Integrating Immigrants: Morality and Loyalty in U.S. Naturalization Practice (Working Paper #160)

Susan Gordon. Ben Gurion University, Beersheva Israel

The issues of how to integrate immigrants and ensure the integrity of citizenship have become passionate topics of public discourse and policy debate in recent years in a number of immigrant receiving countries. Behind these debates are often unarticulated questions about how to ensure loyalty to the state and to particular conceptions of national identity among prospective citizens.

These issues have been explicitly debated in the United States since the enactment of the first naturalization law in 1790, which require that immigrants who wish to become citizens demonstrate their good moral character and attachment to the country. This article explores the ways that these morality and loyalty requirements have historically been applied and institutionalized in U.S. naturalization practice, particularly through government sponsored immigrant education programs. It does so first through a discussion of the interpretation of these laws, and then through a case study of the original 1914 Bureau of Naturalization initiative that resulted in the incorporation of these laws into naturalization testing and citizenship education for immigrants. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of this history for current debates in both the United States and elsewhere on immigrant integration.

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Differences in productivity or discrimination? Latin American and Caribbean immigrants in the US labor market (Working Paper #159)

Maritza Caicedo Riazcos, Ph.D. Candidate in Demography, El Colegio de México

Abstract: This paper examines the salary gap between the native-born population in the United States and immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean. Using the decomposition analysis developed by Oaxaca (1973), the article uses information from the 2003 Current Population Survey (CPS) to establish the degree to which the salary gap between these two groups is due to differences in productivity vs. differences in treatment of certain groups. The analysis places Latin American and Caribbean immigrants into seven groups: Mexicans, Cubans, Dominicans, Jamaicans and Haitians, Central Americans (Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans), South Americans (Colombians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians), and an “other” category that includes all other immigrants from the region. The native-born population is divided into White non- Hispanics and African-Americans. These groupings are intended to reflect the increase in immigration to the United States from these countries between 1980 and 2000.

The first section discusses the principal theories that have been employed to explain differences in salary between males and females. The second section offers a brief overview of salary distribution in the United States as well as information about workers’ salaries based on place of origin, sex, and level of education. The third section examines the salary gap between native-born workers and immigrants, as well as between males and females within each group. The fourth section discusses the need to correct for selection bias in the data when analyzing salaries. The final section discusses implications of the research findings for U.S. immigration policy.

Working Paper #159 »

Institutionalizing Precarious Immigration Status in Canada (Working Paper #158)

Luin Goldring, York University

Carolina Berinstein, Access Alliance Multicultural Health Centre

Judith Bernhard, Ryerson University

Abstract: This paper examines the salary gap between the native-born population in the United States and immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean. Using the decomposition analysis developed by Oaxaca (1973), the article uses information from the 2003 Current Population Survey (CPS) to establish the degree to which the salary gap between these two groups is due to differences in productivity vs. differences in treatment of certain groups. The analysis places Latin American and Caribbean immigrants into seven groups: Mexicans, Cubans, Dominicans, Jamaicans and Haitians, Central Americans (Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans), South Americans (Colombians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians), and an “other” category that includes all other immigrants from the region. The native-born population is divided into White non- Hispanics and African-Americans. These groupings are intended to reflect the increase in immigration to the United States from these countries between 1980 and 2000.

The first section discusses the principal theories that have been employed to explain differences in salary between males and females. The second section offers a brief overview of salary distribution in the United States as well as information about workers’ salaries based on place of origin, sex, and level of education. The third section examines the salary gap between native-born workers and immigrants, as well as between males and females within each group. The fourth section discusses the need to correct for selection bias in the data when analyzing salaries. The final section discusses implications of the research findings for U.S. immigration policy.

Working Paper #158 »

National Security and Immigration in the United States after 9/11 (Working Paper #157)

Chris Rudolph, American University

Introduction: The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 had a profound effect on American National Security and immigration’s relation to it. Prior to 2001, “securitizing” international migration was largely considered the discourse strategy of restrictionists and xenophobes. Now, however, it is widely accepted that international migration has significant implications for security. Of course, it can be argued that migration has long had security implications, and that immigration and border policies were strongly influenced by security interests (Rudolph, 2006). However, the events of 9/11 have raised the stakes considerably on what has long been a contentious issue—economically, socially, and politically.

The 9/11 Commission Report (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 2004) outlined the loopholes and cracks in the American system of migration and border control that the September 11 terrorists were able to exploit in order to carry out their mission (see also Flynn, 2004). All nineteen hijackers had visas to enter the United States. However, eight had passports that shoed evidenced of fraudulent manipulations, and another five had “suspicious indicators.” Some were known Al Qaeda operatives, yet somehow were either not included on government watch lists or managed to avoid apprehension if they were listed. More broadly, studies have shown that terrorists have not only exploited loopholes in the U.S. immigration and border control system, but have been able to use all available channels of entry in order to infiltrate the country(Camarota, 2002; Kephart, 2005). Without a doubt, migration has been increasingly recognized as a potential vector for the spread of global terrorism, and control over the entry of persons across the border represents the front line of defense in terms of homeland security interests. But what effects did the 9/11 attacks have on U.S. immigration and border policy more generally?

This paper seeks to explain immigration and border policy development since September 11, 2001 through a national security framework (Rudolph, 2003; 2006).

Working Paper #157 »

Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Mexican Immigration: The Mexican-American Perspective (Working Paper #156)

Tomas R. Jimenez, University of California, San Diego

Abstract: Objective. Survey research posits that Mexican Americans’ perceptions of the costs and benefits of immigration drive their opinions about immigration, but this research does not provide a clear picture of how Mexican Americans calculate these costs and benefits. This article aims to understand the processes that explain how Mexican Americans calculate the costs and benefits of Mexican immigration. Methods. The article employs 123 in-depth interviews and observation with latergeneration Mexican Americans in Garden City, Kansas, and Santa Maria, California. Result. Respondents are ambivalent about how Mexican immigrants affect their lives, and their ambivalence is driven by prevailing ideologies in American society regarding immigration, race, and ethnicity. On the one hand, ardent anti-Mexican nativism leads Mexican Americans to see substantial costs accruing to Mexican immigration. Mexican Americans fear that anti-Mexican nativism leads to status degradation for all people of Mexican descent. On the other hand, an ideology of multiculturalism and its accompanying value of diversity lead Mexican Americans to see substantial benefits accruing to the large Mexican-immigrant population, particularly in politics, the labor market, and popular culture. Conclusions. Mexican Americans’ perceptions of the costs and benefits of Mexican immigration are based not only on economic considerations, but on social and cultural considerations structured by prevailing and often paradoxical ideologies. Respondents’ structural position increases concerns about status degradation resulting from immigration, but also shapes how they are positioned to benefit from the boost in prominence that immigration provides to the entire Mexican-origin population.

Working Paper #156 »

Characteristics and Business Profiles of Immigrant-Owned Small Firms: The Case of Albanian Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Greece (Working Paper #155)

Daphne Halkias, Hellenic American University

Abstract: Greece has experienced rapid growth in immigrant and refugee populations since 1990. Most are immigrants from Albania and throughout the Balkan region. Immigrant and refugee groups arriving in Greece also come from the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia and Africa. Some of these newcomers started small businesses in their quest to become economically self-sufficient, serve the consumer needs of fellow newcomers, and integrate into community life. Research cites that immigrant businesses are closely intertwined with national interest in community economic development. As well, national and research statistics have reflected that immigrant entrepreneurship has a direct economic impact on local economies. Finally, research in the area of immigrant small business development must also address reasons that the immigrant small business entrepreneur gravitates to self-employment and innovative financing methods. The purpose of this research was two-fold: 1) to review the extant literature on social and economic factors influencing immigrant entrepreneurship in Greece, and 2) to determine characteristics and business profiles of Albanian immigrant-owned small businesses within the municipality of Attiki – the location of Athens, Greece’s capital city and largest urban center, which has experienced rapid growth in immigrant populations between 1990 and 2005. This is the first paper of a dynamic five-year project to research and promote the unique entrepreneurial and self-employment spirit brought by immigrants and refugees to Greece.

Working Paper #155 »

The Effect of Political Unrest on Migration Decisions: New Evidence and Preliminary Findings from Oaxaca, Mexico (Working Paper #154)

Jeffrey H. Cohen, The Ohio State University

Abstract: Strikes, violence and economic crisis characterized life in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico from the spring through late fall of 2006. Demonstrations began around the efforts of striking teachers from section 22 of the teacher’s union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación or the SNTE) and grew throughout the summer and into the fall. In response to the state’s intransigence and in part to resolve the stand-off between protestors and the state, the APPO (Asamblea Popular del Pueblo Oaxaqueño) was organized. The APPO, a nonviolent group including support from many local human rights organizations, formed largely to oppose the administration of the state’s governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (Vergara, et al. 2006; Waterbury 2007). The confrontation between protestors and the state led to street blockades, violence and several acts of murder along with the cancellation of the important Guelaguetza festival by the governor. In response Oaxaca’s economy suffered and tourism in the city collapsed (Maciel 2006; Matias 2007; Rivas 2007).

Throughout these events little has been said about the rural villages that surround the city and the impact of last year’s events on rural Oaxacans remains poorly understood (although see Gutierrez-Najera 2007; Hernández Díaz 2007). In this paper we present preliminary results of 192 interviews in three rural villages.2 The communities include a town that depends upon tourism and the export of crafts for much of its income, El Arbol del Valle; a semi-urban community that is linked to Oaxaca City through jobs and serves as a bedroom community for a growing number of relocated urban Oaxacans, Vista del Rio; and a rural, agrarian, Zapotec community that has seen much migration to the US over the last decade called La Milpa. Following standard anthropological practices, we have renamed each community and given all informants new identities to protect them from any repercussions as opinions in the three communities ranged from those that were highly critical of both APPO and the governor, to supportive of either the governor or APPO.

Working Paper #154 »

Mexican Immigrant Integration in the U.S. Southeast: Institutional Approaches to Immigrant Integration in Owensboro, Kentucky (Working Paper #153)

Meredith Glenn Cabell, Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies and Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California – San Diego

Introduction: Owensboro, Kentucky is at a crossroads. With the arrival of Mexican immigrants in the town, the city of 54,000 is one of many new immigrant receiving communities in the Southeast1 that is experiencing immigration for the first time in over 100 years. In a place defined largely by its Anglo population, the arrival of a small, but permanent and growing population of Mexican immigrants over the last ten  years has made the national immigration debate relevant beyond the traditional gateways. The most pressing issues include immigrant access to healthcare, bilingual education, housing, English-language acquisition and drivers’ licenses for immigrants. The undocumented2 status of many immigrants adds complexity to these issues, even as many in the community recognize that immigrants are a vital part of the workforce and community. Consequently, their arrival has also sparked conversations common to immigrant-receiving communities regarding immigrant incorporation into the existing social, economic, political and cultural structure. The successful integration of this immigrant population is something that could potentially benefit many actors. It could enrich the community both socially and economically, while also adding diversity to a largely homogeneous population. On the other hand, the failure to successfully integrate the growing Mexican immigrant population could lead to tension and divisiveness between old and new community members that would benefit no one.

Working Paper #153 »

Don’t Hassle Me, I’m Local: The Integration of Latin American Settlers in the Delmarva Peninsula (Working Paper #152)

Alison Smith Gaffney, Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies and Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California – San Diego

Abstract: This work is a case study of a ‘new destination’ for immigration to the United States, examining community changes and responses over time in the rural Delmarva Peninsula and contributing to an expanding literature on ‘best practices’ for immigrant integration. Significant numbers of Latin American immigrants first arrived in the early 1990s, settling out of the Eastern migrant stream and taking year-round jobs in the regional poultry-processing industry. The immediate concerns of this research are two-fold: first, to identify the successful practices and promising initiatives that have surfaced over the last fifteen years in Delmarva – successful and promising in enabling immigrants to participate as full members of their host communities – and second, to identify the current and future challenges that face Delmarva towns in the processes of accommodation and settlement. Data collection involved approximately thirty-five in-depth qualitative interviews, use of secondary sources such as newspaper articles and U.S. Census data, and participant observation through volunteering in three nonprofit organizations working with the Spanish-speaking immigrant community. Overall, public ambivalence towards immigration – anxiety about the sociocultural impact tempered by recognition of the importance of immigrant labor in the poultry industry – engenders acceptance, albeit an uneasy or reluctant acceptance. In this environment, many successful practices have arisen. However, a second wave of migration consisting of retirees and second-home buyers from overcrowded neighboring states is changing the Delmarva landscape and creating new challenges for immigrant integration, especially in terms of housing. In addition, the region faces challenges specific to the healthy development and education of the second generation.

Working Paper #152 »

Internalizing Immigration Policy within the Nation-State: The Local Initiative of Aguaviva, Spain (Working Paper #151)

Angela S. Garcia, Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies and Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California – San Diego

Introduction: The contemporary nation-state is widely understood as the sovereign arbiter of territorial entry. Immigration policy-making, in turn, traditionally lies within the centralized state’s authority. As Virginie Guiraudon observes, “controlling who enters, who stays, and who leaves national territory has long been emblematic of national sovereignty and considered a founding prerogative of the modern nationstate” (2001: 31). The state’s dominance over immigration policy is often made clear at the constitutional level. In Spain, for example, Article 149 of the 1978 Constitution dictates that the state has exclusive jurisdiction over “nationality, immigration, emigration, alienage, and the right of asylum.” Nevertheless, the creation of groups like the European Union has contributed to an upwards trend of immigration policy-making at a supranational level. Much has been made of this shift towards the externalization of immigration and asylum policy, especially in terms of the EU’s 1985 Schengen Agreement1 (Soysal 1994, Guiraudon and Lahav 2000, Zolberg 2003, Lavenex 2006, Betts and Miller 2006).

Despite this interest in the “Europeanization” of immigration policy, little scholarly attention has been paid to the emergence of immigration initiatives at the local level. In Spain, for example, municipalities throughout the nation’s rural interior are openly forming community-level immigration policies. Much of this process began with the 2000 journey of the conservative mayor of Aguaviva, a remote municipality in Aragón, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a first step towards combating the negative demographic trends that plague his municipality, Mayor Luis Bricio sought to recruit Argentines of Spanish descent to repopulate his town. Later, he initiated partnerships with local employers eager for cheap migrant labor in order to recruit Romanians to Aguaviva. The preferential immigration policymaking of Aguaviva’s municipal leaders has been especially influential: today 85 towns throughout rural Spain have developed and implemented their own local level policies to selectively recruit immigrants, initiating migratory flows and establishing new immigrant destinations in an attempt to curb rural depopulation. Beyond Spain, the Veneto region of Italy and the state of Iowa in the United States have attempted—with varying levels of success—to implement local proimmigration policies of their own.

The internalization of immigration policy indicates a new shift in the site of policy-making. Community-specific immigration initiatives move the realm and  scope of immigration policy downwards and create an important, unexplored tension between national and sub-national levels of government within the state. The migration literature frequently addresses the supranational pressure that buffets nation-states “from above” in terms of immigration policy. I argue that local immigration initiatives are especially significant because they indicate that nationstates are also increasingly subject to sub-national pressure “from below.” Local actors are contributing to the progressively complex realm of immigration policy. This study will focus on immigration policy-making at the local level within Spain to analyze how and why these new sub-national policy pressures emerge.

Working Paper #151 »