Aarti Kohli – Operation Streamline: Assembly-Line Justice at the Border

Aarti Kohli – Operation Streamline: Assembly-Line Justice at the Border
 

Please listen (above) to the Research Seminar given by Aarti Kohli on May 18, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


Aarti Kohli, director of immigration policy at the Warren Institute, will discuss a recent research project examining a Department of Homeland Security program that requires the federal criminal prosecution and imprisonment of all unlawful border crossers. The program, known as Operation Streamline, mainly targets migrant workers with no criminal history and has resulted in skyrocketing caseloads in many federal district courts along the border. From 2007 to 2008, federal prosecutions of immigration crimes nearly doubled, reaching more than 70,000 cases.

To understand how Operation Streamline is working, the Warren Institute conducted interviews with judges, U.S. attorneys, defense attorneys, Border Patrol representatives and immigration lawyers in four cities where versions of the program are in place in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Warren Institute’s report concludes that Operation Streamline raises significant legal and policy concerns. The program likely diverts crucial law enforcement resources away from fighting violent crime along the border, fails to demonstrate that it effectively reduces undocumented immigration, and violates the U.S. Constitution. This project also examines the Southern District of California as an alternative to Operation Streamline.

Aarti Kohli is Director of Immigration Policy at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at Berkeley School of Law. Her area of expertise is immigration law and policy. She leads the institute’s immigration initiative with the goal of connecting research with civic action and policy debate. Her work has focused on the following topics, among others: racial profiling in immigration enforcement, the intersection of criminal and immigration law; impact of deportations on U.S. citizen children, legal restrictions on immigrant access to healthcare; economic, social, and legal implications of state and local laws on immigrant integration.

She has served as a Consultant to the Office of Children’s Issues for the U.S. Department of State. Formerly, she was Judiciary Committee and Immigration and Claims Subcommittee counsel to Representative Howard Berman (D-CA). Prior to working for Congress, she served as Assistant Legislative Director at UNITE union in Washington DC. In addition, she has also worked as a consultant to the National Immigration Law Center, the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and the National Immigration Forum. Aarti holds a J.D. from University of California Hastings College of the Law and a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Development Studies. She is a member of the California Bar.

Kitty Calavita — Immigration, Race, and Law in Italy: The Political Economy of Backlash

Begins at 2:00 in the Eleanor Roosevelt Administration Building Conference Room

Italy has one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in Europe. In this presentation, Calavita explores immigration law, the role of immigrant labor in the economy, and the racialization of immigrants in Italy. She notes that Italy has one of the lowest birthrates in the world and one of the oldest populations, and that immigrants help offset population declines and provide a critical labor force in many sectors and jobs at wages eschewed by Italians. She analyzes the current political backlash and racialization of immigrants within the context of a fundamental contradiction between the economic utility of immigrants as a third-world workforce and political rhetoric calling for their “integration.”

Kitty Calavita is Chancellor’s Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. She has conducted research and published widely in the field of immigration and immigration lawmaking. Her work is both contemporary and historical, U.S.-based and comparative. An early book, Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the INS, used unpublished archival material to document the internal dynamics of the INS in shaping the Bracero Program, and connected structural contradictions in the political economy to the details of agency decisionmaking. Her recent book, Immigrants at the Margins: Law, Race, and Exclusion in Southern Europe (Cambridge, 2005), examines immigrant marginalization in Italy and Spain, and the formal and informal legal processes that contribute to it.

Her most recent book is Invitation to Law & Society: An Introduction to the Study of Real Law (University of Chicago Press, 2010). Interweaving scholarship with personal anecdotes and humor, it is an engaging and accessible guide to the prominent issues and distinctive approaches in the field of law & society. Neither introductory text nor scholarly monograph, the book is meant for students and colleagues alike.

She has launched a new research agenda, together with her colleague Valerie Jenness,  that explores some of these issues of race, marginalization, and legal processes within the venue of prisons. She is interested specifically in the implementation of the informal grievance process in California prisons, and what the use of this process can tell us about prisoners’ legal consciousness, as well as about rights consciousness and prison life more generally. The study includes archival data from  prisoners’ written grievances, as well as interviews with current prisoners and corrections officials.

Clarissa Clo – Second Generations in Italy: Culture, Identity, and the Challenge of Citizenship

Clarissa Clo – Second Generations in Italy: Culture, Identity, and the Challenge of Citizenship
 

Please listen (above) to the Research Seminar given by Clarissa Clo on April 27, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


Begins at 2:00 in the Eleanor Roosevelt Administration Building Conference Room

Recent cultural productions by second generations in Italy offer an alternative and multifaceted representation of contemporary society while illuminating the impact and flaws of the current immigration and citizenship legislation. This multifarious body of work illustrates the range of creative resources adopted by young authors born and/or raised in Italy by immigrant parents. While migrant groups in Italy may be politically disenfranchised, culture, and popular culture in particular, is a site where many second generation youth explore and imagine new ways of identity and relation. The analysis of Italian culture and society provided by these authors is particularly insightful because they access it from the vantage point of a “diasporic sensitivity,” one that is simultaneously local and transnational. In particular, second generations have much to contribute to an understanding of how policies work to limit, instead of improving, individual lives and collective interests. This is especially interesting in the case of Italy where, given the substantial emigrant history of the country, citizenship is based on jus sanguinis. “Blood” (thus race) remains a determining factor towards naturalization and the current legislation not only continues to uphold a “familist” approach to citizenship, but it also allows for an ethnocentric prejudice in its application which favors descent or EU membership over birth on national soil, discriminating against those from other regions of the world lacking Italian or European pedigree.

I argue that second generations in Italy have important insights to offer to the discussion over citizenship at large. Their cultural productions place them at the center, and not on the margin, of debates over Italian nationality, culture, and identity in the age of globalization. Second generations are perhaps the best suited to critique the legal system on immigration and citizenship in Italy, not just because, unlike Italian (white) citizens, they are forced to deal with it frequently, but also because they are quite knowledgeable of the workings of these laws and their material ramifications. They are “experts” who transfigure their legal “street” knowledge into literature, music and art while at the same time playing an important role as cultural activists. Their creative contribution shows the complex ways in which current immigration and citizenship laws in Italy do not (want to) account for Black or hyphenated Italians, i.e. people of African, Asian, Latin American, and Eastern European origin. It is through reading and listening to these voices that it becomes possible to bridge the distance between the text of the law and its abstractions and the material – racialized and gendered – effects on those who are subjected to it.

Clarissa Clò is Assistant Professor of Italian and European Studies and Director of the Italian Program at San Diego State University where she specializes in Italian Cultural Studies. She received a Ph.D. in Literature from UCSD in 2003 and taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before coming to SDSU. Her research interests include feminist, migration, and postcolonial studies, film, music, and popular culture. She has published in Annali d’Italianistica, Diacritics, Diaspora, Forum Italicum, Italian Culture, Italica, Il lettore di provincia and Transformations. She has written on The Battle of Algiers, regional documentary filmmaking, music subcultures, circum-Atlantic performances, Italian American women writers, Mediterranean Studies, and contemporary and postcolonial literature in Italy.

Min Zhou — Chinese Immigrant Transnational Organizations in the U.S. and Development in China

Min Zhou — Chinese Immigrant Transnational Organizations in the U.S. and Development in China
 

Please listen (above) to the Research Seminar given by Min Zhou on April 6th, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


This ongoing research project examines immigrant transnationalism via a close look at transnational organizations created by Chinese immigrants in the United States. It addresses the following questions: What are the scope, size, and nature of Chinese immigrant transnational organizations in the United States? Who is likely to actively participate in routine activities across national borders and why? How do these organizations interact with mainstream institutions in their hostland and homeland? What are the implications for immigrant incorporation to the United States and development in China? The study surveys a sample of 55 transnational organizations created by Chinese immigrants (out of an inventory of 1,370 ethnic Chinese organizations) in the United States and their effects on national and regional developments in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The study also draws on field observations and in-depth interviews of organizational leaders in the U.S. and China, including interviews with Chinese officials in charge of overseas Chinese affairs at various levels of government. Preliminary results indicate that Chinese immigrant organizations in the United States exist in a variety of fields: civic, music/arts, sports, social service, political, alumni, educational, economic, professional, and a range of organizations based on common family or clan ties and places of origin. Consistent with existing research on Latin American immigrant organizations, the study finds that transnationalism is likely to be practiced by married men with U.S. citizenship status and relatively stable employment or self-employment. While the familiar patterns of hometown-oriented involvement among transnational immigrants continue to be highly visible, new patterns of high-tech and capital-intensive developments in major metropolises and state-designated development zones have emerged among highly educated and highly assimilated immigrants. Although immigrant transnationalism is enthusiastically endorsed and supported by the Chinese government, immigrant transnational organizations tend to operate independently of the Chinese state with dual purposes of facilitating immigrant incorporation to U.S. society and homeland development in China.

Min Zhou, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology & Asian American Studies and the Walter and Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in U.S.-China Relations and Communications at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also the Chang Jiang Scholar Lecture Professor in Sun Yat-Sen University, China. Her main areas of research include international migration; ethnic and racial relations; ethnic entrepreneurship, education and the new second generation; Asia and Asian America; and urban sociology. She has published more than 130 refereed journal articles and book chapters, some of which have translated and published in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. She is the author of Chinatown: The Socioeconomic Potential of an Urban Enclave, The Transformation of Chinese America, and Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation; co-author of Growing up American: How Vietnamese Children Adapt to Life in the United States; co-editor of Contemporary Asian America and Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity. Zhou is currently working on two book projects: Chinatown, Koreatown, and Beyond: How Ethnicity Matters for Immigrant Education and Los Angeles’ New Second Generation: Mobility, Identity, and the Making of a New American Metropolis). For more information, visit: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/zhou/

Scott Borger – Self-Selection and Liquidity Constraints in Different Migration Cost Regimes

Scott Borger – Self-Selection and Liquidity Constraints in Different Migration Cost Regimes
 

Please listen (above) to the Research Seminar given by Scott Borger on March 16th, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


As smuggling costs across the U.S.-Mexico border increased, a shift occurred in the types of migrants able to afford the costs. Potential unauthorized migrants face liquidity constraints meaning they cannot borrow in the formal sector against their future earnings to pay the cost for clandestine entry. In this paper I model the decision to migrate including this friction and the ability for U.S. social networks to alleviate these constraints. The model predicts (i) an increase in smuggling fees intensifies intermediate self-selection of migrants, (ii) an increase in US wages increases migration among higher skill types, and (iii) social networks enable lower skill types to migrate. The predictions of the model are tested by comparing migration behavior in low-cost and high-cost migration periods. I find evidence of a change in self-selection over time with an intensification of intermediate self-selection in the high-cost period relative to the low-cost period. Moreover, in the high-cost period, social networks increase the propensity to migrate of potential migrants with limited resources. In the model calibrated using U.S.-Mexico data, I find the smuggling fees are an important component of who migrates.

Scott Borger, Economist, Office of Immigration Statistics, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Scott Borger is an Economist in the Office of Immigration Statistics in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from UC San Diego in 2009 and was a graduate student researcher at CCIS from 2006-2009.

Michael Clemens — How U.S. visas affect skilled labor: A randomized natural experiment

Michael Clemens — How U.S. visas affect skilled labor: A randomized natural experiment
 

Please listen (above) to the Research Seminar given by Michael Clemens on March 9th, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


What are the effects of migration visas to rich countries on workers in poor countries? Though enormous international gaps in wages suggest that these effects could be large, the rarity of exogenous visa provision makes the true effects of visas difficult to measure. This study exploits a natural experiment wherein temporary US work visas were randomly allocated among a population of Indian high-tech workers in 2007 and 2008. It uses the experiment to test a set of predictions arising from economic theories of international migration: predictions relating to the effects of migration policy on migrants’ location choice, workers’ earnings, and foreign employers’ productivity. First, it finds that—contradicting a core assumption of the most common location choice models—choices depend heavily on the set of location options available. Policy limits on high-skill Indian labor to the US cause about 30% of those workers to go to other countries competing with the US for talented labor, including Western Europe, China, Singapore, and Japan, in a proportion far exceeding the relative sorting of migrants between India and those alternative destinations in the presence of the US option. Second, it provides an experimental estimate of the degree of selection on unobservable determinants of earnings for one group of temporary high-skill migration to the United States. Third, it offers evidence on the static and dynamic effects of spatial agglomeration economies on worker productivity.

Michael Clemens leads the Migration and Development Initiative at the Center for Global Development (CGD), where he studies the effects of international migration on people from and in developing countries. Michael joined the Center after completing his PhD in Economics at Harvard, where his fields were Development and Public Finance, and he wrote his dissertation in Economic History. In addition to his research at CGD he serves as an Affiliated Associate Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

Rafael Alarcón and Luis Escala-Rabadán – The Social and Economic Integration of Mexican Immigrants in Los Angeles

Begins at 2:00 in the Eleanor Roosevelt Administration Building Conference Room

Abstract: Mexicans constitute the largest immigrant group in the United States. However, their social and economic integration reveals several limitations due to the large number of the undocumented as well as the low percentage of those who have naturalized, and thus, exercise their rights as citizens. In addition, most Mexican immigrants have a comparatively lower educational attainment and have access to low paying employment.

The main purpose of this presentation is to discuss the extent of social and economic integration of Mexican immigrants in the Los Angeles metropolitan area using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Data from the 2007 American Community Survey and 90 open-ended interviews with adult Mexican immigrants will be used to examine the economic, social, cultural and political factors that promote or limit the integration of immigrants. The interviews were conducted in 2008 with immigrants from the Mexican states of Zacatecas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz who have settled in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area at different times and historical circumstances.

Rafael Alarcón, Research Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Mexico)

Rafael Alarcón is research professor in the Department of Social Studies at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, Mexico and holds a Ph D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He was the founding editor of Migraciones Internacionales and is an specialist on international migration, Professor Alarcon has conducted research on the economic and social impacts of migration in sending and receiving regions in Mexico and the United States, the integration of Mexican immigrants in the United States and the role of skilled immigrants in Silicon Valley.

Luis Escala-Rabadán, Research Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Mexico)

Luis Escala-Rabadán is a sociologist who completed his doctorate in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests bring together the sociology of culture and the sociology of migration. His past work has included the study of transnational communities, political participation, and the different types of organizations and groups among Mexican migrants in the United States. He is currently on the research faculty of the Department of Social Studies and Chair of the Master’s Program in Sociocultural Studies at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, Baja California, in Mexico.

Gordon Hanson – Birth Rates and Border Crossings: The Demographic Push Behind Emigration in the Americas

Gordon Hanson – Birth Rates and Border Crossings: The Demographic Push Behind Emigration in the Americas
 

Please listen (above) to the Research Seminar given by Gordon Hanson on February 23, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


We intersect data on births from the WDI with U.S Census information on country of origin to estimate cohort-specific migration rates to the U.S. for twenty-one countries in the Americas. Using these data, we confirm the theoretical prediction that labor supply should play a driving role in migration, with individuals born into unusually large cohorts having a higher propensity to migrate. We find this effect to be strongest in nearby countries, with a slope that is decreasing and convex in both distance and in the number of countries crossed to reach the U.S. Labor supply-driven migration also interacts in interesting ways with shocks in the sending countries: natural disasters, sudden stops, and high-variability in income per capita all lead to more out-migration when they occur in large cohorts. Our results suggest a strong role for demographic pressure in generating migration in the Americas. (paper co-authored with Craig McIntosh, UCSD Economics)

Gordon Hanson, Professor, Department of Economics and School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego

Hanson is the director of the Center on Pacific Economies and is a professor of economics at UC San Diego, where he holds faculty positions in the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and the Department of Economics. Hanson is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and co-editor of theJournal of Development Economics. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior research fellow at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development. Prior to joining UCSD in 2001, he was on the economics faculty at the University of Michigan (1998-2001) and at the University of Texas (1992-1998).

Professor Hanson has published extensively in the top academic journals of the economics discipline. His current research examines the international migration of skilled labor, the economics of illegal immigration, the relationship between business cycles and global outsourcing, and international trade in motion pictures. In recent work, he has studied the impact of trade and immigration on wages, the origins of political opposition to immigration, and the implications of China’s growth for the export performance of Mexico and other developing countries. His most recent book is Skilled Immigration Today: Problems, Prospects, and Policies (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), co-edited with Jagdish Bhagwati.

Marisa Abrajano – Latinos and the 2008 Elections in California

Marisa Abrajano – Latinos and the 2008 Elections in California
 

Listen above to the Research Seminar given by Marisa Abrajano on January 12, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


Similar to the outcomes in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, California was expected to be a solidly blue state in the 2008 presidential race. What makes this presidential election distinct from previous ones, however, is the significant role that California played in the democratic nomination process. For the first time in the modern day presidential nomination process, the state’s fastest growing share of the electorate, Latinos, were given the opportunity to express their political preferences in a meaningful and important way. This paper examines the factors influencing Latino vote choice in the 2008 Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. Can Latino vote choice be explained in the same manner as non-Latinos? Do potential distinctions in the information they receive (e.g. political ads, the media) affect their vote decisions in any way? In the months that followed California’s primary election, Latino voters remained in the spotlight, though not with respect to the presidential race. Instead, the importance of capturing the Latino vote turned to Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would amend the California constitution to ban same sex-marriage in the state.

Paper co-authored with Fernando Guerra, Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University

Marisa Abrajano, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego; CCIS Visiting Fellow

Marisa Abrajano is an assistant professor in the department of political science at the University of California, San Diego. She received her Ph.D. in politics from New York University in 2005. Her research interests are in American politics, particularly in the areas of campaigns, mass electoral behavior, Latino politics, and racial/ethnic politics. She is the author of two forthcoming books: Campaigning to the New American Electorate: Television Advertising to Latinos (Stanford University Press) and New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America (with R. Michael Alvarez) published by Princeton University Press. Her other work has been published in The Journal of PoliticsPolitical Research QuarterlyAmerican Politics Research and Political Behavior.

Leisy Abrego – Barely Subsisting to Thriving: The Significance of Legal Status and Gender for Salvadoran Transnational Families

Leisy Abrego – Barely Subsisting to Thriving: The Significance of Legal Status and Gender for Salvadoran Transnational Families
 

Listen above to the Research Seminar given by Leisy Abrego on December 1, 2009.  We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!


Limited economic opportunities drive parents in many developing countries to migrate in search of employment. Because unauthorized international travel is dangerous and costly, migrants often leave their children behind, creating transnational families. Once in the United States, with few opportunities for legalization, these families face lengthy separations. How do the parents and children fare? And what determines their outcomes? This study finds that despite tremendous emotional costs, some families are thriving economically while others are only barely subsisting. The evidence demonstrates that migrants’ legal status and gender together shape how much these families benefit from the sacrifice of separation. Specifically, experiences associated with legal status and gendered cultural norms powerfully regulate how much parents earn and, in turn, how much they remit to their children. Surprisingly, the same factors determine how much children suffer emotionally during their parents’ absence.


leisy-abrego-croppedLeisy Abrego is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include Latino Studies, sociology of law, international migration, gender, and families. She has published articles in Latino Studies and Law & Social Inquiry about the role of legal status in the lives and educational trajectories of undocumented immigrant youth. Most recently, she published in the Journal of Marriage and Family about gendered differences in remittance practices. She is currently working on a book manuscript about effects of legal status and gender on Salvadoran transnational families’ well-being.