CCIS Associate Director David FitzGerald was consulted for a recent Slate Explainer column about Mexican immigration laws.
” … Just as in 2006, some Democrats are clamoring for immigration reforms, including easing pathways to citizenship, while Republicans are insisting that more security on the border must come first. Policy experts, meanwhile, say the outcome for immigration changes this year will likely be the same as back then: nothing. “I don’t see productive discussions on immigration this year,” said John Skrentny, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. … ”
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.
Citizenship a la Carte: Emigration and the Mexican State
Monday, 4/26, 7 PM
3rd Floor Barnard Hall
Against the claims of many scholars of globalization and transnationalism, Fitzgerald argues that the Westphalian principle of territorial sovereignty is strengthening in ways that has encouraged the Mexican government to renegotiate the terms of the social contract between emigrants and the Mexican state. This new social contract emphasizes voluntaristic ties, a menu of options for expressing membership, an emphasis on rights over obligations, and the legitimacy of plural legal and affective national affiliations.
David Scott FitzGerald is Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author, most recently, of A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration (University of California Press, 2009). His major current project examines relationships between liberalism and racism in the immigration and nationality laws of 22 countries in the Americas from 1850 to 2000.
Reviewer Ana María Aragonés writes that the book “provides a thoughtful overview of some determinants of migration. … Its main contribution is to raise doubts about some hypotheses presented by other studies, posing a new set of considerations to the discussion, which in turn makes it a very up-to-date presentation of current research on migration.” She concludes that the book “is written with rigorous clarity and each article is thematically connected to the book’s effort to provide an in-depth assessment of the complex migration of Tlacuitapeños. Understanding the causes and the consequences of migration is imperative not only for the Latin American community of scholars and the general public, but also for all those who live in the United States and in Mexico.”
” … A research team led by Wayne Cornelius, Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego, has found that while unauthorized migrants from Mexico may be caught on their first attempt at crossing the border, they have an almost 100 percent chance of eventual success—particularly if they enlist the services of a coyote, or people smuggler. Moreover, as border enforcement is tightened between ports of entry along the southwest border, more migrants are being smuggled through ports of entry (sealed in a compartment within a vehicle, or as a passenger with false or borrowed documents).
Research by Cornelius and his team have also found that undocumented migration from Mexico has diminished mainly because there are fewer jobs available in the United States. …”
UCSD professor emeritus Wayne Cornelius recently presented his survey results, facts and views regarding illegal immigration in the United States at a colloquium for the UCSD Chancellor’s Associates.
He observed that enforcement of existing immigration laws is extremely difficult, if not impossible, due to the conflicting interests of employers. That being the case, the resolution of the problem has to start with congressional action.
Cornelius’ topic for the associates event was “Toward a Smarter and More Just U.S. Immigration Policy: What Mexican Migrants Can Tell Us.”
CCIS director will speak at the Watson Institute at Brown University on April 23. His lecture, part of the Brown Legal Studies Seminar series, is titled “After Civil Rights: Law and Race in the New American Workplace.” For more information, visit the Watson Institute website or view the flyer from the event.
CCIS Director Emeritus Wayne Cornelius told the Arizona Daily Star:
Calls for the military, which date to the Mexican Revolution, have become politically motivated, knee-jerk overreactions to incidents, said Wayne Cornelius, director emeritus of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at University of California-San Diego. It would be best to leave border work to the Border Patrol, he said.
“They are the trained professionals in immigration law enforcement, including tracking and apprehending people-smugglers,” Cornelius wrote in an e-mail. “We should leave it to the professionals.”
Former CCIS guest scholar Adam Sawyer has published an article titled In Mexico, Mother’s Education and Remittances Matter in School Outcomes for the Migration Policy Institute. In the article, Sawyer uses data collected as part of the Mexican Migration Field Research Program in 2007-2008.