UC San Diego Receives Grant for Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

Claire Adida, UCSD Faculty Affliate at CCIS, is mentioned in UC San Diego News Article

June 9, 2015
By Christine Clark

The Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL), based at the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. PDEL faculty affiliates Claire Adida, assistant professor of political science in the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences, and Jennifer Burney, assistant professor at GPS, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled “Mobile Money, Schooling, and the Poor.”

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California Leads Increase In Remittances To Mexico From U.S.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015
By Jean Guerrero

Teresa Gomez sends money to her mother in Mexico twice a month from San Diego. The 49-year-old migrated from Mexico more than two decades ago and is now a U.S. citizen.

“That’s what one does when one comes here: work, to take care of one’s family in Mexico,” she said.

Gomez contributed to the $5.6 billion in remittances sent to Mexico from the U.S. during the first quarter of this year. According to the Bank of Mexico, total remittances to Mexico increased five percent from the same period last year.

California sent more remittances than from any other U.S. state: $1.6 billion. Tijuana received $88.3 million in remittances – more than any other Mexican city.

Gomez said she was born in small Mexican town called Arandas in the state of Jalisco. Her 79-year-old mother still lives there with two of Gomez’s sisters. Her sisters help take care of their mother, but local salaries are low. One sister works as a dentist’s assistant for a weekly salary of 900 pesos, or around $60.

Working the cash register at a San Diego meat packaging plant, Gomez is able to send her mother $350 cash transfers twice a month.

“So she can survive over there in Mexico,” Gomez said.

Researchers said the increase in remittances is an indicator of a recovering U.S. economy. Immigrants are increasingly likely to find jobs north of the border.

David Scott FitzGerald, co-director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, said the job market for Mexican-Americans has especially improved in the construction sector.

“Immigrants are working more hours and have more money to spare for their families in Mexico,” he said.

The Mexican-American unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent last year, compared with 12.4 percent in 2010, he said.

Another factor that may be contributing to the rise in remittances is the exchange rate. Dollars sent to Mexico are worth more today than they were several years ago. The dollar has strengthened against the peso to about 15 pesos to the dollar, from about 13 pesos to the dollar last May.

“Now is a great time to send remittances to Mexico,” he said.

The $5.6 billion in remittances from the U.S. makes up the majority of total remittances to Mexico, which reached $5.7 billion in the first quarter of this year. Other countries that sent remittances to Mexico included Canada ($21.7 million), Guatemala ($17.3 million) and El Salvador ($13.1 million).

The value of remittances from Texas was the second-largest among U.S. states at $764 million, followed by Illinois with $288 million.

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After Civil Rights by John D. Skrentny: Winner of Princeton University’s 2014 Richard A. Lester Award for the Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations and Winner of 2015 Western Social Science Association Distinguished Book Award

AfterCivilRightsPic2By John D. Skrentny
Published 2013, 416 pages, hardcover

Purchase After Civil Rights »

What role should racial difference play in the American workplace? As a nation, we rely on civil rights law to address this question, and the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964 seemingly answered it: race must not be a factor in workplace decisions. In After Civil Rights, John Skrentny contends that after decades of mass immigration, many employers, Democratic and Republican political leaders, and advocates have adopted a new strategy to manage race and work. Race is now relevant not only in negative cases of discrimination, but in more positive ways as well. In today’s workplace, employers routinely practice “racial realism,” where they view race as real–as a job qualification. Many believe employee racial differences, and sometimes immigrant status, correspond to unique abilities or evoke desirable reactions from clients or citizens. They also see racial diversity as a way to increase workplace dynamism. The problem is that when employers see race as useful for organizational effectiveness, they are often in violation of civil rights law.

After Civil Rights examines this emerging strategy in a wide range of employment situations, including the low-skilled sector, professional and white-collar jobs, and entertainment and media. In this important book, Skrentny urges us to acknowledge the racial realism already occurring, and lays out a series of reforms that, if enacted, would bring the law and lived experience more in line, yet still remain respectful of the need to protect the civil rights of all workers.

Culling the Masses is a finalist for the 2015 Theodore Saloutos Book Prize of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (for the best book in U.S. immigration history published in 2014)

cullingthemassesCulling the Masses questions the widely held view that in the long run democracy and racism cannot coexist. David Scott FitzGerald and David Cook-Martín show that democracies were the first countries in the Americas to select immigrants by race, and undemocratic states the first to outlaw discrimination. Through analysis of legal records from twenty-two countries between 1790 and 2010, the authors present a history of the rise and fall of racial selection in the Western Hemisphere.

The United States led the way in using legal means to exclude “inferior” ethnic groups. Starting in 1790, Congress began passing nationality and immigration laws that prevented Africans and Asians from becoming citizens, on the grounds that they were inherently incapable of self-government. Similar policies were soon adopted by the self-governing colonies and dominions of the British Empire, eventually spreading across Latin America as well.

Undemocratic regimes in Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Cuba reversed their discriminatory laws in the 1930s and 1940s, decades ahead of the United States and Canada. The conventional claim that racism and democracy are antithetical–because democracy depends on ideals of equality and fairness, which are incompatible with the notion of racial inferiority–cannot explain why liberal democracies were leaders in promoting racist policies and laggards in eliminating them. Ultimately, the authors argue, the changed racial geopolitics of World War II and the Cold War was necessary to convince North American countries to reform their immigration and citizenship laws.

May 7: Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? Decision Rules, Application and the Refugee Status Determination Process of U.S. Hearing Officers

CCIS Seeking Asylum in North America Joint Speaker Series

Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? Decision Rules, Application and the Refugee Status Determination Process of U.S. Hearing Officers

In the absence of sufficient transparency at the border regarding how credible fear determinations are made, it is often difficult to assess how accurate are decisions made by border control agents increasingly responsible for issuing credible fear determinations. Drawing upon an in depth case study of the American Immigration Lawyers Association-American Immigration Council Artesia Pro Bono Galya_Ruffer_ArtesiaProject for Central American women and children, the study examines the process of seeking asylum through irregular entry across the United States national border and argues that, through the use of discretion and informal administrative processes, the asylum system, intended to protect human rights, is “gamed” by decision makers such that it has turn into a deterrence system in violation of our own commitment to asylum and human rights. The research seeks to inform how policy change concerning the “Central American migration crisis” differentially plays out on the ground and advance understandings of how the legal process (starting at the border and ending with a final determination), as an overtly executive infused process, engages with legal aid and advocacy organizations and decision makers across the process that exercise discretion as they juggle the competing demands of technical rationality and quests for justice in their operation.

Galya Ruffer, Director of International Studies and the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University

Thursday, May 7, 4:00pm 
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building 
Conference Room 115, First Floor
 Ruffer-168x210Galya Ruffer is the Director of International Studies and the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University. Her work centers on refugee rights and protection, regional understandings of the root causes of conflict and refugee crises, rule of law and the process of international justice with a particular focus on the Great Lakes Region of Africa. She has published on the role of experts in the refugee status determination process, testimony and justice in the DR Congo, asylum law and policy, human rights litigation in transnational courts and immigrant incorporation and integration in Europe. Her new research focuses on refugee protection outside of the international legal framework. Aside from her academic work, she has worked as an immigration attorney representing political asylum claimants both as a solo-practitioner and as a pro-bono attorney.
For arrangements to accommodate a disability, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at deaf-hohrequest@ucsd.edu or (858) 534-9709 (TTY).

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