Rising Tensions Between National and Local Immigration and Citizenship Policy: Matrículas Consulares, Local Membership and Documenting the Undocumented (Working Paper #140)

Monica W. Varsanyi, Arizona State University

Abstract: The matrículas consulares are identity cards issued by the Mexican government to its nationals living abroad. Since 9/11, businesses, local, and state governments in the US have started accepting them as a valid form of identification for undocumented immigrants living in their communities, who otherwise do not have any form of acceptable identification. In this article, I first outline the history and context of federal jurisdiction over immigration and naturalization policy in the United States, and then expand upon the case study of the consular ID cards. I argue that the increasing acceptance of the matrículas consulares provides an example of how, in confronting the local impacts of undocumented migration, communities are formulating both “foreign policy” (as immigration policy is considered as foreign policy in the United States), as well as “citizenship policy,” at the local scale. I conclude by taking the analysis one step further and arguing that this partial rescaling of membership policy enables the nation-state to better manage what political theorist, James Hollifield, calls the “liberal paradox,” or the growing tension between neoliberal economic openness and the continued necessity of national political closure.

Working Paper #140 »

FORTRESS RUSSIA: An overview of the 2005 Russian Federation Survey on Immigration Attitudes and Ethnic Relations (Working Paper #139)

Mikhail A. Alexseev, San Diego State University

Abstract: Starting in the mid-1990s, human rights groups, scholars, government agencies, and the media in the Russian Federation have documented a rising wave of individual and group acts of violence, destruction or intimidation targeting ethnic and/or religious “others.” In addition to massive brutality in Chechnya, Russia in recent years has witnessed skinhead riots and street raids by chain-and-rod wielding thugs; torchlight marches and attacks on mosques and synagogues; murders and beatings of foreign residents and diplomats; desecration of Jewish cemeteries and intimidation of Chinese traders by whip-cracking Cossack gangs. In 2000, the Moscow Helsinki Group reported an average of 30 to 40 assaults a month by local gangs targeting blacks in Moscow alone. According to hate crime expert Aleksandr Tarasov, chair of the department of youth studies at the Phoenix Center for New Sociology and the Study of Practical Politics in Moscow, the number of skinheads in Russia grew from about 20,000 in 2001 to 50,000 in 2003 and was projected to reach 80,000 by the end of 2005 (Kolesov 2004; Konygina 2004). After a spectacularly cruel murder of a 9-year old Tajik girl in St. Petersburg by a neofascist gang in February 2004, Russia’s then acting interior minister, Nurgaliev, acknowledged that “acute manifestations of extremism” against minorities had become a serious and growing trend posing a security threat to Russia (Rotkevich and Spirin 2004). The same concern was voiced by President Putin in his televised responses to questions from Russian citizens in late September 2005, monitored by this author. Whereas few people would openly express support for xenophobic brutality of this kind in a public opinion survey, anti-migrant violence does not happen in a social vacuum. This presentation summarizes the findings of an opinion survey specifically designed to take a measure of social climate as it pertains to immigration attitudes in the Russia. The survey was carried out throughout the Russian Federation in the fall of 2005 by the Levada Analytical Center (formerly, the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion) and, in Primorskii krai, by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory of the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East (IHAE) at the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The total number of respondents in the seven samples of the Levada Center was 4,080, drawn from multistage probability samples of the adult population of the Russian Federation (N=680), Moscow City (N=400), Moscow Oblast (N=400), Kranodar Krai (including the Republic of Adygea) (N=650), Volgograd Oblast (N=650), Orenburg Oblast (N=650) and the Republic of Tatarstan (N=650). The IHAE survey used a stratified regional probability sampling procedure to select 660 respondents, including a multistage stratified random selection of 402 respondents who participated in the author’s 2000 Primorskii krai survey also conducted by IHAE (Alexseev 2003; Alexseev and Hofstetter 2006). The entire survey included 4,740 respondents. Using survey items, I constructed measures of ethnoreligious hostility and some of its hypothetical correlates.

Working Paper #139 »



Economic Crisis and the Incorporation of New Migrant Sending Areas in Mexico: The Case of Zapotitlán Salinas, Puebla (Working Paper #137)

Alison Elizabeth Lee, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Introduction: This paper examines the process by which one rural town in south-central Mexico was rapidly transformed into an international migrant sending community over the last twenty years. In marked contrast to reports from Western Mexico where international migration experience in the adult population was accumulated over many decades, the prevalence of migration experience rose in accelerated fashion over the course of just two decades in Zapotitlán Salinas, Puebla.. In the mid-1980s, some villagers from this town set out for New York City in order to salir adelante, do well for themselves, in the hopes of improving their standard of living in Mexico. By the mid-1990s, the local impact of Mexico’s deepening economic crisis, the state economic policies implemented to counteract the crisis, and other local and regional factors virtually destroyed the town’s onyx industry, eliminating most local sources of employment. These changes rapidly converted international migration into a necessary economic alternative for a growing number of Zapotitecos. Increasing levels of consumption and consumption expectations among villagers reinforced individuals’ decisions to migrate, particularly in the context of worsening economic and social conditions in Mexico. The case of Zapotitlán illustrates how the process of accelerated migration and the extension of international migration into new sending regions were constituted and experienced locally and related to changes in state economic policy. The development of international migration in the town into a necessary economic alternative was a result of the changes in broader social and economic policy as they articulated with local economic and social relations. Framing the analysis in this manner, I explore how the historical dynamics of capitalism in one corner of south-central Mexico played a fundamental role in shaping the timing and configuration of migration to the United States. I advance this argument in order to lead our thinking away from what some scholars have suggested as the “inevitableness” of migration in the current neoliberal era (see discussion in Binford 2003) by focusing on the particular configurations of capital and labor in a specific time and place, and drawing attention to the contingencies of these arrangements.

Working Paper #137 »

Death and the Moral State: Making Borders and Sovereignty at the Southern Edges of Europe (Working Paper #136)

Maurizio Albahari, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and University of California -Irvine

Abstract: European governmental and non-governmental sources estimate the death toll of would-be migrants (including asylum seekers) in the Mediterranean between 6,000 and 10,000. This paper investigates the chronicle of death off the coasts of southern Italy from 1996 to the present, together with the accompanying legal and political framework of deportations, internment, bilateral agreements (e.g., with Libya) and EU provisions. Building on fieldwork in coastal southern Italy and on the analysis of key incidents and of the responses of Italian and EU institutions and mass media, the paper explores how lethal border practices become morally and politically acceptable and legally enforceable and thus constitute a clear paradox of liberaldemocratic power and rule of law. It is proposed that the EU and the state, in the daily struggle with would-be migrants and asylum seekers resorting to unauthorized travel, find in the de facto power to “let die” a key prerogative of their sovereignty. At the same time, they also propose themselves as agents of humanitarianism in rescue operations, finding in this moral intervention a paradoxical legitimization of border enforcement.

Working Paper #136 »

Ethnosizing Immigrants (Working Paper #135)

Amelie Constant, IZA, Bonn, and Georgetown University

Liliya Gataullina, IZA and University of Bonn

Klaus F. Zimmermann, Bonn University, IZA, Bonn, and DIW-Berlin

Abstract: The paper provides a new measure of the ethnic identity of immigrants and explores its evolution in the host country. The ethnosizer, a measure of the intensity of a person’s ethnic identity, is constructed from information on the following elements: language, culture, societal interaction, history of migration, and ethnic self-identification. A two-dimensional concept of the ethnosizer classifies immigrants into four states: integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization. We find that ethnic identity persists stronger for females, Muslims, those with schooling in the home country, and older age at the time of entry. Young migrants are assimilated or integrated the most. While Muslims do not integrate, Catholics and other Christians assimilate the best. Immigrants with college or higher education in the home country integrate very well, but do not assimilate. Having some schooling is worse than no education for integration or assimilation. The ethnicity of individuals, measured by country of origin, remains relevant.

Working Paper #135 »

Burden Sharing: The International Politics of Refugee Protection (Working Paper #134)

Eiko R. Thielemann, London School of Economics and Political Science

Abstract: This article shows that the refugee burdens among Western states are also very unequally distributed and that this constitutes a problem not only for individual states, but also for the EU as whole. It argues that despite many obstacles, the development of regional or international burdensharing regimes is indeed desirable. Attempts to explain or justify steps towards such a system do not have to rely solely on notions of solidarity but can be justified by more traditional interest-based motivations. However, it suggests that the EU’s main burden-sharing initiatives which rely largely on policy harmonisation will not achieve the Union’s objectives in this area. It will be argued that market-based burden-sharing mechanisms need to be explored further and that such market driven policies when combined with policy harmonisation and quota-based initiatives are likely to contribute to a more equitable, efficient and effective refugee burden-sharing system.

Working Paper #134 »

Voces de mujeres desde la inmigración: Una comparativa entre el asentamiento de marroquíes en España y mexicanas en EE.UU. (Working Paper #133)

Rosa M. Soriano Miras, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Introduction: Hasta hace relativamente escasas décadas, la voz de la mujer ha estado silenciada, y en especial la de aquella mujer que traspasa las fronteras de su tierra natal, por obligación y no por deseo, alejándose de su hogar, y de sus raíces con todas las rupturas individuales, sociales y estructurales que ello implica. Dicho silencio no puede por menos que ser objeto de estudio de los que nos dedicamos al estudio de un fenómeno tan nuevo, y al mismo tiempo, tan viejo como es el estudio de las migraciones. Y es que los silencios son a veces más relevantes, en cuanto pieza discursiva se refiere, que los discursos sonoros, y por tanto dominantes. Si además, cobramos consciencia de la triple discriminación que sufre la mujer inmigrante, en primer lugar por ser mujer, en segundo término proceder de una minoría étnica o nacional, y finalmente ocupar los escalones más bajos de la sociedad, en función de la ocupación que desempeña (Grusky, D.B. (1994), se hace más necesario que nunca, detenernos aunque sea por un solo instante a escuchar el contenido de sus discursos desde su propia voz.

La mujer inmigrante que va a centrar nuestra atención, es aquella que se ve obligada (por la falta, bien de trabajo, bien de una vida digna, bien de derechos y libertades básicos, bien por una mezcla de todos estos motivos) a salir de su país, en busca de una vida mejor. Pero estamos acostumbrados a realizar estudios que describen la situación de la mujer en una zona geográfica determinada, y hoy mas que nunca la realidad demanda estudios comparativos que permitan vislumbrar aquellas generalidades que sean aplicables a cualquier situación plausible, con el fin de poder intervenir desde una perspectiva mucho mas global, pero sin olvidar la detección de aquellos limites contextuales que hagan cada caso particular. Esta forma de análisis nos ayudará por un lado a no perder la riqueza de la diferencia y por otro lado, a intervenir de manera adecuada ante la explosión, que se está produciendo al mismo tiempo, entre lo global y lo local.

Es necesario conocer como la experiencia migratoria afecta a la identidad de la mujer inmigrante, porque a través de dicho conocimiento se podrá conectar las estructuras con los sujetos, con el fin último de poder diseñar una gestión adecuada de las migraciones, cuestión que actualmente no está resuelta. “Una política que controle los flujos migratorios ha de ser capaz de responder cuantos, quienes, y con qué proyecto. Todo ello son cuestiones relevantes para determinar los flujos y su impacto en la sociedad de todos” (Izquierdo, 2000a:12). En cualquier caso, tanto en EEUU como en España, se ha optado (en el mejor de los casos) a ofrecer respuestas a los dos primeros interrogantes, pero de momento los esfuerzos para responder la tercera pregunta, no se hallan unificados. Pues bien, la presente investigación pretende ofrecer respuestas a la tercera pregunta.

Por todo ello, centraremos la atención en primer lugar en los estudios de género, y de modo concreto en la mujer, con objeto de comparar desde su propia voz la situación de aquella que se ha insertado en el espacio de manera satisfactoria (en función de unos criterios objetivos mínimos de inserción social tales como, vivienda digna, inserción en el mercado laboral, sistema educativo, y sanitario en igualdad de condiciones que los nacionales) haciendo especial hincapié en la detección del proceso que ha posibilitado dicha situación. Todo ello comparando dos contextos (en principio) muy diferentes. Mexicanas en EEUU y marroquíes en España. No obstante hay algo que asemeja ambas realidades, al conformarse ambos contextos como dos de las fronteras mas desiguales del planeta. Son las fronteras que mejor explican la gran brecha existente entre el norte y el sur, y que se vienen configurando como realidad propia del planeta Tierra desde la finalización de la segunda guerra mundial, y que lejos de disiparse cada vez resulta más evidente1.

Tanto EEUU como España han cambiado sustancialmente sus políticas de inmigración después de los atentados terroristas del 11 de septiembre y del 11 de marzo, respectivamente. Sin embargo, las conclusiones políticas son muy distintas. Mientras que EEUU condiciona desde entonces su política de inmigración a la primacía de la política de seguridad, España ha optado por una política de inmigración mas abierta. Ambas respuestas tienen consecuencias para la inmigración ilegal. EEUU la fomenta por su política restrictiva que, en el caso de México, no ha tenido ningún impacto. En España, la inmigración ilegal ha sido reducida por medio de un proceso de normalización, que ha permitido legalizar en el 2005 la situación de 572.000 inmigrantes, pero que puede desembocar bien en un efecto llamada, bien en lo que denomina Trinidad (2005) un proceso de regularización permanente como opción sostenible. Pero dicha disyuntiva sería objeto de otro artículo.

Lo que de momento si conocemos es que el número de inmigrantes internacionales se ha incrementado de forma sostenida durante las ultimas cuatro décadas. Según un reciente informe de Naciones Unidas, esta cifra se elevó a 175 millones en 2000, respecto a los 75 millones de 1960. Bien es cierto, que si comparamos dichas cifras con la población mundial apenas llega al 3% de la población, pero el efecto sinérgico que provocan los flujos migratorios en el campo de la economía (remesas, activación de zonas endémicas, surgimiento de comunidades trasnacionales….) la política (control de flujos migratorios, intervención social, diseño de políticas sociales) la cultura (gestión de la diversidad, y generación de nuevas identidades) la sociedad (nuevos modelos de convivencia, integración y exclusión social) o la demografía (convivencia de patrones demográficos diferenciados) etc., provoca un debate sociopolítico sin precedentes.

Working Paper #133 »

US Immigration Reform: Can the System Be Repaired? (Working Paper #132)

Marc R. Rosenblum, Council on Foreign Relations and Migration Policy Institute

Introduction: The existing immigration regime was designed in 1952-1965 with the primary goals of allowing nuclear and extended family reunification, and with secondary goals of permitting humanitarian admissions (which will not be addressed here) and necessary labor inflows. Almost from the start, the system proved problematic, and by 1970 (just two years after the 1965 amendments were implemented) major new nonimmigrant programs (the L and H-1 programs) were being tacked on to the LPR system and Congress began devoting sustained attention to the problem of undocumented inflows. Yet even as Congress passed major reform packages in 1976(8), 1986, 1990, and 1996, the LPR system has increasingly failed to satisfy the country’s immigration demands, and an ever-expanding diversity of temporary and undocumented flows have come to dominate immigrant labor markets.

Today’s system differs from almost 200 years of immigration precedent in two key respects. On one hand, changing technology, the falling cost of international travel, and decades of previous migratory flows have made the underlying structure of immigration flows more complex and difficult to manage than was the case during the last great wave of migration (1890-1920) or in the first decades after World War Two when today’s legislative structure was created. On the other hand, whereas early immigration legislation, for better or worse, produced a system where most arriving immigrants entered as legal permanent residents on a predictable path and with ample opportunities to contribute to their communities, recent immigration restrictions have left the system badly out of alignment with the US national interest in immigration policy. In particular, today’s immigration system fails to ensure that the United States attracts and retains the legal permanent immigrants who are most able to contribute valuable human resources, that new immigrants are successfully integrated within the United States with minimal negative consequences for native workers and immigrant within the United States, or that immigration and immigration policy enhance US national security and foreign policy interests, rather than undermining them. We recommend changes in each of three areas to address these flaws in a comprehensive fashion:

• Changes to the legal permanent and temporary admissions systems to promote the recruitment and retention of those immigrants best able to contribute to the US national interest in immigration;

• Changes to the institutional and regulatory structure governing the integration and employment of immigrants within the United States to ensure that immigrants make the largest possible contribution while minimizing possible costs of migration;

• Changes to immigration control policies and a renewed emphasis on the use of immigration as a tool of foreign policy.

It must be emphasized at the start that when it comes to immigration legislation the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. Indeed, if the experience of the last four decades teaches anything it is that incomplete or poorly designed immigration reform—legislation which “muddles through” rather than confronting the challenge of radical reform—tends to do more harm than good. Current calls to “fix enforcement” without addressing flaws in the recruitment and integration of legal immigrants are not only doomed to fail, but also likely to undermine future efforts at fixing admissions and integration policies. Likewise, simply tacking on a new temporary worker program without addressing long-term issues related to immigrants’ role in the economy and broader issues related to immigrant recruitment would put off tough decisions and raise additional barriers to broadly fundamental reform in the future. The politics of immigration also require a truly comprehensive approach: moving from the status quo regime to a system that is productive and sustainable will require sacrifices from parties on all sides of this immigration debate, including immigration advocates, employers, labor interests, and social conservatives. Only when each of these groups accepts its second-best alternative will we return to our roots as a nation that thrives on its ability to attract the world’s best immigrants and transforms them into the world’s greatest citizens.

Working Paper #132 »

The Effect of Illegal Immigration and Border Enforcement on Crime Rates along the U.S.-Mexico Border (Working Paper #131)

Pia M. Orrenius and Roberto Coronado, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Abstract: In the 1990s, the border led the nation in the decline of property-related crimes, while violent crime rates fell twice as fast in the U.S. than in the median border county. This paper asks how changes in illegal immigration and border enforcement have played a role in generating these divergent trends. We find that while migrant apprehensions are correlated with a greater incidence of violent crime, they are not systematically associated with higher rates of property crime. Border patrol enforcement is associated with lower property crime rates but higher violent crime. Interestingly, it is local enforcement (same or neighboring sector) that is correlated with higher violent crime. Higher border enforcement overall is correlated with less violent crime. Several trends likely underlie these results. First, more enforcement in urban versus rural areas has pushed property crime rates down by keeping migrants and smugglers away from densely populated areas. Second, it is likely that more enforcement (and other factors) have led to an increased use of professional smugglers which in turn has led to more violence on the border.

Working Paper #131 »