‘After Civil Rights’ explores ‘racial realism’ in the workplace (Florida Courier)

CCIS co-director John Skrentny’s book “After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace” is discussed in the Florida Courier.


BY DR. GLENN C. ALTSCHULER
SPECIAL TO THE COURIER

Over two decades ago, Harvard Law Professor Martha Minow described “the dilemma of difference.” When does treating people differently “stigmatize or hinder them on that basis,” she asked. “And when does treating people the same become insensitive to their difference and likely to stigmatize or hinder them on that basis?”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided one answer to these questions.  An affirmation of classical liberalism, Title VII declared any action based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin that adversely affects the terms and conditions of employment to be unlawful.  Nor does Title VII permit racially motivated decisions driven by business concerns, including the preferences of clients or customers.

Less prominent in law, affirmative action infused race with significance in employment.  Politically charged and controversial, it is tolerated, if at all, as a temporary fix that does not replace color-blind policies – and is confined to situations where imbalances in the composition of the workforce can be authoritatively attributed to past discriminatory practices.

Making assumptions
Both approaches, John Skrentny, a professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego, points out, are out of sync with actual workplace practices.  In “After Civil Rights,’’ Skrentny demonstrates that in many, many fields, ranging from media to marketing, meatpacking and medicine, employers use perceived or actual racial abilities in recruitment, hiring, and on the job assignments.

“Racial realism,” Skrentny argues, can open doors of opportunity; it can also “freeze in place” racial – and racist – assumptions.  Too widespread to be rolled back, he emphasizes, race-conscious employment dynamics should not “run unchecked as it does today.”

Employment practices
“After Civil Rights’’ makes a compelling case for the pervasiveness of race-conscious employment practices.  Presidents take race into account when making appointments.  Patients express greater satisfaction with the quality of their health care when they are treated by physicians who share their racial or ethnic background.

News organizations hire African-American anchors to attract Black viewers – and assign Latino journalists to cover the Latino community (“the taco beat”).  Retailers admit to race matching sales personnel to their client base.  And many low-skilled jobs go to immigrants because employers deem them more likely to work hard, without complaints and for lower wages, than African-Americans or Whites.

It is by no means clear, however, that “racial realism” in employment produces positive results.  While police officers of different races vary in their knowledge of neighborhoods, Skrentny notes, studies have found little evidence of different behavior.  And a nationwide study showed that the race of teachers did not have an impact on how much students learned.

Mended, not ended
Nonetheless, the advantages of policies based on market realities and employer discretion are obvious.

After all, some would argue, the Harlem Globetrotters and the producers of “Othello’’ should confine their searches to Blacks. And yet, as Skrentny observes, legitimizing race-based BFOQ (“bona fide occupational qualifications”) exceptions to anti-discrimination laws would not only be difficult to draft and expensive, but could be used to defend the preferences of racist customers.

What, then, should be done?  Skrentny suggests that “racial realism” be mended, not ended.  To start the conversation, he advocates multi-cultural training programs in areas where employers believe race is a qualification; interpreting laws to give “breathing room” to initiatives designed to benefit members of minority groups; requiring validation of practices predicated on “racial abilities” and “racial signaling;” and more responsible corporate behavior in locating firms, setting wages, employing immigrants, guaranteeing workplace safety, and taking responsibility for displaced workers.

“After Civil Rights’’ leaves no doubt that current workplace realities – and practices – have diverged from statutes and constitutional interpretations of them.  The “strategic management of racial differences” may or may not always be necessary “to achieve a wide variety of goals in a wide array of contexts.”

But, as Skrentny urges, for now, and for the foreseeable future, we must do a better job of aligning workplace practices “with our values and our laws.”

Dr. Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He wrote this review for the Florida Courier.

Full Article >>

Will 2014 Be the Year of Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

Despite hopes that 2013 would be the year of comprehensive immigration reform, legislation stalled in the House and the year ended without a bill. When the House reconvened on Tuesday, 427 days had passed since the November 2012 elections and 194 days had passed since S.744, the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship, passed by a vote of 68 to 32. As immigration remains one of President Obama’s top second-term priorities, many are wondering whether comprehensive immigration reform will happen in 2014?

One way to think about whether 2014 will be the year of comprehensive immigration reform is the question of whether S.744 will ever make it to the floor of the House? After the passage of S.744 in the Senate, reform advocates stepped up their pressure on a number of key Republican Representatives. Comprehensive immigration reform was always going to be an uphill climb and, from the very outset, it was clear that the House was the sticking point. Last Spring, I created statistical models to forecast legislative support and opposition to a comprehensive immigration reform bill that included a path to citizenship. Three months prior to the Senate vote on S.744, my analyses suggested that 67 Senators would vote “yea.” I was off by 1 vote. My analyses for the House, on the other hand, suggested that only 203 Representatives would vote “yea,” which is 15 votes shy of a majority in the 435-member chamber. Showing Republican support for comprehensive immigration reform has thus been one of the strategies advocates have used to convince leadership in the GOP-controlled House to bring S.744 up for a vote. By some counts, as many as 29 Republican Representatives now support a path to citizenship.

But while the votes may very well be there, the political will to bring S.744 up for a vote in the House has not been. Speaker of the House John Boehner has been steadfast in his position that immigration reform legislation should be taken up in a step-by-step manner. Moreover, throughout all of 2013, Boehner continued to adhere to the so-called Hastert rule on the issue of immigration reform legislation – in short, nothing was going to be debated unless it had majority support among House Republicans. Recent events, however, have provided cause for optimism that this political dynamic may be changing. While the preference among Republicans to take a piecemeal approach remains, Boehner’s recent stand against the Tea Party faction within the GOP during the budget debate creates an opening, albeit a small one, for S.744 to survive in the House. The last major legalization of undocumented immigrants in 1986 provides an instructive example.

The history of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which led to the legalization of nearly 3 million undocumented immigrants, provides a potential blueprint for S.744. Like S.744, IRCA was first introduced and passed in the Senate (it passed by a vote of 69 to 30). The Senate voted on passage of IRCA on September 19, 1985. It was not until October 9, 1986, or 1 year and 20 days later, that the House voted on the bill. The House used what is referred to as a voice vote – do the “yeas” sound louder than the “nays”? This method provides legislators with a sort of cover for how they voted, as no formal roll call is taken. Boehner has stated that the House would not take up a 1,300-page Senate bill (referring to S.744) that “no one had ever read.” Should a voice vote ever becoming a possibility, this particular line of argumentation will be increasingly untenable, as Representatives have already had over 6 months to read the bill and will have more time to do so as each month passes.

Another way to think about whether 2014 will be the year of comprehensive immigration reform is to think about how comprehensive a step-by-step approach can be? In other words, can a piecemeal approach result in a path to citizenship? In addition to Boehner, another key Republican gatekeeper is House Judiciary Committee (HJC) Chairman Bob Goodlatte. As Chairman, he has allowed a series of piecemeal bills to be voted on in the HJC. When combined, these piecemeal bills add up to a package of reforms that appeals to conservative legislators – tougher interior immigration enforcement, mandatory employment verification, more visas for high-skilled immigrants, and an agricultural guestworker program. This package does not include a path to citizenship for the 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country, though discussions continue about a legalization program for undocumented youth (the “Kids Act”).

Because these piecemeal bills appeal to conservative legislators, they are likely to be approved if voted on by the Republican-led House – my own simulations support this. Moreover, because these piecemeal bills do not include a path to citizenship, they are likely to be non-starters for many in the Senate. On this point, some have suggested that a conference committee will eventually lead to a bill that includes a path to citizenship. I am not as convinced as others. First, leadership in the respective chambers selects conference committee participants. Second, what results from a conference committee, called the conference report, ultimately has to be voted on by both chambers. In other words, the House must ultimately vote on what the conference committee decides.

Here is one potential bargaining scenario. In conference, Senate conferees call for a full path to citizenship and House conferees respond with the “Kids Act.” What we have heard from Senator Chuck Schumer is that no compromises will be made to the path to citizenship in the Senate bill. Taking Schumer at his word, this means that no legislation will result. This, as a matter of politics, benefits Republicans as much as it benefits Democrats. Democrats will be in a position to place blame on Republicans. However, Republicans will also be able to counter with the argument that they negotiated with Democrats and that these negotiations included an expedited path to citizenship for undocumented youth. This, in my opinion, is why Goodlatte has expressed support for a “Kids Act” type of bill. Ultimately, what results from this potential scenario is likely to be continued stalemate.

A third way to think about whether 2014 will be the year of comprehensive immigration reform is to look forward to the November 2014 midterm election results. Recent political history suggests that Republicans will gain seats in the House of Representatives. A shift in control of the House from Republicans to Democrats after the 2014 midterm elections is unlikely. The party of the President tends to lose seats during midterm elections. In 15 out of the last 17 midterm elections, the party of the President has lost seats. Political scientists explain this trend, in part, by describing midterm elections as opportunities for those who lost during the previous presidential election to voice their dissatisfaction. Thus, while many Republican representatives may be vulnerable in 2014, there are many Democrats who are also vulnerable.

There are, however, some key races that may impact the future prospects of comprehensive immigration reform. First, Representative Steve King’s (R, IA-4) re-election race should be followed closely. King, perhaps more than any other person, has been the face of anti-reform efforts in the House. King won his seat in 2012 by only 7.9 points (30,593 votes). A successful re-election campaign by King will signal to other Republicans that being anti-immigrant is not political suicide. However, if King loses – and assuming that advocates can make the case that his hard-lined positions on immigration contributed to his loss – then this can go a long way towards propelling reform efforts forward after the midterm elections. Second, Representative Jeff Denham’s (R, CA-10) race is also an important one. In 2012, he won by only 5.4 points (11,331 votes). If he wins, and wins big, Denham and his public support for comprehensive immigration reform – he is one of three Republicans who has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 15 – can be held up as an exemplar for other Republicans. Representative Gary Miller’s (R, CA-31) race is also an important one to watch. Miller has an A+ grade from NumbersUSA, a group that is staunchly opposed to reform efforts that include a path to citizenship. After the latest round of redistricting, Miller finds himself in a district that is overwhelmingly Hispanic/Latino and Asian. Lastly, three Republican Senators who voted for S. 744 are up for re-election in 2014. These are Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Alexander and Graham, in particular, faced Tea Party criticism after the Senate vote. Their respective re-elections can serve to further marginalize the Tea Party on the issue of immigration in two traditionally red states.

Lastly, whether 2014 will be the year of comprehensive immigration reform may hinge on the efforts of reform advocates who are working outside of the realm of D.C.-based politics. These individuals and groups have grown increasingly weary of the political stalemate and legislative inaction that has characterized immigration politics in recent years and have become more vocal in calling on President Obama to use his executive authority to halt deportations. The activism of these individuals and groups may amplify in 2014, particularly around the summer, if legislative solutions are not reached. September 2014 marks the first month that undocumented youth who received temporary relief from deportation via President Obama’s policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will have to renew their DACA status. While these youth knew from the outset that their DACA status had to be renewed every two years, many advocates thought that a permanent solution in the form of legislation would have been reached before we reached this stage. The act of having to renew a temporary status may very well embolden activists to seek new, more creative, and perhaps even more aggressive means to achieve a permanent fix to our nation’s broken immigration system.

Fifth Annual University of California Conference on International Migration

Fifth Annual University of California Conference on International Migration:
Immigrant Integration in Comparative Perspective

January 31 – February 1, 2014

Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UC San Diego

To be held at the Great Hall

Agenda

Co-sponsored by the  Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy (UC Irvine) & Program on International Migration (UCLA)

With the participation of the Gifford Center for Population Studies (UC Davis) and Division of Social Sciences (UC Santa Cruz)

CCIS Fall Seminar – American Values: Migrants, Money and Meaning

Seminar to be held on Wednesday, December 4th in ERC 115. Event begins at 12:00PM.

Author Meets Critics: Join David Pedersen, Beatriz Cortez and David Gutierrez as they discuss Mr. Pedersen’s book American Value: Migrants, Money and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States.

El Salvador has transformed dramatically over the past half-century. Historically reliant on cash crops like coffee and cotton, the country emerged from a civil war in 1992 to find much of its national wealth coming from money sent home by a massive emigrant workforce in the United States.  In American Value, David Pedersen examines this new way of life across two places: Intipucá in El Salvador and Washington, DC in the USA.  Drawing on Charles S. Pierce to craft a highly innovative semiotic of value, he critically explains how the apparent worthiness of migrants and their money is shaping a transnational moral world with implications well beyond El Salvador and the USA.

David PedersonDavid Pedersen

Associate Professor of Anthropology – UCSD

w/ Beatriz Cortez, Professor of Central American Studies – CSUN

& David Gutierrez, Professor of History – UCSD

California Congressman To Propose Middle Road On Immigration Reform (KPBS)

BY JILL REPOGLE   NOVEMBER 4, 2013

KPBS News

Southern California Congressman Darrell Issa is rumored to be cooking up his own immigration reform proposal. It’s reportedly designed to find some middle ground in the contentious debate over providing legal status to the more than 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Issa’s district stretches along the coast from UC San Diego in La Jolla to southern Orange County. The district leans heavily Republican: Issa won the 2012 election with a 16-point lead.

Issa’s constituents are mostly white and largely affluent. Still, Issa isn’t immune to the demographic changes taking place throughout California and the nation. About one-quarter of Issa’s district is Latino, and close to 50 percent of his hometown of Vista is now Latino.

Polls have shown that the majority of Latinos want immigration reform with a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally.

The details of Issa’s plan for immigration reform are still scarce, and his office didn’t respond to numerous requests for an interview. But the plan would reportedly include a six-year period of temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants.

During that time, they would be expected to find a legal way to stay here or leave.

Issa told Politico it’s “halfway between full amnesty and simply rejecting people.”

But some of Issa’s staunchly conservative constituents say that approach is too soft.

“This whole subject to me right now is about the rule of law,” said Patricia Newman, who manages her husband’s medical practice in Vista.

Newman is Mexican-American, and she thinks the government should make it easier for immigrants to come here legally. But she’s suspicious that Issa’s proposal would reward those who haven’t followed the rules, and encourage others to keep coming here illegally.

She said the Republican Party was compromising its ideals in exchange for votes.

“I really think that’s what they’re doing,” Newman said, a stylized portrait of Ronald Reagan looking down at her from her office wall.

“They’re just considering all these things just so they can get new votes. I don’t think they’re thinking it through.”

But Republicans like Issa are facing pressure from business and faith leaders — and even some GOP donors — to take action on immigration reform.

The Vista Chamber of Commerce recently joined state and national business groups in endorsing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents. They also want a temporary worker program for high and low-skilled workers, and strong border security.

“We also have businesses that have had tangible difficulties bringing talent in from outside the country when they needed people,” said Bret Schanzenbach, CEO of the Vista Chamber.

Political scientists warn the Republican party risks becoming irrelevant if it can’t appeal to the country’s growing Latino population. That warning hasn’t seemed to hold much weight for Republican congress members in districts with few Latino voters.

But the political calculations are different for Republican leaders. That likely includes Issa, saidTom Wong, a political science professor at UC San Diego.

“He not only is concerned about his electoral survival, but with eyes towards higher office, he also has to be concerned with the Republican brand as a whole and how that’s perceived nationally,” Wong said.

Several other Republican congress members have recently signed on to the House Democrats’ immigration reform bill, which includes a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally.

Wong said Issa’s halfway plan could help propel a real discussion on the issue among the Republican caucus.

But time is quickly running out this year to get that discussion going.

Read the Article »

REPORT NOW AVAILABLE: Understanding Change in Science & Engineering – July 12 & 13 Workshop

CCISBuilding the Innovation Economy? The Challenges of Defining, Creating and Maintaining the STEM Workforce: 

For several years, policymakers in Washington, academic and other experts, and industry leaders have emphasized the importance of the so-called “STEM” fields—science, technology, engineering and math—for economic growth, national competitiveness and security, and job creation. Yet we still know little about how this crucial sector of the economy works, and in particular, why industry demands ever more foreign workers even as many US workers are leaving this vibrant sector, and how US workers keep their skill sets current in the face of continual change. Most broadly, we need to understand what STEM actually means. It is a term that is used widely, and even forms the basis of legislation, yet it resists a clear definition.

These are some major conclusions from a workshop held at the University of California-San Diego on July 12 and 13, 2013. The workshop, sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, brought together academic specialists from fields as diverse as economics, education, management, public policy, and sociology to meet with industry leaders representing biotech, finance, software, telecommunications, and tech journalism, for a results-oriented and wide-ranging discussion of these important issues. Several key conclusions, as well as related readings by workshop participants, are included.

Download here: CCIS.BuildingTheInnovationEconomy

If Vote Were Today, Immigration Reform Would Fail House (Fusion)

BY JOHN ROSMAN of FRONTERAS @ThisIsFusion   Updated OCTOBER 25, 2013

Fusion

SAN DIEGO — In 2012, statistician Nate Silver made headlines when he accurately predicted the outcomes for the presidential election in all 50 states.

While political scientists have been forecasting election results for decades, very few forecast legislation. But in San Diego, one assistant professor is doing just that. He’s forecasting the outcome for immigration reform.

Most days, you can find Tom Wong inside a boutique coffee shop in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, hunched over a Macbook Pro.

The assistant professor of political science at UC San Diego is crunching thousands of numbers.

“I’m predicting opposition and support for immigration reform among all 535 current members of congress,” Wong said.

How Does It Work?

His forecast is created in three steps. The first is a model that determines what factors create a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote on immigration.

It begins in 2006. That was the year millions of immigration advocates protested in the streets across the United States, rallying against H.R. 4437, an enforcement-heavy immigration bill.

Many cite these demonstrations as the starting point for the modern immigration movement.

In step one, Wong counts every vote cast by every member of Congress on immigration since 2006. Then he pulls a ton of data — unemployment rates, education levels, ethnic makeup — from states and districts.

Wong explains his model is taking into account “the factors that previous research has identified as being important for immigration policy.”

He uses that information to create a model that predicts how a member of Congress will vote based on what their state or district looks like.

Step two is seeing if his model is accurate.

Wong looks at each member of Congress since 2006 to see whether his model accurately predicted how they actually voted on immigration bills.

“In the House we’re talking about a 94 percent match rate. And the Senate we get about 90 percent,” said Wong.

Step three is using the model as a predictor. For example, how will freshmen members of Congress vote, someone like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)?

“His state has certain demographic characteristics, certain economic characteristics and he’s a Republican,” explains Wong.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the model predicts Cruz will be voting against the bill. But what about the rest of the Senate and members of the House?

“Right now the data points to 67 to 71 ‘yes’ votes in the Senate. For the House we’re only seeing about 203 ‘yes’ votes,” Wong said.

So if voted on today, according to Wong’s model, the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill would fail by 15 votes in the House.

But, Wong wants immigration reform to pass.

Seeking Change

“My own immigration experience gives me this window into the data where the results are more than just numbers, because I see the families and the people that can potentially benefit,” he said.

When Wong was 16 years old he learned that he and his family had overstayed their tourist visas from Hong Kong. They were living here illegally.

Although they have since become legal residents, that moment is always with him.

“It is very easy for me to simply close my eyes and feel exactly how I felt as my 16-year-old self,” Wong said.

It’s a feeling that he believes is shared among many of the young immigrants who are rapidly changing the demographics of districts across the United States.

Wong is using his model to help pro-immigration reform activists locate Congress members who are poised to vote ‘no.’ But are in positions where they should be voting ‘yes.’

He uses Rep Gary Miller (R-Calif.) as an example.

“Based on the data Gary Miller will vote ‘no’ on immigration reform,” Wong said.

Miller’s voting records show’s him as a staunch opponent of immigration reform. But Wong’s model points to Miller as a candidate whose stance can, and perhaps should, change.

In 2012, Miller ran and won election in a newly formed California district in San Bernardino County. It is made up of young minority voters, and his next election is rapidly approaching.

“The young Hispanic/Latino and the young Asian population — meaning those that will turn actually 18 and become voters — will exceed Gary Miller’s 2012 margin of victory,” Wong explains.

He believes there are enough representatives in the House like Miller, who if presented with these statistics, could change their vote and change the current fate of immigration reform.

You can follow Tom Wong as he updates his data and changes model as the immigration debate conitinues. Check out the CIR 2013 Blog

Read the Article »

The Price of Rights: Regulating International Labor Migration

Seminar to be held on Wednesday, October 23rd at 12:00 pm in ERC 115.

Many low-income countries and development organizations are calling for greater liberalization of labor immigration policies in high-income countries. At the same time, human rights organizations and migrant rights advocates demand more equal rights for migrant workers. Martin Ruhs’ The Price of Rights shows why you cannot always have both.

Martin Ruhs analyzes how high-income countries restrict the rights of migrant workers as part of their labor immigration policies and discusses the implications for global debates about regulating labor migration and protecting migrants. His book comprehensively looks at the tensions between human rights and citizenship rights, the agency and interests of migrants and states, and the determinants and ethics of labor immigration policy.

RuhsMartin Ruhs

Assistant Professor in Political Economy
Oxford University

Member, UK Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)