“What Does East Asia Tell Us about Europe? The Case of Immigration Policy”

The Center for European Studies

The Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies is dedicated to fostering the study of European history, politics, culture and society at Harvard. Through our graduates, who go on to teach others about Europe and to many other roles in society, the Center sustains America’s knowledge base about Europe, an important contribution to international understanding in difficult times. 

Harvard University
Friday, November 5, 2010
2:15 PM – 4:00 PM, Cabot Room, Busch Hall

John Skrentny
Professor of Sociology
University of California-San Diego

Exclusion and Inclusion in an Expanded Europe Study Group

View Full Agenda»

A Chance to Get Immigration Reform Right

AEI Study Outlines Principles for Regulation of Low-Skilled

NOVEMBER 3, 2010


Recent immigration reform proposals, such as Arizona’s SB1070, have focused on curtailing illegal immigration through increased border enforcement and deportation of unauthorized residents. But border enforcement is expensive and often ineffective. In addition, while foreign workers benefit the U.S. economy–whether they’ve entered legally or illegally–they also increase the tax burden on U.S. citizens. In Regulating Low-Skilled Immigration in the United States (AEI Press, 2010), Gordon H. Hanson, director of the Center on Pacific Economies, outlines principles for immigration reform that will balance these fiscal costs and benefits. Successful reform, he argues, must attract in-demand workers who have strong incentives to assimilate and be economically productive, but will not place excessive demands on public services.

Hanson outlines three broad choices policymakers must make concerning the mechanisms that govern immigration:

  • Whether to regulate the entry of immigrants using prices or quantities: The current regime of legal immigration is primarily quantity-regulated, as Congress determines how many visas are available each year. However, a price mechanism, such as a visa processing fee, would attract workers with higher incentives to be productive during their time in the United States. A visa processing fee would also generate revenue for the federal government and help to offset the fiscal burden immigrants place on public services.
  • How much variance to allow in the number of work visas: Current policy places strict caps on the numbers of visas issued, but a more flexible approach would benefit the economy by allowing immigration to increase during times of expansion and decrease during times of contraction. During times of economic growth, wages would rise and demand for visas would grow, pushing up their price. The government would receive a signal to increase the visa supply to keep prices stable. Accordingly, when the economy slows down and demand for visas falls, government would decrease the supply.
  • How to balance the fiscal cost of immigration with incentives for assimilation: Easing the path to U.S. citizenship for legal and illegal immigrants would mean greater demands on public services, but it would also benefit the country by encouraging important investments in U.S. society, such as pursuing higher education, purchasing a home, and becoming active in community organizations. A method of balancing the fiscal costs and benefits would be a graduated system of residency rights, whereby an immigrant could earn increased benefits and eventual citizenship through demonstrated productivity and compliance with visa regulations.
  • When the Obama administration addresses immigration reform, as it has promised to, it “should seek first to do no harm,” Hanson writes. “Constructive reform requires allowing low-skilled immigration to occur under a legal framework that respects market mechanisms and treats immigrants as individuals with the potential to contribute to U.S. society. Unless Congress recognizes and understands the successes and failures of low-skilled immigration policy to date, we risk losing another chance to get reform right.”

    Gordon H. Hanson is director of the Center on Pacific Economies and a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego.

    Read the Article »

Stephen Lee — Unauthorized Migrant, Information Policy, and Workplace Enforcement.

 

Seminar to be held in ERC 115 at 2:00 pm.


Professor Stephen Lee researches at the intersection of administrative law and immigration law and has been published in the Stanford Law Review and California Law Review. Prior to joining UCI School of Law, Professor Lee was a fellow at Stanford Law School, clerked for Judge Schroeder on the Ninth Circuit, and practiced at Skadden, Arps. Taking an expansive view of noncitizen rights, his current research examines the regulation of unauthorized migrants in the workplace. Professor Lee graduated from Berkeley Law in 2005.

UA-linked effort looks at crossers, effect of violence

Students interviewing hundreds of deportees

BY JAZMINE WOODBERRY for The Arizona Daily Star
OCTOBER 25, 2010

University of Arizona students are interviewing hundreds of deported illegal border crossers over the next year to document the connection between drugs, guns and violence on the border.

The study is funded by a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, a private Michigan-based organization that awards grants to social-justice causes globally.

While the students’ research won’t be completed until early next year, preliminary returns from the surveys show that illegal border crossers are experiencing an increase in emotional and physical violence at the hands of smugglers and Border Patrol agents, said co-principal investigator Jeremy Slack.

The buildup of border enforcement and the overlap of drug- and human-smuggling appear central to a rise in violence over the last three years, Slack said.

“We are committed to tell this story by using their voices to tell the phenomena of the border,” he said.

UA students from several academic areas work with professors and students from partnering Mexican universities to conduct the interviews. They are talking with deported border crossers at shelters in Tijuana; Nogales, Sonora; Ciudad Juarez; Matamoros; and Mexicali.

The project stems from a dissertation by Daniel E. Martinez, a University of Arizona Ph.D. student and research visitor at Notre Dame. He was introduced to the shelters through Anna Ochoa O’Leary, who was awarded a 2006 Fulbright grant for her survey-based research with female migrants.

Initial data collected focused mainly on Mexican migrants in shelters near Tucson. But with the grant, researchers now can expand beyond the Tucson-Nogales area, and Martinez said this change will broaden preliminary data for an executive summary to be released next spring.

The Ford Foundation also funds the University of California-San Diego’s Mexican Migration Field Research Program, whose research is based on interviews with illegal border crossers. Researchers with that program conduct interviews in three Mexican communities with varying illegal-migration patterns and socioeconomic status.

A focus on how border enforcement is affecting migration is crucial, said Jonathan Hicken, a research associate with the Mexican Migration Field Research Program. The survey research adds a more human element missed in other, non-interview-based efforts, he said.

“It’s in our best interest for programs like this to start sprouting up everywhere,” Hicken said of the UA program.

to Read interviews

To read some of the interviews conducted by UA students with illegal border crossers, go to researchdiscuss.blogspot.com

Who’s paying for it?

To learn more about the organization funding the research, go to the Ford Foundation’s website: fordfoundation.org

Jazmine Woodberry is a University of Arizona student who is apprenticing at the Star. Contact her at starapprentice@azstarnet. com or 573-4128.

Read the Article »

Reaching for a New Deal: President Obama’s Agenda and the Dynamics of U.S. Politics (Russell Sage Foundation)

Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, John Skrentny is part of a team of political scientists, led by Theda Skocpol and Larry Jacobs, who joined forces to provide “a detailed and sweeping set of assessments of the accomplishments, limits, and political dramas of the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency during the 111th Congress.”  While Skrentny focused on immigration, other scholars analyzed a broad set of reform areas, including health care, the financial regulation, higher education, organized labor, K-12 education, energy and tax policy.


Employing a rich variety of data sources, a working group of nine leading scholars has analyzed and tracked the accomplishments, limits, and political dramas of the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency during the 111th Congress.

Barack Obama won the presidency of the United States as the candidate of change, pledging to fundamentally transform domestic policy in many areas of national life—health care, environmental regulation, immigration law, labor policy, the financing of higher education, and taxes and revenue collection. As the Wall Street crisis escalated in the months before the 2008 election, financial system reform became one more item on Obama’s already extensive list of challenges. Obama’s election coincided with increased Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, and many viewed the advent of his administration as a once-in-a-generation chance to significantly reorient U.S. public policy and reverse decades-long regulatory and tax trends that redistributed wealth and opportunity upward and widened the chasm between rich and poor.
Two years later, the record is mixed, and accompanied by political turnarounds. The Obama administration proposed redirections of federal activities in many key areas, and landmark legislation was passed that may fulfill some of the promise of Obama’s change-oriented presidency. Yet the key achievements remain invisible to many Americans, including pundits engaged in assessing the first two years of this presidency. And in a number of areas, changes have been limited by partisan polarization and obstructionist tactics in Congress, even as a fragmented and increasingly politicized media has blared extreme and conflicting messages about politics. Amidst the clamor, citizens have become increasingly disillusioned with Washington DC, as they face a sluggish recovery from a deep recession marked by persistently high unemployment and slow-private-sector job growth. Although polls tell us that Republicans have even less credibility than Obama and the Democrats, the GOP is poised to make major gains in the midterm 2010 elections. The American public, once flush with excitement over the possibility of a new character and tone for politics and governance, now doubts that government can be used for positive purposes to widen opportunity and overcome economic threats – and gridlocked politics in coming months may confirm their worst fears.
The project provides a detailed and sweeping set of assessments of the accomplishments, limits, and political dramas of the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency during the 111th Congress. With support from the Foundation, political scientists Theda Skocpol (Harvard University) and Lawrence Jacobs (University of Minnesota) formed a working group on President Obama’s Agenda and the Dynamics of U.S. Politics. The effort started more than a year ago, and has involved nine leading scholars tracking the course and fate of Obama’s efforts to reorient domestic policy during 2009 and 2010. Working group members traced developments in eight specific policy areas: health reform, financial regulation, energy and climate change, tax policy, higher education funding, primary and secondary school reform, immigration policy, and labor law reform. They also shared insights to develop an overall perspective on Obama’s approach to domestic reforms amidst a deep economic downturn. Employing a variety of data sources, including public documents, speeches, media coverage, public opinion polls, campaign contribution records, and interviews with key actors, the scholars in this project identify what the Obama administration and its allies tried to do and when; trace successes, setbacks, redirections and failures. Each author explains what happened, probes the foreseen and unforeseen political consequences, and situates the efforts and achievements of the early Obama presidency in the context of previous federal policies. The papers tell us much about the workings and pathologies of U.S. politics today, and highlight the institutional and political constraints that channel and limit changes – especially changes intended to mitigate social and economic inequalities in the United States.

Pundits and politicians alike have compared Barack Obama’s ambitious policy initiatives to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which sought to alleviate the economic devastation of the Great Depression. One of the unique features of this extraordinary and timely set of readable analyses, collected in the volume Reaching for a New Deal, is that it analyzes immediate developments by using comparisons to a variety of historical episodes including the New Deal, the Great Society, and the Reagan era. These comparisons cast into sharp relief the ways in presidential calls for policy change are buffeted by different types of economic crises, changing public moods, shifts in civic engagement and interest group activity, and the impact of media norms and operations on public debate.

The volume is organized into three major sections. The first section considers areas where the Obama administration managed majored legislative breakthroughs. The second section looks at realms where action occurred primarily through administrative means under Cabinet direction. And the third section probes the deadlocks and political conflicts that have so far blocked decisive action on that analyze to address inescapable challenges in immigration, energy and climate change, and tax reform.
These first-rate studies take account of developments through the winter of 2010. The Foundation has published a book entitled Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama’s First Two Years, in 2011.
CONTENTS (PDF)

INTRODUCTION
Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama’s First Two Years
After 2008 brought a decisive victory for Barack Obama and enhanced Democratic margins in the House and Senate, many observers felt the door was open for a second New Deal, especially because candidate Obama had highlighted growing inequalities in the United States and promised to redirect federal benefits, taxes, and regulations to enhance opportunity and security for the middle class. The usual institutional obstacles to rapid policy change slowed progress on presidential priorities; and Democratic majorities were always certain to wane by 2010. Extraordinary circumstances also proved daunting. Unlike FDR in the 1930s, Obama took office just as a financial and economic crisis was starting. He joined with the previous Republican administration to bolster Wall Street and the banks, but did not or could not forestall rising and persistent unemployment. Republicans decided on a strategy of all-out opposition to the President’s initiatives, hoping to benefit from economic sluggishness and public disillusionment in the 2010 midterm elections. Partisan polarization is at an all-time high; Senate filibuster practices are now routinely invoked to stall all sorts of decisions; and today’s media structures and practices magnify oppositional voices and make it hard for the President to get any consistent message across to most citizens.
Despite all of these obstacles, President Obama and his allies have achieved major legislative breakthroughs in health reform, higher education reform, and financial regulation. In addition, Administration officials have used regulatory powers to promote labor and school reforms. But major national dilemmas about immigration, energy and environment, and taxes remain unresolved, as attempts at compromise legislation have stalled in Congress and partisan posturing runs to extremes. The future for Obama’s presidency, whether or not he wins a second term, will be even more daunting than the first two years, as Republicans gain ground in Congress and the public becomes increasingly frustrated with the inability of the federal government to promote job growth and tackle national challenges. Obama has made a start on the second New Deal he promised and his administration is determinedly implementing reform legislation. But it remains to be seen whether new steps will be rolled back or undercut, and whether further efforts to use federal powers on behalf of broader opportunity and security for most Americans can make headway in a stormy political environment, in which anti-government conservatives and interests determined to preserve privileges will have greater leverage.
LEGISLATIVE LANDMARKS

Hard-Fought Legacy: Obama, Congressional Democrats, and the Struggle for Comprehensive Health Reform
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law a landmark in U.S. social provision, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. For many decades, reformers and previous presidents had sought reforms to expand health insurance coverage while also controlling rapidly rising health care costs. All had failed, until Obama and Democrats in Congress brought a fifteen-month process to successful legislative conclusion, enacting Affordable Care with bare majorities of only Democratic votes. Early in 2009, Obama chose the risky course of making comprehensive health reform a top priority, despite the fact that he took office during a major economic crisis. His White House set broad themes for reform and stressed long-term cost controls, and then let Congressional committees work out compromises with major health industry stakeholders. Republican ideas were solicited and incorporated into major bills. But when Republican Congressional leaders turned to all-out opposition, legislation could advance only through intricate compromises between liberal and moderate to conservative Congressional Democrats. Final legislation almost failed when Senate Democrats lost a seat and could no longer break a filibuster.
But in the end, the election of Republican Scott Brown not only failed to stop reform, but opened the door to a more egalitarian version of health reform passed by majoritarian procedures. Affordable Care is now on the books, yet must be implemented at the national and state level in an intricate process stretching over the next five to ten years. Opponents are calling for repeal — or, failing that, for major changes in spending, regulations, and taxes. Looking forward, and taking for granted a less propitious political environment in Congress, President Obama’s signature health reform seems likely to survive as a legislated framework, but it may experience modifications that will, in the end, make the law less effective at regulating business and health care practices that lead to inexorably higher costs, and less beneficial to lower and middle-income Americans.

Eliminating the Market Middle-Man: Redirecting and Expanding Support for College Students
Suzanne Mettler (Cornell University) evaluates the administration’s initial efforts to broaden access to college. She explains how Obama was able to recalibrate a student-loan system that favored private lenders—by establishing government-issued loans and generous tax tuition credits – yet at the same time lost traction on other initiatives, such as creating guaranteed Pell Grant funding.

The Contest of Lobbies and Disciplines: Finance Politics and Regulatory Reform in the Obama Administration
In July 2010, President Obama signed into law the most far-reaching legislative regulation of the American financial sector since the New Deal. This essay examines the legislative success or failure of the Obama Administration’s various proposals for financial reform, focusing upon five themes: (1) leverage restrictions and capital requirements, (2) restrictions on proprietary trading, (3) regulation of derivatives and swaps, (4) regulation of credit ratings agencies and (5) a consumer financial protection agency. I conclude that substantive and transformative statutory reform was accomplished in most of these areas, though critical proposals were watered down through lobbying, often in ways that eluded the public eye. The legislation leaves numerous decisions and operations for agency regulators to implement; this reflects both a penchant for delegation in the legislation, as well as the centrality of existing agencies as lobbying and framing agents in the politics of financial reform. Post-signing battles over appointments to the consumer protection agency and ongoing adjustments by banks to divorce their proprietary trading operations from their core services may intimate something about the legislation’s likely accomplishments. In perhaps the most subtle but substantial change accomplished in the past two years, reform politics pried open the previously restricted and privileged network of voices, perspectives and officials that participate in the making of American financial policy.

CHANGE THROUGH REGULATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION

The Unsurprising Failure of Labor Law Reform and the Turn to Administrative Action
This chapter analyzes the most recent attempt at labor law reform during the first two years of the Obama Administration. To account for failure, I argue that several long-term institutional and political obstacles present throughout 20th century American politics including the geographical concentration of labor, the conservative coalition in Congress, combined with antimajoritarian features of the American state, continued to be insurmountable for the labor movement. More short-term factors such as the Obama Administration’s policy sequencing, the role of interest groups, especially the Chamber of Commerce’s intense opposition, organized labor’s strategic choices, and declining public opinion of unions also help explain labor law reform failure in 2009-2010. However, in lieu of the unsurprising failure of labor law reform, President Obama has advanced some labor policy reforms through administrative politics—appointments and rulemaking—with the potential to strengthen unions politically.
Surprising Momentum: Spurring Education Reforms in States and Localities
Lorraine McDonnell (University of California, Santa Barbara) describes the Obama Administration’s K-12 agenda, and places it in the larger context of prior federal and state education policy, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (EASA). McDonnell traces the ideas and politics responsible for Obama’s agenda, and shows how stimulus funding—which requires state laws to fall in line with federal priorities—has sped up state-level educational reforms and provided the administration with unprecedented leverage for encouraging shared practices across the states. McDonnell also identifies the future challenges facing education reform.
FAILED BARGAINS AND INTENSIFYING CONFLICT

Obama’s Immigration Reform: A Tough Sell for a Grand Bargain
Immigration reform in the United States typically takes the same form as 1986′s Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). That is, it creates a “grand bargain” that marries a legalization of millions of illegal immigrants with increased efforts at border control. IRCA failed miserably, and the number of illegal immigrants in the country at that time has grown to nearly 11 million. President Barack Obama, like George W. Bush before him, has sought a similar grand bargain to reform that would offer a plan to legalize the undocumented and increase border enforcement. Obama has not yet delivered for several reasons. The main reason is the negative meanings attached to grand-bargain reform arising from IRCA’s failure that taught opponents to not make more grand bargains, as well as the common view of illegal immigrants as undeserving of aid. There are several other obstacles to reform, including the great number of veto points for opponents to stop a bill, the Republican strategy of total opposition, the Great Recession, and the new front created by states such as Arizona creating their own immigration measures. Chances for reform appear slim but are most likely to increase if reformers move to incremental reform focusing on legalization for undocumented children and/or agricultural workers; if reformers gain more strength from a big push by evangelical groups or big businesses; or the GOP changes its strategy and seeks to back reform to appeal to the growing number of Latino voters. In that case, Obama could win reform even if Republicans take control of a least part of Congress. This would allow both parties to take some credit for immigration reform.

Cold Front: How the Recession Stalled Obama’s Clean-Energy Agenda
Judith Layzer (MIT) analyzes Obama’s attempts to address the looming problem of climate change by promoting a transition to a clean-energy economy. Layzer examines how efforts to pass climate change legislation were undercut by regional economic concerns and exacerbated by the economic recession. Layzer shows how the White House has used administrative tools to circumvent congressional deadlock and further some of the President’s goals in transforming national energy production.

Paying America’s Way: The Fraught Politics of Taxes, Investments, and Budgetary Responsibility
Andrea Louise Campbell (MIT) tracks the fate of Obama’s campaign pledge to return to a more progressive tax code by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for households in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, while increasing taxes on capital gains and dividends. Campbell lays bare the sources of Obama’s failure and anticipates coming debates over the budget deficits and federal tax policy.

Together, these timely and sharply drawn studies provide a vivid overview of the Obama administration’s agenda – and its successes, set-backs, and political reverberations. At a time when journalists, citizens, and analysts are all attempting to understand what is happening in a pivotal and tumultuous period in American politics, Reaching for a New Deal offers telling facts and bracing analysis. These studies deliver close-up examinations of the country’s policy challenges, accompanied by a big-picture understanding of what the first two years of the Obama presidency reveals about possibilities for—and limits on—change in U.S. public policy.

Read the Article »

Antje Ellermann — State against Migrants: The Politics of Deportation in Germany and the United States

State against Migrants: The Politics of Deportation in Germany and the United States
 


Seminar to be held in ERC 115 at 2:00 pm.

In her talk, which is based on her recent book States Against Migrants, a comparative study of the contemporary politics of deportation in Germany and the United States, Antje Ellermann examines the capacity of the liberal state to make and implement deportation policy.  By tracing the politics of deportation across the entire policy cycle—starting with political agenda-setting and ending with street-level implementation— Ellermann is able to show that the deportation capacity of the state systematically varies across policy stages.  While the capacity to pass deportation law is contingent upon strong institutional linkages between the public and legislators—allowing for the representation of diffuse interests—the capacity for implementation depends upon the political insulation of bureaucrats.  In addition to uncovering variation across policy stages, Ellermann also finds that deportation capacity varies across countries, reflecting differences in political institutions.

Antje Ellermann is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.  She teaches and writes on the politics of international migration in advanced democracies, the study of the state and state capacity, and comparative public policy and its implementation. She is the author of States Against Migrants: Deportation in Germany and the United States (Cambridge, 2009). Her research on issues of immigration control, state coercion, and migrant resistance has also been published in Comparative Political Science, Politics & Society, West European Politics, and Government and Opposition. She has been the recipient of research grants by the Social Science Research Council in the United States, and, in Canada, by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

CCIS Briefs Congressional Staffers

On October 4th, four members of the CCIS team – led by David FitzGerald, Sam Bazzi, Angela Garcia, and Jonathan Hicken – joined the Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC to privately brief congressional staffers in the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Room on the results of their latest research on the effects of border and interior enforcement on unauthorized Mexican migration to the United States.

A jumbled view of illegal immigrants (Los Angeles Times)

The Meg Whitman dustup is a metaphor for Californians’ conflicting views on the issue.

BY CATHLEEN DECKER   OCTOBER 2, 2010

With the tears of a housekeeper who claimed she was wronged by a candidate for governor, the issue of illegal immigration came roaring back into California’s political landscape this week, like a blast of uncomfortable deja vu.

After two news conferences by Republican Meg Whitman and two by her former housekeeper’s attorney, Gloria Allred, voters were left to sort through questions, some of which may be aired in a debate Saturday between the gubernatorial candidates:

Did Whitman do the right thing, or not, when she fired her housekeeper after being told the woman was an undocumented worker? Did she do the wrong thing, or not, by declining to alert immigration authorities? Legalities aside, did she have some sort of moral responsibility to help out a woman whom Whitman herself described as a member of her extended family, or was it appropriate to banish the woman with no further contact after firing her?

The answers may affect Whitman’s campaign for governor, but more broadly the whole emotional, televised, confusing mess was a perfect metaphor for the jumbled and contradictory views that Californians hold on illegal immigration.

The nation has been here before. Several of President Clinton’s early Cabinet choices were derailed because they had either employed illegal immigrants or neglected to pay taxes on them, or both.

California too has revisited similar situations time and again. In 1994, the state fought its way through a debate over Proposition 187, the measure that would have denied most taxpayer-financed government services, including schools, to illegal immigrants. That year, a Senate race between incumbent Dianne Feinstein and Republican challenger Mike Huffington exploded when he was found to have knowingly employed an undocumented nanny. The matter went nuclear because Huffington had argued that he would be tougher than Feinstein on illegal immigrants.

A year later, while preparing to run for president, then-Gov. Pete Wilson was stung by reports that he too had once employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. Wilson, now the campaign chairman for Whitman, had been the chief proponent of Proposition 187. (His presidential campaign whimpered to an early end, for a host of reasons).

Part of the propellant for the 1990s fixation on illegal immigration was economic. The state was reeling from a recession and the shrinking number of military and aerospace jobs and facing a massive budget deficit. Conditions are arguably worse now, but the anger has been focused less on illegal immigrants than on politicians.

California has generally been moving toward greater acceptance of immigrants, even illegal ones. In 1982, the Field Poll found that only 19% of voters thought illegal immigrants had a favorable effect on the state. By this July, 34% felt that way. The proportion of voters who felt illegal immigrants had a negative impact had dropped from 75% to 56%. In 1982, 52% of voters felt illegal immigrants were taking jobs away from legal Californians; by this July, only 34% felt that way.

Some of the movement has come from the demographics of California, which is growing less white by the year. Part of it is sociological: People tend to become more understanding of illegal immigrants when they live with or near them. (The exception: A sudden influx of illegal immigrants or public focus on them tends to increase disapproval, which in part explains Arizona’s recent adoption of strict anti-immigrant measures).

“People who live in more diverse regions tend to be more positive” about illegal immigrants, said Hans Johnson, a demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California. Although he said he did not want to “paint a Pollyanna picture of California … Arizona is now at the forefront of those types of legislation and California is not. Maybe what’s happened is in California, people feel we passed out of those things with some changes in perception and attitudes.”

The shift has been reflected in the race for governor. Both Jerry Brown, the Democratic nominee, and GOP nominee Whitman have, from opposite political poles, genuflected deeply toward the moderate middle. When asked in Tuesday’s debate if he favored a pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants, Brown said yes, with a caveat.

“At the end of the day, we have a couple million people in the shadows and there has to be some process,” Brown said. Yet he added that, as attorney general, he forwarded the fingerprints of those arrested in California to immigration officials for deportation. “If we’re going to work on illegal immigration, let’s start with those who break the law.”

Whitman declined to support a legalization process but still emphasized she was not a 1990s Republican.

“I have been, by the way, I think balanced and very fair about this,” she said. “I have said from the beginning that I was not for Prop. 187. I just didn’t think it was the right thing to take a K-12 primary education away from children, and I also said I didn’t think the Arizona law was right for California.”

Mike Madrid, a GOP strategist who specializes in Latino matters, marveled at the change in rhetoric.

“You certainly wouldn’t have seen a Republican candidate 10 years ago saying that,” he said, noting that Whitman defeated a primary challenger who ran as tougher on illegal immigration. “It would have been more fire and brimstone.”

With the environment changed, the question remains: Will the focus on the housekeeper damage Whitman’s campaign? Many strategists suggested that the facts of the case are blurry enough, and Whitman’s positions moderate enough, that she will avoid the hypocrisy charges that flew at Huffington and Wilson.

The biggest danger, many said, was that voters might accept that she was duped by her housekeeper but also object to how Whitman treated the woman. That too would be completely in line with a populace that can love the illegal immigrant but disdain illegal immigration.

As with many issues, voters want it both ways on immigration, said John Skrentny, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego. Many want a small government but expansive government programs, he noted, or lower taxes but excellent schools.

“A lot of us have contradictory views on different things,” he said.

Read the Article »

2010 Guardian Study Guide (UCSD’s The Guardian)

BY NEDA SALAMAT  FOCUS EDITOR  
SEPTEMBER 28, 2010

BEST SOCIAL SCIENCES PROFESSOR – John Skrentney

One of the worst things ever invented — clocking in just after Furbies, but before fist-pumping bros — are three-hour classes. After sitting through five grueling courses, I know firsthand how tedious they can be. It takes a special kind of charm to make these gabfests into something students bother attending, but for sociology professor John Skrentny, it’s just another day at the office.

The cards seem to be stacked against him: a three-hour class that runs into the evening, lectures on the sociological nuances of law and a massive room that makes sleeping both inconspicuous and ideal. Instead, the man turned water into wine — he gestured, he chuckled, he paced, he joked. Skrentny’s teaching style is based on the Pied Piper, leading his students to their ideological destination before they even realize they’re following. Skrentny spends class time telling funny stories about his childhood, asking for students’ opinions on current sociological matters and discussing the facets of law. The man has turned teaching into a performance art.

Plenty of people will tell you his classes are easy and — true enough — it is possible to scrape by with minimal studying, which is a testament to his ability to make a complex concept seem simple. Soon, you’ll forget you’ve been watching the Piper play for the past few hours, paralyzed by his teaching finesse and ready to follow his analysis.

Read full Article »