Karthick Ramakrishnan – Going Local: The New Politics of Immigration in the United States

Immigration policy in the United States has largely been the purview of the federal government, with rules establishing who is eligible to enter the United States, the terms of such entry, and the conditions under which immigrants may become citizens. In the past decade, low-skilled migrant labor in the United States has reached new destinations, ranging from rural Kansas and North Carolina to suburbs in Long Island and Georgia. These settlement patterns have brought new attention to issues such as day labor, unlicensed businesses, overcrowded housing, and illegal immigration. They have also raised concerns over issues of representation and political assimilation among communities characterized by low rates of citizenship and low levels of English proficiency. Finally, with immigration reform unresolved at the federal level, states and local governments have taken the initiative in passing their own legislation that would explicitly make the livelihood of immigration more difficult or less so.

Despite their pressing importance, these issues of immigrant political assimilation and local government responses have yet to be systematically examined, and especially so in smaller cities and in newer immigrant destinations. This book examines variation in state and local government policies and practices related to low-skill immigrant labor in the United States. It begins by exploring the evolution of immigration policy since 1965, with provisions in 1994 and 1996 as especially important in setting the stage for state and local government involvement in immigration policies. The book then uses a combination of large-scale statistical analysis and qualitative methods to explore: 1) how state and local governments have varied in their involvement in policies that explicitly target immigrants, 2) how these policies have been covered in the news, and 3) how the general public, and immigrants in particular, view these developments.


Karthick-Ramakrishnan-bw

Karthick Ramakrishnan is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. Ramakrishnan is one of the principal investigators for the 2008 National Asian American Survey, the first of its kind conducted at the national level.

Ramakrishnan received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, and has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Public Policy Institute of California. He has received several grants from sources such as the James Irvine Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation, and has provided consultation to public officials at the federal and local levels.

Ramakrishnan’s articles have appeared in International Migration Review, Urban Affairs Review, Social Science Quarterly, and The DuBois Review. He is also the author of Democracy in Immigrant America (Stanford University Press, 2005), and is an editor of two volumes on immigrant politics and civic engagement: Transforming Politics, Transforming America (University of Virginia Press, 2006) and Civic Roots and Political Realities: Immigrants, Community Organizations, and Political Engagement (Russell Sage Foundation, 2008).

Alex Balch – Managing labour migration in Europe: Ideas, knowledge and policy change

Listen below to the Research Seminar given by Alex Balch on November 3, 2009.  We also encourage you to subscribe to our podcast to automatically receive audio of all CCIS research seminars.

Alex Balch – Managing Labour Migration in Europe:  Ideas, Knowledge, and Policy Change

 
Labour migration policies in European countries have exhibited intensive change in the early part of the 21st century while the subject continues to be a hot political topic with global resonance. Dr Balch focuses on this new era of labour migration management in Europe and presents research into the key ideas which have changed the way that policymakers look at the issue. The paper presents empirical evidence from two case studies – the UK and Spain (two of the major labour importers within the EU), and charts why, when and how paradigm shifts occur.

Understanding the so-called ‘war of ideas’ in the political arena and accounting for policy change are among the key challenges for political science. The approach taken here is to take a step back and place labour migration policy in a theoretical conception of the policymaking process and policy change. In this way, rather than denouncing policymakers as irrational, incompetent (or even racist) the research attempts to show what kinds of ideas and knowledge actually shape and frame policy in the new era of migration management in Europe.


headshot-alex-balch-bwAlex Balch is a guest scholar, CCIS and an Economic and Social Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield (UK). His work is on analyzing the impacts of ideas and knowledge on labour migration policies. It addresses the observation that we often know very little about the flow of ideas and knowledge in the policy process, and what actually drives politicians and policymakers to make decisions about immigration. He is also currently developing projects examining organizational implementation and delivery chains in border control policies, and media framing of policy debates. Part of the fellowship includes funding for an overseas institutional visit at CCIS which will allow Dr. Balch to develop his research by adding extra depth in terms of a comparative perspective on the European context through reference to the U.S.

Richard Alba – Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, presented his new book Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America at this CCIS research seminar October 20th. The audio of his talk is available below or subscribe to our podcast to automatically receive audio of CCIS research seminars.

 
blurring-the-color-line

The next quarter century will offer an unusual chance to undermine ethno-racial divisions and to narrow the social cleavages that separate Americans into distinct and unequal ethno-racial groups. This little-comprehended opportunity will arise from a massive and predictable demographic process: the exodus from the labor market of the baby boom. The turnover in the labor market will produce what might be called “non-zero-sum” mobility: a situation where minorities can advance socioeconomically without threatening very much the opportunities that whites take for granted for themselves and their children.

Non-zero-sum mobility is a critical element in new theory of ethno-racial change. We can identify the empirical foundations for the theory by looking back to another period of profound social change: the mass assimilation of the so-called white ethnics, Irish Catholics and southern and eastern European Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews, in the decades following World War II. These changes also took place during a period of massive non-zero-sum-mobility, originating then in an extraordinary period of prosperity.

However, for minorities to be able to benefit from the opportunity ahead, the nation will have to address the barriers that stand in their way. It is worthwhile nevertheless to attempt to envision how ethno-racial distinctions might appear if U.S. society becomes much more diverse in its middle and upper strata.


richard-alba-full-headshotThe seeds of Richard Alba’s interest in ethnicity were sown during his childhood in the Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s and nurtured intellectually at Columbia University, where he received his undergraduate and graduate education, completing his Ph.D. in 1974. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Besides ethnicity, his teaching and research focus on international migration in the U.S. and in Europe, and he has done research in France and in Germany, with the support of Fulbright grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, and Russell Sage Foundation. His books include Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America (1990); Italian Americans: Into the Twilight of Ethnicity (1985); Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (2003), written with Victor Nee; and, most recently, Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America (September, 2009).

He has been elected President of the Eastern Sociological Society (1997-98) and Vice President of the American Sociological Association (2000-01).

Migration Across the Disciplines: A Symposium on How the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Study Population Movements

migration-across-disciplinesThis conference was made possible through the generous support of the Dean of Arts and Humanities, the Dean of Social Sciences, California Cultures in Comparative Perspective, the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS), and the following departments: Anthropology; Ethnic Studies; History; Literature, and Visual Arts.

Migration Across the Disciplines Agenda »

State and Local Immigration Policy in the U.S.: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

hazelton

A conference bringing together social scientists and legal scholars to document and explain the rising incidence of immigration policy activism among state and local governments in the United States.

State and Local Immigration Policy in the U.S.: An Interdisciplinary Workshop Agenda »

State and Local Immigration Policy in the U.S.: An Interdisciplinary Workshop Report »

Diasporic Homecomings: Ethnic Return Migrants in Comparative Perspective

This conference will examine various groups of ethnic return migrants—diasporic peoples who return to their ancestral homelands after living outside their countries of ethnic origin for generations. Conference participants will compare the ethnopolitical reception of ethnic return migrants in different East Asian and European countries and its impact on their ethnic experiences. Diasporic return migration has often been enabled by extraterritorial citizenship and immigration policies of homeland governments based on imaginings of a broader ethnic nation beyond state borders that encompasses diasporic descendants abroad. Nonetheless, ethnic return migrants frequently receive an ambivalent reception in their homelands and are often marginalized as immigrant minorities because of their cultural differences and low socioeconomic position, forcing them to reconsider their national identities and loyalties and their previously idealized images of the ethnic homeland.

Diasporic Homecomings Agenda »

Rolling Back Immigrant Rights in the United States: The Aftermath of 9/11

Academics and legal practitioners reviewed the erosion of immigrant and refugee rights caused by various national security measures implemented (and planned) by the U.S. government in the period since the September 11 terrorist attacks, including Patriot Acts I and II, the selective detention of Arab immigrants, increased border enforcement, and a Supreme Court ruling against due process for immigrants. Efforts to defend immigrants against such measures, as well as the future status of immigrant and refugee rights in the continuing “war on terrorism,” were discussed.