New Article: Joseph W. Singer, Titles of Nobility: Poverty, Immigration, and Property in a Free and Democratic Society, 1 J. L. Property & Soc’y 1 (2014). This article is based on a keynote Singer gave at the 2013 AALS Conference on Poverty, Immigration, and Property. It was a very good speech. =)
New Report: Manuel Orozco & Julia Yansura, Understanding Central American Migration: The Crisis of Central American Child Migrants in Context (Aug. 2014). Abstract below:
There has been a sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America attempting to enter the United States in the past few years. This increase is also seen among adults, though to a lesser degree. As the United States, Mexico, and Central American countries struggle to address this crisis, debates have raged surrounding the humanitarian, legal, and political implications of any possible solution to this complex and troubling issue. This memo aims to inform the current debate by integrating data on issues triggering this outflow while also introducing the perspectives of the people and communities they affect. Specifically, it draws on data from 900 municipalities to analyze migrant hometowns in relation to human development,violence, and education.In addition, it presents the results of a nationwide survey in El Salvador and a survey of Central American migrants residing in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
NOTE: for those who work on migration issues, I can’t recommend Manuel Orozco’s studies high enough — he is the guru of immigrant remittances and does lots of other work as well.
Two New Practice Guides prepared as part of a Berkeley law clinic program:
New Article: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Creating Crimmigration, 2013 BYU L. Rev. 1457 (2014). Abstract below:
Scholars from a variety of disciples have begun to map the contours of crimmigration law, the convergence of criminal law and immigration law, in the United States. None, however, has explained why these two bodies of law, long operating mostly independently of each other, began to intersect with increasing frequency and severity in the closing decades of the twentieth century and not earlier. This Article unravels the political and legal shifts that occurred in the United States during this period to provide a historically contextualized explanation of crimmigration law’s creation. Specifically, this Article contends that, in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, overt racism became culturally disdained and facially racist laws impermissible. Derision of people of color, however, did not cease. Instead, racism hid behind a veneer of facially neutral rhetoric to find a new outlet in laws penalizing criminal activity. A few years later when immigration became a national political concern for the first time since the civil rights era, policymakers turned to criminal law and procedure to do what race had done in earlier generations: sort the desirable newcomers from the undesirable.
New Article: David A. Super, A New New Property, 113 Colum. L. Rev. 1773 (2013). Abstract below:
Charles Reich’s visionary 1964 article, The New Property, paved the way for a revolution in procedural due process. It did not, however, accomplish Reich’s primary stated goal: providing those dependent on government assistance the same security that property rights long have offered owners of real property.
As Reich himself predicted, procedural rights have proven largely ineffectual, especially for low-income people. In the half-century since he wrote, growing wealth inequality and repeated cutbacks in antipoverty programs have produced the pervasive disempowerment he predicted, but concentrated in one segment of society. This is incompatible with a healthy democracy.
Reich found that government largesse had become functionally equivalent to more traditional forms of property. Other analogies to property concepts can also protect low-income people, supporting recognition of the most important assets low-income people have, many of which are relational rather than tangible.
Like long-time trespassers obtaining ownership rights through adverse possession, families that have long lived together in this country should be able to continue doing so despite the unlawful immigration status of some of their members. The law should value the communities that offer mutual support to low-income people in much the same way as it does common interest communities. Principles of equity that long shielded less sophisticated people against sharp operators should be revived to protect low-income people’s homes against abusive foreclosures. And modern Takings Clause doctrine should recognize subsistence government benefits as property.
A regime of property law that secures that which is most essential to the well-being of a broad swath of society, rather than just those items disproportionately held by the wealthy, will best promote social, economic, and political participation by all people.
New Article: Elizabeth Keyes, Defining American: The DREAM Act, Immigration Reform and Citizenship, forthcoming Nevada L.J. Abstract below:
The grassroots movement propelling the DREAM Act and immigration reform forward reveals how the definition of citizenship is undergoing a dramatic transformation, in ways both inspiring and troubling. The DREAM movement depends upon the compelling but exceptional stories of passionate, high-achieving, law-abiding youth who already define themselves as being American, and worthy of legal status. Situating this narrative in the rich literature of citizenship, the article shows how the DREAM movement effectively exposes the disjuncture between the DREAMers’ identity as Americans and their lack of legal immigration status. The article celebrates how this narrative succeeds as a contrast to the prevailing political discourse and how the movement, led by youth from all corners of the globe, radically upends America’s history of deeming people of color unworthy of (and ineligible for) citizenship. The article also presents some unintended consequences of the movement, however, suggesting that the worthiness-based narrative strategy adopted by the DREAMers is both produced by and contributing to ever-narrowing standards for who is deemed worthy of inclusion. These narrowing standards may have negative consequences for the expansiveness of immigration reform more broadly, and even for citizenship beyond the field of immigration. This article explores how the worthiness narrative, which implicitly acknowledges a concept of unworthiness, inadvertently connects to attempts to restrict notions of citizenship, specifically by limiting the principle of jus soli citizenship, extending felon disenfranchisement and instituting voter identification laws.