Rene Zenteno – The New Mexican Migration Law

Date: September 29, 2011

Time: 5:00 pm

Location: UCSD, Institute of the Americas Complex, Deutz Conference Room

Rene Zenteno is Undersecretary for Population, Migration and Religious Affairs at Secretary of Interior. Prior to joining the Secretary of Interior he served as provost and professor of sociology and demography at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF). He has been Executive Director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California San Diego. He has received numerous honors and fellowships, including President of Sociedad Mexicana de Demografía and membership in the National Academy of Science of Mexico. He has been a member of the Mexican National System of Researchers since 1992, a distinction awarded only to the best national scholars. During his tenure as a professor at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, he was awarded the chair in “Economic Integration and Social Development,” in 2003, and the “Outstanding Teaching and Research Award,” in 2005. He has published widely in the areas of social and demographic change, international migration, and social inequality, with a focus on Mexico, U.S.-Mexican migration, and Mexican immigrant incorporation. He obtained his MA in demography from El Colegio de Mexico in 1988 and his PhD in sociology and demography from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995. From 1996 to 1998 he undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.

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California weighs college aid for illegal immigrants



CCIS director John Skrentny comments on the battle regarding California’s college financial aid bill for illegal immigrants.


BY ALAN GOMEZ   SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

Calif-bill-aids-illegal-immigrants-in-college-RTCJT2E-x
Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, left, is congratulated by Gov. Jerry Brown in July after the state’s Dream Act was passed, allowing illegal residents to receive privately funded scholarships. (Damien Dovarganes, AP)

Nearly 20 years ago, California became the first state to crack down on immigration when voters approved a measure that cut off education, health and other benefits to illegal immigrants and their children.

Now, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is considering signing a bill that would grant financial aid to some illegal immigrants attending state colleges and universities. That would be in
addition to laws that allow some illegal immigrants to pay in-
state tuition and let them accept privately funded college
grants.

As states such as Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina push hard stances against illegal immigrants, the turnaround in the Golden State is viewed as either a Democratic-controlled Legislature ignoring the will of Californians, or a path that other states will soon be following.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican, is convinced that people in his state are opposed to the state’s move toward acceptance of illegal immigrants. When Californians approved Proposition 187 — the voter referendum that cut benefits to illegal immigrants — in 1994, it passed with 59% of the vote.

He’s confident that voters still feel that way, so he’s prepared to push for another voter referendum to overturn the college financial aid bill if Brown signs it into law.

“Why is an illegal’s dream more important than an American’s dream?” asked Donnelly, who founded a Minuteman group to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border before being elected to office. “There’s a tsunami of discontent with this bill. Outrage isn’t even a strong enough word.”

The bill, passed Sept. 2 by the Legislature, would give illegal immigrant students about $40million in financial aid and fee waivers.

Anti-immigration groups says it makes even less sense when considering California’s financial plight.

“With a state that’s billions of dollars in the red — our own version of Greece in the United States — the idea of giving additional taxpayer money to illegal immigrants is surreal,” said Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates lower levels of immigration. “It’s hard to believe.”

Some say the state’s growing acceptance of illegal immigrants is a preview of what will happen as Hispanics — the fastest-growing demographic in the country — spread out to new states and establish families.

“It appears that you get the most anti-immigration sentiment where immigrant populations are newer and where they are growing and when there’s a climate where political leaders are drawing attention to this,” said John Skrentny, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California-San Diego.

A poll last year found that, for the first time, more Californians opposed a new version of Prop 187, according to a University of Southern California Dornsife College/Los Angeles Times poll.

Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said that’s partly a result of more Hispanics entering the state and non-Hispanics leaving in recent decades. But he said the poll found that young, white voters were far more likely to oppose laws that bar illegal immigrants from receiving benefits because so many had grown up surrounded by Hispanics.

“Because younger Californians are growing up in a multiethnic, multicultural society, they’re much less likely to draw these types of distinctions than older voters,” Schnur said.

That helps explain why states farther north and east are just recently starting their anti-immigration battles, Skrentny said.

Georgia, which passed an anti-immigration law this year that was blocked by a federal judge, saw its Hispanic population nearly double from 2000 to 2010. South Carolina passed another anti-immigration law, which is being challenged in federal court, after its Hispanic population rose by 148% over the same time . And Indiana, which passed an anti-immigration law that has been halted by a federal judge, saw an additional 170,000 Hispanics pour into the state in the past decade.

“These are folks that are not used to this kind of ethnic diversity,” Skrentny said. “That suggests that places like Alabama and Georgia are closer to where California was in the 1990s, and it suggests that California has moved on.”

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16th Annual International Metropolis Conference

The 16th Annual International Metropolis Conference will take place in the Azores Islands, September 12-16, 2011.  Kathryn Kopinak (Senior Fellow), Rosa Soriano (former Visiting Fellow), Antonio Trinidad, and Jenna Hennebry will present in a panel titled “Exporting Goods, exporting workers? A comparative study of labour migration and export processing zones in Mexico and Morocco”.

For more, click here.

Mexican-Americans in Palm Springs (The Desert Sun)

CCIS Director Emeritus Wayne Cornelius discusses the Mexican-American population in Palm Springs in The Desert Sun “Job scarcity may have hindered Mexican-Americans’ migration to Palm Springs” and “Mexican-Americans, Palm Springs’ largest minority, have curiously brief recorded history”.


Job scarcity may have hindered Mexican-Americans’ migration to Palm Springs

BY BRUCE FESSIER   AUGUST 20, 2011

Anthropologist Lowell Bean finds it hard to believe that no Mexican- Americans were born in Palm Springs before 1925.

After all, the Coachella Valley was part of Mexico before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War in 1848.

“Indian women all over Southern California had been marrying Mexicans or Spanish since the 1780s,” said Bean, a Palm Springs resident and former California State University, East Bay professor. “It seems odd.”

But Bean and Wayne Cornelius, founder of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, agree that Palm Springs has less of a Mexican influence than most cities in the American Southwest because so few Mexican-Americans settled here before the 1930s.

“Mexicans couldn’t find jobs here,” said Bean. “Until there were jobs, there was no reason to come here unless they intermarried.”

Cornelius believes the absence of a large Mexican-American population before World War II can be traced back to the earliest explorations of California. From 1774 to 1776, Juan Bautista De Anza led the first Spanish colonizing expedition through East Riverside County, but he didn’t come to Palm Springs on his way through the San Gorgonio Pass. Jose Romero led a Mexican expedition to Palm Springs in 1823, but didn’t leave any settlers behind.

“I think Palm Springs was bypassed by that first wave of explorers,” Cornelius said.

Agua Caliente records show the Cahuilla Indians began to travel to Southern California missions in the early 1800s to work as seasonal laborers. They learned Spanish and married in Catholic churches.

But non-Indians didn’t try to colonize Palm Springs until attorney John McCallum bought and sold parcels of Southern Pacific Railroad land in the 1880s with the dream of building an agricultural community.

Even then, there were no jobs for Latinos.

“The Indians were all working in agriculture for the ranchers before the Mexicans,” said Bean. “They were the basic labor force because the whites weren’t working class.”
“It wasn’t on a rail line,” said Cornelius. “Most of those clusters (of immigrants) were brought up to either build the railroads or work in agribusiness. It wasn’t big enough to require much labor.”

Cydronia Valdez said the most surprising thing she and her co-authors discovered in researching their book, “We Were Here Too! The History and the Contributions of the Original Mexican Families to the Palm Springs Village,” is that most of the first Mexican-Americans in Palm Springs migrated to America to escape the terror of Pancho Villa’s forces during the Mexican Revolution of the 1910s.

Pasqual Quiroz, whose father fled Mexico then and came to Palm Springs in the early ’20s, said Villa’s legend has been romanticized over the years.

“What my father told me was, when Pancho Villa came into a city all the people fled because they knew the soldiers were rapists and robbers,” said Quiroz. “They were nothing but a bunch of thieves.”

Many of the first Mexican families settled in Los Alamitos in Orange County, but according to “We Were Here Too” co-author Barbara Ayala Eves, they moved to Palm Springs because Los Alamitos “was not particularly fit for families.”

When Palm Springs began to grow in the 1920s, Quiroz said, “It had jobs and people started migrating.”

The Mexican-Americans lived in modest homes then on Indian reservation land separated from the opulent adobes by a line of Tamarisk trees.

“When jobs became available, working-class whites and Mexicans started moving in and the only place they were allowed to live was the reservation,” said Bean. “I don’t think anyone who was not white was wanted in Palm Springs unless they were living on the reservation or outside of town. It was a really racist place.”

U.S. Census figures don’t accurately reflect the number of Mexican-Americans who lived in Palm Springs before 1970. The census surveyed Hispanics/ Latinos in 1960, but defined them as Spanish-speaking people or Puerto Ricans.

Cornelius said the biggest Mexican migration to Palm Springs and the U.S. came in the ’90s when the robust economy was creating new jobs. He said immigration has recently decreased as the U.S. economy has faltered and the Mexican economy has grown.

“When the contractors went south,” said Cornelius, “so did migration.”

John Skrentny’s chapter on the politics of immigration in the Obama administration now available

With support from the Russell Sage Foundation, political scientists Theda Skocpol and Larry Jacobs assembled a group of scholars to analyze the politics of reform in the Obama administration.  The ensuing book, Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama’s First Two Years, is now available.  The book includes John Skrentny’s chapter, “Obama’s Immigration Reform: A Tough Sell for a Grand Bargain,” as well as chapters on health care, higher education, financial regulation, labor law reform, K-12 education, energy policy, and tax reform.

For more information, click here and here.