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)

Undocumented No More: A Nationwide Analysis of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Seminar to be held on Wednesday, October 2nd at 12:00 pm

On June 15, 2012, the White House introduced the program of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA represents a major shift in the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement priorities, as it provides an estimated 1.76 million undocumented youth with relief from deportation and two-year renewable work permits. In the first of its kind, this study analyzes over 450,000 individual DACA applications submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

We obtained individual-level records via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Using these data, we provide a comprehensive account of DACA applicants with an eye towards whether any particular racial/ethnic or national origins group is systematically under-represented in the pool of DACA applications. We then present a preliminary analysis of the determinants of DACA applications. What explains the patterns of DACA applications that we observe by race/ethnicity, national origins group, and region?

wongTom K. Wong 
Assistant Professor of Political Science
University of California, San Diego

 

 

Angela García
Ph.D. Candidate
University of California, San Diego

Elizabeth Aguilera
Senior Reporter for Immigration
U-T San Diego

Carolina Valdivia
Staff Research Associate
University of California, San Diego

A Dream Deferred: America’s Changing View of Civil Rights (Live Science)

BY DENISE CHOW   AUGUST 29, 2013

LiveScience

Fifty years ago, on Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of more than 250,000 protesters in Washington, D.C., and called for the end of racial discrimination in the United States in his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. The political rally, which became known as the March on Washington, and King’s speech became cornerstones of the American civil rights movement.

But the day after people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the legacy of the civil rights movement, many minority groups, including African-Americans, are still fighting for equality, sociologists say.

“Many black people, and other people of color, are experiencing the kinds of racial inequalities that were very much present during the days of the civil rights movement,” said Aldon Morris, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and co-author of “Oppositional Consciousness: The Subjective Roots of Social Protest” (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

While the civil rights movement propelled racial inequality into the national spotlight, and helped usher in landmark anti-discrimination legislation, such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the idea that Americans live in a post-racial society is a myth, Morris told LiveScience.

“I think many people wish to believe that the civil rights movement largely accomplished its goals, and that the racial nightmare is over and the dream has been achieved,” Morris said. “Yes, there has been considerable change since the heyday of the civil rights movement, but the huge problem emerges when we look at the difference between what people say or believe and what they do.”

Fifty years later

The March on Washington was officially known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedoms, and hundreds of thousands of marchers flooded the nation’s capital to demonstrate in support of civic and economic rights for African-Americans. Yet decades later, African-American communities are still struggling with issues such as unemployment, education and home ownership, said John Skrentny, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

“There has certainly been enormous amounts of progress, but African-Americans, by a lot of indicators, are still as bad off as they were 50 years ago,” Skrentny told LiveScience. “Their unemployment rate is twice as high, their incarceration rates are very high, and measures of African-American wealth are quite low.”

This is partly because in the decades since the March on Washington, the civil rights story has receded in the public eye, and the government’s focus has shifted elsewhere, he said.

“Other political issues have risen to prominence, and I think a big part of the story is that the Republican Party does not make a play for African-American votes, whereas with other groups — and I’m thinking specifically of Latinos and gays and lesbians — the Republican Party is in the game for those votes. Not to the extent of the Democrats, but in their postmortem of the 2012 election, it was something that was talked about explicitly,” Skrentny said.

This shift has thrust other issues, such as immigration reform and same-sex marriage legislation, to the forefront. And while these issues also deserve time and attention, political leaders should understand the work that catapulted inequality into the political sphere during the civil rights movement is not yet complete, Skrentny added.

“It’s really difficult to identify a single policy designed to advance the interests of African-Americans in the last 20 years,” he said.

From the foreground to the background

The political change largely began in the 1980s and 1990s, with the rise of the New Democrats, an ideologically centrist arm of the Democratic Party that gained prominence following the 1988 presidential election won by George H.W. Bush. Some members of the New Democrats felt that their party had aligned themselves too closely to African-American interests, and they tried to distance themselves from advancing policies directly targeted at African-American communities, Skrentny said.

For instance, during the 1992 presidential campaign, then Governor Bill Clinton publicly criticized rapper and activist Sister Souljah (her real name is Lisa Williamson) for racially charged remarks about violence in that year’s Los Angeles riots. The episode became known as the “Sister Souljah moment,” and was widely seen as a strategic move to court centrist voters by demonstrating that Clinton was not bound by African-American interest groups, who were perceived to be closely associated with the Democratic Party.

Even Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, may feel even more hesitant than previous Democratic presidents to throw weight behind overtly African-American issues, for fear that his detractors might accuse him of favoring one community over others, Skrentny said.

“Political leaders discovered that if you try to do too much for African-Americans, working-class whites will say: Why are you helping these people? We have problems, too,” Skrentny said. “When it comes to big political issues, white voters who are economically insecure — and that’s not to say they’re racist, just economically insecure — typically react in a negative way.”

For things to change, Morris says people need to actively study how various forms of inequality are manifested in society. “Only when people allow themselves to be exposed to the truth about the nature of inequality in any society will they be able to engage in meaningful action to bring about change,” Morris said.

One thing the government can do is conduct detailed audits of companies to assess and manage the level of discrimination during their hiring process, Skrentny said.

“We need reliable, nonpartisan measures of how much discrimination is out there, and these types of audits are good ways to take the temperature of discrimination,” he said.

A more extensive initiative to address inequality could be to study unemployment based on the geographical distribution of different communities, Skrentny said. For instance, the government tends to use low tax rates to lure companies into more rural or suburban areas of the country. But African-Americans, in particular, tend to live in urban neighborhoods, and may be limited in their abilities to commute to jobs in other, more distant localities.

“We have to limit different geographic localities from competing with one another, because that isolates certain workers,” Skrentny said.

Fighting for rights

While anti-discrimination policies such as affirmative action have helped, more sweeping changes throughout society are needed, Morris and Skrentny said. Affirmative action aims to prevent the exclusion of individuals based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in areas of employment, education and business.

“We spend a lot of time debating affirmative action, but fixing employment problems and incarceration problems is very difficult,” Skrentny said. “It’s easier to just make the numbers right in colleges, but it still doesn’t get at the heart of the problem.”

And while the legacy of the March on Washington should be celebrated, Americans should understand that many communities are still struggling for deep-seated change, Morris said.

“To claim that we are now in a post-racial society — to claim that skin color and so forth no longer matters, is to really engage in a myth that is soothing, but at the same time, does not address reality,” he said.

Read the article »

FitzGerald Given Award for Public Sociology

asa logoCCIS Associate Director David FitzGerald was recently given the 2013 award for public sociology from the international migration section of the American Sociological Association. The award is given annually to scholars whose work addresses immigration and related issues in ways that apply scholarly knowledge directly in public work, generate knowledge for public use, or otherwise contribute to improving the lives of migrants or refugees.