Immigrant Replenishment and the Continuing Significance of Ethnicity and Race: The Case of the Mexican-origin Population (Working Paper #130)

Tomás R. Jiménez, University of California – San Diego

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of immigrant replenishment on ethnic identity formation by considering the case of the Mexican-origin population. The literature on immigration, race and ethnicity largely assumes that the symbolic, optional, and consequence-free nature of ethnic identity found among white ethnics is a function of the measures of assimilation that sociologists commonly deploy: socioeconomic status, residential location, language abilities, and intermarriage. But this literature fails to adequately explain the role of immigration patterns in the formation of ethnic identity. Using 123 in-depth interviews with latter-generation Mexican Americans in Garden City, Kansas and Santa Maria, California, cities with large lattergeneration Mexican American and Mexican immigrant populations, this paper explores the ways that Mexican immigrant replenishment shapes the social boundaries that distinguish Mexican Americans from other groups. Findings suggest that immigration patterns are central to understanding identity formation after the immigrant generation. Mexican immigrant replenishment sharpens these boundaries through the indirect effects of nativism, by contributing to the continuing significance of race in the lives of Mexican Americans, and by refreshing rigid expectations about ethnic authenticity that Mexican Americans face. This paper also illuminates the role that declining immigration waves played in the onset of a symbolic, optional, and consequence-free form of ethnic identity among white ethnics.

Working Paper #130 »

Why Does Immigration Divide America?: Public Finance and Political Opposition to Open Borders (Working Paper #129)

Gordon H. Hanson, University of California – San Diego and National Bureau of Economic Research

Summary: In this manuscript, I consider the interplay between public finance and U.S. immigration policy. Immigration is making the U.S. population larger and more ethnically diverse and the U.S. labor force more abundant in low-skilled labor. One consequence of these changes has been lower wages for low-skilled U.S. workers. More generally, the benefits and costs of immigration appear to be distributed quite unevenly. Capital owners, land owners, and employers capture most of the benefits associated with immigration, which they enjoy in the form of higher factor returns. Taxpayers in highimmigration U.S. states shoulder most of immigration’s fiscal costs, which they bear in the form of higher taxes that go to pay for public services used by immigrant households. On net the economic impact of immigration on the United States is small. However, small net changes in national income mask potentially large changes in the distribution of income. These distributional changes appear to be an important ingredient in how individuals form opinions about immigration policy.

Survey data suggest that individuals are more opposed to immigration if they (a) are more exposed to immigration’s labor-market consequences, as are low-income workers living in states with large immigrant populations, or (b) are more exposed to the immigration’s public-finance consequences, as are high-income workers living in states with high immigrant uptake of public assistance. Policies that have reduced the fiscal costs of immigration, such as welfare reform in the 1990’s, appear to have softened political opposition to immigration. Generating greater political support for open immigration policies would require reducing immigration’s adverse effects on the labormarket earnings and on the fiscal burdens of U.S. residents.

Currently, there is political gridlock in the United States regarding immigration policy. This gridlock makes it difficult to address pressing issues related to illegal immigration, such as what to do about the 10 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, and national security, such as how to get immigration authorities and intelligence agencies to coordinate meaningfully with each other.

One strategy for reforming U.S. immigration policy would be to change the skill composition of those admitted. By shifting to a system that favors high-skilled immigrants, the United States would attract individuals with high income potential. A skills-based immigration policy would help raise the wages of low-skilled workers and reduce the fiscal burden on taxpayers. However, it would have the disadvantage of having its effects on U.S. labor markets blunted by other aspects of globalization. An alternative (but not mutually exclusive) strategy would be to expand temporary immigration programs and to phase in immigrant access to public benefits more slowly over time. A rights-based immigration policy would help alleviate the negative fiscal consequences of immigration and free immigration policy to be used for meeting U.S. labor needs or achieving other objectives. To be effective, any change in immigration policy must address enforcement against illegal immigration.

Working Paper #129 »

Immigrants and Health Agency: Public Safety, Health, and Latino Immigrants in North Carolina (Working Paper #128)

Robert A. Donnelly

Abstract: This work examines the role played by health- and public safety-related discourses in the construction of governable subjects among settling Latino immigrants in contemporary central North Carolina. It proposes that health possesses a normalizing dimension that encourages the adoption of certain prescribed mindsets and practices, and that these outlooks and behaviors embody normative understandings of what it means “to be an American.” It draws on governmentality theory to demonstrate the ways in which neoliberal rationalities collaborate in this normalization process. By focusing on North Carolina, the research intends to examine how a state, where binary racial logics have historically prevailed and with minimal experience managing sizable non-Englishspeaking groups, interacts with a growing Latino population, much of it foreign-born and not fully bilingual. The research attempts to contribute to the literature by situating contemporary Latino settlement in North Carolina within the longer-range U.S. history of public health and immigration. It relies on results of ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative analysis of media articles, and interviews related to health and public safety discourses.

Working Paper #128 »

Demographic Slump vs. Immigration Policy: The Case of the Czech Republic (Working Paper #127)

Milos Calda, Charles University

Introduction: The present paper deals, above all, with the current program of immigration facilitation launched by the government of the Czech Republic (hereinafter CR) in 2001. The program, called “Pilot Project”, should test future larger-scale immigration policy implementation. One of the contributing factors to such a policy was the decline of the Czech population over the last decade. The paper will also look into the population development and give a brief historical background.

Working Paper #127 »

Knocking at the Doors of “Fortress Europe”: Migration and Border Control in Southern Spain and Eastern Poland (Working Paper #126)

Stefan Alscher, Humboldt University

Introduction: The “fight against illegal migration” has become a main topic of EU-summits in the last years: common border patrols, harmonization of deportation proceedings, and more funding for the control of the exterior borders represent several key themes punctuating ongoing debates. The explosiveness of this subject is illustrated by images of overloaded refugee boats, floating on the Mediterranean Sea near the Spanish, Italian or Greek coastlines; these images add fuel to anxieties in parts of the population of the actual and future EU-member states. The events in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in October 2005, when hundreds of desperate migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa tried to enter EU-territory by climbing over or tearing down the fences, were drawing even more attention to this subject – and showed clearly the deficiencies of the EU migration policy.

At the same time, the European Union just witnessed the biggest enlargement in its history. Ten states, above all from Central and East-central Europe, joined the EU on the 1st of May 2004. Although this step partially abolished the longstanding division of the European continent into East and West, it is foreseeable that new parting lines will emerge at the future exterior borders of the EU. The new neighbors of the enlarged EU – like Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine – have no perspective of joining the club.

Though debates about a broader concept of Europe (“wider Europe”) beyond the newborderlines are discussed in several circles inside and outside the Union, these discussions will not have any notable effects for the living conditions of the citizens of bordering states. Rather, citizens of the Mediterranean border states or the neighboring states beyond the future eastern border will not be able to enjoy a visa-free entrance to the EU in the mid- to long-term perspective.

Furthermore, negotiations between the EU, single member states and the actual and future neighbors are designing the construction of a “security belt” against undocumented migration. Readmission-agreements, safe third-country regulations, and lists of secure countries of origin are some of the instruments used by the administrations of the EU and its member states to move the problem of undocumented immigration away from the center of the Union. As well, southern neighbors like Morocco, Algeria and Libya as well as eastern neighbors such as Ukraine are being integrated into the safeguard system against undocumented migration – and therefore are being asked to strengthen their border controls and to readmit those migrants who entered the EU via their territories.

But it is not so much the neighboring states that are intensifying their border controls. Above all those EU-member states, which have to supervise parts of the common EU-exterior border, have been and still are intensifying border controls as a defense measure against undocumented immigration. Since summer 2002, the “Integral System of Exterior Surveillance” (SIVE)1 has been put into operation at the Strait of Gibraltar. With the help of modern high-tech measures, migrants’ boats are already recognized shortly after leaving the Moroccan coastline and beginning their journey towards the north. The SIVE is to be expanded to additional coastlines including the Canary Islands.

Similar developments can be observed at the Polish eastern border. Poland’s borders with its neighbors Ukraine, Belarus, and the Russian exclave Kaliningrad have been strengthened with support from foreign border-guard agencies – especially the German Bundesgrenzschutz2 – and financed by EU-funds from the PHARE-program. Border Guard stations, which are responsible for the monitoring of the so-called “green border”, have been erected at an interval of 12 to maximum 15 miles along the whole eastern borderline.

Working Paper #126»

On Learning English: The Importance of School Context, Immigrant Communities, and the Racial Symbolism of the English Language in Understanding the Challenge for Immigrant Adolescents (Working Paper #125)

Dr. Carmina Brittain, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Abstract: The immigrant student population in American public schools is an ever-growing demographic force, especially in some states such as California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois (Ruizde- Velasco & Fix, 2000). This concentration of immigrants in these states is the result of the networking process of migration that mobilizes newcomers to areas where more established immigrants from the same country (co-nationals) are located (Cornelius, 1998; Portes, 1999; Valdes, 2001). This mobilization produces a significant information flow across borders as established immigrants share their experiences with potential immigrants in their countries of origin via interpersonal communications (Cornelius, 1998; Mahler, 1998; Menjivar, 2000; Brittain, 2002). One kind of information that immigrants share in these transnational conversations is about learning the English language (Brittain, 2002).

Using the Contextual Interaction Framework (Cortes, 1986), this article examines how adolescent immigrants from China and Mexico shared information about learning English in American schools. Framed as advice to their co-national peers, these English Messages reflected how these immigrant students perceived their chances for success in acquiring English skills. While both groups emphasized the need to learn English, the Chinese students advised their co-nationals that the English language barrier would eventually be conquered, while the Mexican adolescents advised that learning English was hard. These attitudes and experiences were framed by contextual factors in the school, community, and peer groups. Further, these students talked about the racial symbolism of learning English. Some of these immigrants framed English as the language of “White” people, a group that they perceived felt superior to their own ethnic group. Therefore, for these immigrant students, learning English became the representation of assimilation but not necessarily acceptance and equal participation into the U.S. society.

Working Paper #125»

Mexican Migration to the United States, 1882-1992: A Long Twentieth Century of Coyotaje (Working Paper #124)

David Spener, Trinity University

Abstract: Coyotaje is the Mexican cultural practice of hiring an intermediary, known as a coyote, to get around an inconvenient or burdensome government regulation. The term also refers to the brokerage of commodities. In both these senses, coyotaje has played a fundamental role in facilitating mass Mexican migration to the U.S.A. since passage of the Chinese exclusion and contract labor laws of the 1880s. In this paper I review the history of Mexican migration, foregrounding the evolution of the practice of coyotaje across five distinct migratory periods—el enganche (1882-1921); labor recruitment, clandestine migration, and mass deportations (1921-1942); the Bracero Program (1942-1964); the return to undocumented migration (1964-1986); and the legalization period (1986-1993). My review documents a remarkable degree of continuity in the practice of coyotaje across these periods, as well as in the tactics used by government authorities to combat it. In the conclusion, I argue that although coyotaje begins as a way for U.S. employers to gain extra-legal access to Mexican workers, over time it evolves into an essential and strikingly successful strategy employed by Mexican workers to gain access to better wages in the U.S. labor market.

Working Paper #124»

State and Emigration: A Century of Emigration Policy in Mexico (Working Paper #123)

David FitzGerald, University of California – San Diego

Abstract: The social science of international migration has generally ignored labor emigration control policies. In the critical case of Mexico, however, the central government consistently tried to control the volume, duration, skills, and geographic origin of emigrants from 1900 to the early 1970s. A neopluralist approach to policy development and implementation shows that the failure of emigration control and the current abandonment of serious emigration restrictions are explained by a combination of external constraints, imposed by a highly asymmetrical interdependence with the United States, and internal constraints, imposed by actors within the balkanized Mexican state who recurrently undermined federal emigration policy through contradictory local practices.

Working Paper #123»

Borderlands and the Claims of Justice (Working Paper #122)

Yvonne Aimé Gastélum, University of California – San Diego

Introduction: Citizenship and borders shape the ways we conceive of justice in the modern world of nation-states. They delineate the contours of membership and territory we perceive as our own, and provide the institutional framework within which we construct justice. However, the particular moral order they create, its protections and exclusions, is inadequately considered within contemporary theories of justice that fail to recognize how borders are bridged and membership is renegotiated over time.

The boundaries that enclose political communities, denoted by citizenship, immigration and naturalization law, and territorial border control, are negotiated closures subject to political choice. The institutions of the modern nation-state and the conditions of the interstate system structure and limit these choices. For these are the instruments by which political communities retain their coherence, and by which liberal democratic communities sustain their conception of themselves as self-governing. Border structures, by which the boundary institutions of the state may be understood, delimit from the inside out—that is, they are perceived as having only one relevant side, that which is our side.

This exclusive dimension dominates the ways in which we delimit justice claims, assign their reach and consider the relevant social vantage point from which to adjudicate them. Yet beyond the narrow realist frame1 that often dominates these considerations exists a further negotiation. While the modern state binds political and territorial integrity, the cross border practices of transnational non-state actors significantly alter the context of state sovereignty. The cross border movement of people and their renegotiation of social and political membership create specific “borderlands” that develop in the social overlap generated by the interaction of different peoples as their nationals relocate themselves in the “near abroad.”2 Borderland contexts complicate justice frameworks by disrupting and refashioning relationships within and across national borders. In crossing borders, persons create “transnational social fields”3 that modify the dynamics of national political communities and the kinds of justice claims articulated within the public sphere. For borderland contexts denote a disjuncture between citizenship, membership, and rights theorized within liberal democratic justice frameworks and located in the modern nation-state.

Working Paper #122»

Uniting Two Cultures: Latino Immigrants in the Wisconsin Dairy Industry (Working Paper #121)

Brent Eric Valentine

Abstract: Latino immigrants are increasingly working in industries that have not traditionally employed immigrant labor. Wisconsin’s dairy industry is a great example of this expansion in the employment of Latino immigrants. During the last decade dairy farmers have been turning to Latino immigrants to meet their labor demands. This research projects looks at the relationship that is developing between Latino immigrants and Wisconsin’s dairy industry. The project helps to bring to light some of the new challenges facing both employers and employees in this industry and region, while also highlighting several of the positive aspects of the relationship like employment stability, greater immigrant inclusion, and a sharing of cultures. Overall, the data collected demonstrates a tendency for long-term employment, which promotes greater rates of settlement among immigrants working in dairy. In return, immigrants working in dairy are increasingly bringing their spouses and children in order to take advantage of the year around employment provided by the dairy industry. By exploring themes related to immigrants’ employment in dairy, their interaction with the immigrant and native communities, and the employers’ perceptions of immigrant employees, this thesis demonstrates the long-term viability of Latino immigrants working on Wisconsin dairy farms.

Working Paper #121»