kristine Suna-Koro, Laura Tilghman

Papers may be submitted through the American Academy of Religion’s PAPERS website; please see http://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/call-for-papers.

 

Changing Population: Migration, Reproduction and Identity: June 3-5, 2014

University of Trento, June 3-5, 2014

Changing Population: Migration, Reproduction and Identity

The social sciences have long debated the use of racial, ethnic and national categories in analyzing processes of collective identity construction. Anthropology and Sociology have both contributed to uncovering the implicit essentialism underlying the racial and cultural definitions of difference conventionally used to identify, subdivide and classify human populations. At the same time, contemporary processes of social and cultural interconnection, fueled by intense global mobility, are challenging, bridging and overturning institutional boundaries of identity and belonging. National citizenship categories in particular have become increasingly limiting and constrictive in relation to the wide variety of reproductive practices individuals enact transnationally. Issues such as the family basis of migration, the fertility and birthrates of migrants and ethnic minorities, the rise in mixed marriages, the transnational spread of familial and kinship networks and the access to citizenship for “second-generations” are only the most visible signs of a deeply rooted change, which impacts the composition and shape of national populations and triggers new citizenship claims.

Faced with these processes, dominant demographic discourse has adopted ethno-racial classifications and slipped easily into a rhetoric of danger: the danger of invasion, extinction, poverty and cultural disintegration. Still lacking or underdeveloped is a primarily social analysis of the demographic developments at play that draws on socio-anthropological research in order to problematize the demographic construction of minorities, in opposition to national demography; and, at the same time, that explores how individuals and communities ensure their own biological, social and cultural continuity despite and across ethno-national boundaries.

This conference aims to establish a space for international and interdisciplinary dialogue on contemporary socio-demographic shifts. We propose to focus in particular on the biopolitics of reproduction put in motion by both national governments, as they distinguish between citizens and non-citizens, and migrants and their descendents, as they affirm, negotiate or refrain from constructing their own definitions of family, kinship, genealogy and belonging.

In this perspective, which primarily addresses the intersection of reproduction and identity in relation to migrants and multicultural contexts, we invite papers exploring the following issues:

- The analytical categories and classifications employed in research on population, namely ethnicity, race, nation, culture and group;

- Demographic politics and systems for defining national populations;

- Family reunification and the ethno-national bases of welfare systems;

- The marriage practices, reproductive behavior and social genealogies of migrants and their descendents;

- Family planning policies and fertility management among migrants and minorities;

- Notions of identity and continuity in transnational migration.

 

The conference is organised by the SMMS Research Unit (Migration Scenarios and Social Change), Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento.

Confirmed keynote speakers include David Kertzer and Pnina Werbner.

Abstracts (300 words), containing a description of the main argument, the key question(s) driving the paper and the kind of evidence analysed, should be sent by 20 February 2014 to the following address: smms@soc.unitn.it. For further information please contact the conference coordinators, Francesca Decimo [francesca.decimo@unitn.it] Alessandra Gribaldo [alegribaldo@women.it] and Paolo Boccagni [paolo.boccagni@unitn.it].

Acceptance will be notified by 28th of February 2014. Full papers (5-8.000 words) are expected by 30th April 2014.