Karthick Ramakrishnan – Going Local: The New Politics of Immigration in the United States

Immigration policy in the United States has largely been the purview of the federal government, with rules establishing who is eligible to enter the United States, the terms of such entry, and the conditions under which immigrants may become citizens. In the past decade, low-skilled migrant labor in the United States has reached new destinations, ranging from rural Kansas and North Carolina to suburbs in Long Island and Georgia. These settlement patterns have brought new attention to issues such as day labor, unlicensed businesses, overcrowded housing, and illegal immigration. They have also raised concerns over issues of representation and political assimilation among communities characterized by low rates of citizenship and low levels of English proficiency. Finally, with immigration reform unresolved at the federal level, states and local governments have taken the initiative in passing their own legislation that would explicitly make the livelihood of immigration more difficult or less so.

Despite their pressing importance, these issues of immigrant political assimilation and local government responses have yet to be systematically examined, and especially so in smaller cities and in newer immigrant destinations. This book examines variation in state and local government policies and practices related to low-skill immigrant labor in the United States. It begins by exploring the evolution of immigration policy since 1965, with provisions in 1994 and 1996 as especially important in setting the stage for state and local government involvement in immigration policies. The book then uses a combination of large-scale statistical analysis and qualitative methods to explore: 1) how state and local governments have varied in their involvement in policies that explicitly target immigrants, 2) how these policies have been covered in the news, and 3) how the general public, and immigrants in particular, view these developments.


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Karthick Ramakrishnan is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. Ramakrishnan is one of the principal investigators for the 2008 National Asian American Survey, the first of its kind conducted at the national level.

Ramakrishnan received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, and has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Public Policy Institute of California. He has received several grants from sources such as the James Irvine Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation, and has provided consultation to public officials at the federal and local levels.

Ramakrishnan’s articles have appeared in International Migration Review, Urban Affairs Review, Social Science Quarterly, and The DuBois Review. He is also the author of Democracy in Immigrant America (Stanford University Press, 2005), and is an editor of two volumes on immigrant politics and civic engagement: Transforming Politics, Transforming America (University of Virginia Press, 2006) and Civic Roots and Political Realities: Immigrants, Community Organizations, and Political Engagement (Russell Sage Foundation, 2008).

UC San Diego Announces New Center for Migration and Health

doctorThe University of California, San Diego will lead a new Center of Expertise on Migration and Health as one of three multi-campus initiatives launched by the University of California system under the auspices of the new UC Global Health Institute.

The new center is headed by Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and chief of the UCSD’s Division of Global Public Health, and Marc Schenker, MD, MPH, public health sciences professor at UC Davis, with partner campuses Berkeley, Irvine, UCLA, Merced, Riverside, UCSD, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.  Co-directors are Wayne Cornelius, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UCSD and Xochitl Castaneda from UC Berkeley.

Migration is a global phenomenon involving hundreds of millions of people, with major social and economic impacts on both countries of origin and destinations. In the U.S., California is by far the most affected by these population movements. The new Center of Expertise on Migration and Health will be the first multidisciplinary, university-based program in the world devoted to systematically studying the health consequences of international population movements and developing more effective strategies to address them.

“Such a program will serve the needs of migrants and refugees in California and around the world, by harnessing the wealth of knowledge and experience of migration and health researchers from various disciplines across all the UC campuses,” said Strathdee, who will lead the Southern hub of the Center.   Strathdee was the recent recipient of a grant for $100,000 over two years from The Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support development of the new Center.

The research agenda at the Center of Expertise on Migration and Health will focus on four key areas: behavioral and socio-economic determinants of health, health outcomes in migrants’ communities of origin and destination, child health, and health care delivery and policy.  Forty scholars at nine UC campuses have agreed to serve as the Center’s initial core faculty.

After more than two years of system-wide planning, the UC Global Health Institute will be officially launched on November 9 with a conference hosted by UCSF Global Health Sciences and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  A report titled “The Importance of the Global Health Sector in California: An Evaluation of the Economic Impact,” conducted at UC Riverside, will also be released at that time.

Global health represents a $75 billion impact on the California economy, according to the report, an impact that includes an estimated $59.8 billion in revenue generated each year by California companies addressing global health needs, and an additional $8 billion in tax revenue – roughly seven percent of total state taxes.

Among the top five priorities of the NIH, global health is also an increasingly popular focus for students in the UC system.  The UCSD Center will also help develop a system-wide master’s degree in Global Health, according to Cornelius.

“Training the next generation of health care researchers and practitioners to understand and deal more effectively with California’s immigrant and refugee communities is a vital necessity,” said Cornelius, who is Director Emeritus of UCSD’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. “Bringing social scientists and public health specialists together to provide this training is the best way to do it.”

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More information about the Center of Expertise on Migration and Health »

Alex Balch – Managing labour migration in Europe: Ideas, knowledge and policy change

Listen below to the Research Seminar given by Alex Balch on November 3, 2009.  We also encourage you to subscribe to our podcast to automatically receive audio of all CCIS research seminars.

Alex Balch – Managing Labour Migration in Europe:  Ideas, Knowledge, and Policy Change

 
Labour migration policies in European countries have exhibited intensive change in the early part of the 21st century while the subject continues to be a hot political topic with global resonance. Dr Balch focuses on this new era of labour migration management in Europe and presents research into the key ideas which have changed the way that policymakers look at the issue. The paper presents empirical evidence from two case studies – the UK and Spain (two of the major labour importers within the EU), and charts why, when and how paradigm shifts occur.

Understanding the so-called ‘war of ideas’ in the political arena and accounting for policy change are among the key challenges for political science. The approach taken here is to take a step back and place labour migration policy in a theoretical conception of the policymaking process and policy change. In this way, rather than denouncing policymakers as irrational, incompetent (or even racist) the research attempts to show what kinds of ideas and knowledge actually shape and frame policy in the new era of migration management in Europe.


headshot-alex-balch-bwAlex Balch is a guest scholar, CCIS and an Economic and Social Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield (UK). His work is on analyzing the impacts of ideas and knowledge on labour migration policies. It addresses the observation that we often know very little about the flow of ideas and knowledge in the policy process, and what actually drives politicians and policymakers to make decisions about immigration. He is also currently developing projects examining organizational implementation and delivery chains in border control policies, and media framing of policy debates. Part of the fellowship includes funding for an overseas institutional visit at CCIS which will allow Dr. Balch to develop his research by adding extra depth in terms of a comparative perspective on the European context through reference to the U.S.

CCIS Staff and Alums Present at Office of Migrant Education Conference

OME conference logo_finalCCIS staff members David Keyes and Jonathan Hicken along with Mexican Migration Field Research Program (MMFRP) alums Normita Rodriguez, Grecia Lima, and Travis Silva presented on October 28th at the United States Department of Education Office of Migrant Education’s annual conference.

Keyes, Hicken, Rodriguez, and Lima presented a panel discussion titled “Gaining Trust: Working With Migrant Populations. Lessons from the Mexican Migration Field Research Program.” The discussion offered strategies to gain trust when working with populations learned in many years of MMFRP research. Silva’s talk, “An Overview of Recent Findings from the Mexican Migration Field Research Project,” presented education-related research from the past two years of MMFRP.

FitzGerald speaks at the International Institute, University of Michigan

On October 27, CCIS Associate Director David FitzGerald will speak at the International Institute which is located at the University of Michigan.  His Lecture is titled “Citizenship à la Carte: Emigration and the Sovereign State”.  What follows is the blurb featured on the International Institute’s website:

[Professor FitzGerald] is coming to the University of Michigan to discuss, “Citizenship à la Carte: Emigration and the Sovereign State” – People, goods, and ideas are on the move across international borders. Many scholars surveying the speed and volume of these movements have argued that a new era of globalization is eroding the sovereignty of the nation-state. Scholars of transnationalism in particular argue that countries of emigration have become “deterritorialized” as the members of the nation spread beyond the territorial borders of the state. This paper argues that far from undermining the sovereignty of nation-states, efforts by governments of migrant source countries to institutionally embrace their citizens and co-ethnics abroad highlight the robustness of the nation-state system based on the Westphalian principle of territorial sovereignty. Indeed, Westphalian sovereignty at the turn of the twenty-first century is strengthening in ways that causes source country governments to renegotiate the terms of the social contract between emigrants and the sending 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.

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Citizenship à la Carte: Emigration and the Sovereign State – Professor David FitzGerald

Skrentny featured at the Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University

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“After Civil Rights: Race, Immigration and Law in the American Workplace” is the title of Director John Skrentny‘s seminar at the Program in Law and Public Affairs, located at Princeton University.  Read more about Prof. Skrentny’s talk:

“Can civil rights law provide equal job opportunity to people of all races and ethnicities, as well as prevent exploitation, in 21st century America?  In 1964, Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to eliminate widespread racial discrimination, segregation and hierarchy in the workplace.  Almost half a century later, and after decades of mass immigration, these are all still widespread and arguably more complex and entrenched than before.  In this paper,adapted from a book chapter in progress, I document employers’ racial and ethnic stereotypes that lead employers to prefer Latino and Asian workers while discriminating against Black and White workers.  With a special focus on the meat-packing industry, which increasingly resembles that described by Upton Sinclair a century ago in The Jungle, I also show the ways these Latino workers are in turn segregated and exploited.  Finally, I explore the failure of discrimination law to provide relief, and probe alternatives to protect workers of all backgrounds.  Civil rights law– as currently interpreted in the courts–does surprisingly little to prevent racial and ethnic hierarchy in the nation’s workplaces.”