New Article: Jayesh Rathod, Riding the Wave: Uplifting Labor Organizations Through Immigration Reform, 4 UC Irvine L. Rev. 625 (2014). Abstract below:
In recent years, labor unions in the United States have embraced the immigrants’ rights movement, cognizant that the very future of organized labor depends on its ability to attract immigrant workers and integrate them into union ranks. At the same time, the immigrants’ rights movement has been lauded for its successful organizing models, often drawing upon the vitality and ingenuity of immigrant-based worker centers, which themselves have emerged as alternatives to traditional labor unions. And while the labor and immigrants’ rights movements have engaged in some fruitful collaborations, their mutual support has failed to radically reshape the trajectory of either cause.
In this Article, I argue that the ongoing legislative debates around immigration reform provide a unique opportunity to reimagine and revitalize traditional organized labor and to strengthen newer, immigrant-centered worker organizations. In my view, this can be accomplished by positioning unions and worker organizations as key actors in immigration processes (for both temporary and permanent immigration) and in any likely legalization initiative. Their specific roles might include sponsoring or indirectly supporting certain visa applications, facilitating the portability of employment-related visas from one employer to another, offering training opportunities to meet immigration requirements, assisting with legalization applications, leading immigrant integration initiatives, and more.
Apart from the instrumental objective of attracting immigrants to the ranks of unions and worker organizations, this set of proposals will position these institutions as sites where the virtues of leadership, democratic participation, and civic engagement can be forged in new Americans. Indeed, these virtues coincide with the founding values of most U.S. labor unions; to the extent some unions have strayed from these values, the proposals provide an external imperative to reorient and rebrand unions as core civil society institutions. Moreover, immigrant worker centers have already become known for their focus on leadership development, democratic decision making, and civic education, and are therefore uniquely positioned to play this role. This convergence of utilitarian and transcendent objectives, in the current sociopolitical moment, justifies a special position for unions and worker organizations in the U.S. immigration system.
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.