Category Archives: Immigration

My Letter to the Editor re: Trump’s Plan to Block Remittances to Mexicoo

Letter Wash Post Trump Remittances 2016

Or for those who actually want to read it, here is the link to the letter with a photo of Trump from the Washington Post.

Trump Proposes Blocking Remittances to Force Mexico to Pay for Border Wall

In the the news.  Needless-to-say, I think this is wrong.  My article on remittances, which discusses the dangers posed by this and other forms of capture by sending countries, can be found here.  A related article on the connection between remittances and food security can be found here.

New Article: “Danger and Dignity: Immigrant Day Laborers and Occupational Risk”

Workers CropNew Article: Jayesh Rathod, Danger and Dignity: Immigrant Day Laborers and  Occupational Risk, 46 Seton Hall L. Rev. 813 (2016).  Abstract below:

The plight of immigrant workers in the United States has captured significant scholarly attention in recent years. Despite the prevalence of discourses regarding this population, one set of issues has received relatively little attention: immigrant workers’ exposure to unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, and their corresponding susceptibility to workplace injuries and illnesses. Researchers have consistently found that immigrant workers suffer disproportionately from occupational injuries and fatalities, even when controlling for industry and occupation. Why, then, are foreign-born workers at greater risk for workplace injuries and fatalities, when compared with their native-born counterparts? This Article seeks to develop answers to that question with the aid of empirical research and to build upon a growing interdisciplinary literature.

This Article presents findings from a qualitative research study designed to explore the factors that shape occupational risks for immigrants. The study, conducted over several months in 2014, centered on in-depth interviews of eighty-four immigrant day laborers seeking employment in different parts of Northern Virginia. The workers’ responses present a complex picture of the immigrant worker experience, reflecting persistent dangers alongside powerful expressions of worker dignity: while the Virginia day laborers continue to encounter significant occupational risks, many comfortably asserted their rights, complicating standard narratives of immigrant worker subordination and vulnerability.

The results of the study also point to ongoing economic insecurities, and regulatory failures relating to the provision of training, use of protective equipment, and oversight of smaller worksites. The findings also signal the need for a more holistic approach to workplace regulation that concomitantly examines a range of workplace concerns, including wage violations, hostile work environments, and health and safety risks. Finally, the day laborers’ experiences reveal that worker centers are well positioned to insulate immigrant workers from workplace risks, by promoting transparency and accountability in the employer-employee relationship.

New Pathways Magazine: “Hispanics in America”

New Pathways Magazine: “Hispanics in America: A Report Card on Poverty, Mobility, and Assimilation,” Spring 2015 [Pathways is a magazine produced by the Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality].

New Article: “Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: What We Can Learn from the Banking and Credit Habits of Undocumented Immigrants”

New Article: Nathalie Martin, Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: What We Can Learn from the Banking and Credit Habits of Undocumented Immigrants, SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

Undocumented immigrants currently make up more than 5% of the U.S. labor force and 7% of school-age children. Numbering over eleven million, undocumented immigrants unquestionably comprise a significant segment of the population, yet most lack financial security and stability on multiple fronts. In addition to the everyday risk of deportation, many risk being taken advantage of on the basis of their immigration status, in both employment and debtor-creditor relationships. While some of these financial conditions are well-chronicled, this Article describes the first empirical study of the debtor-credit relationships of undocumented immigrants. Through live interviews, this Article recounts the general financial impediments undocumented immigrants face in trying to work, pay taxes, raise children, participate in the U.S. economy, and simply survive.

Among other topics, this Article explores whether undocumented immigrants use traditional financial institutions or more informal ones, and whether predatory lenders such as payday and title lenders have made inroads into immigrant communities. It further explores our study participants’ perception of and attitudes toward various forms of credit, with the hope of using this sample to gain more generalized insights into the credit uses and attitudes of undocumented Americans as a whole in today’s consumer credit economy.

Through our study, we were able to uncover a few of the grim realities of living in the financial shadows, with only precarious means of financial support, distanced from social safety networks at home, at legal disadvantage, and without a place at any policy-related table. Indeed, we conclude that the financial condition of many undocumented immigrants is far more precarious than one might imagine, as shown through our data that 74% of the persons interviewed would not be able to cover a $100 emergency if it came up. We also discovered fear of and disdain for credit among many undocumented persons, demonstrating sensible ideas about credit, which many of us in the mainstream population could learn from.

New Report: “Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention”

New Report: TransAtlantic Council on Migration, Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention (2015).

New Article: “Equal Protection: Immigrants’ Access to Healthcare and Welfare Benefits”

New Article: Mel Cousins, Equal Protection: Immigrants’ Access to Healthcare and Welfare Benefits, 12 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 21 (2015).

Op-Ed: Protecting and serving U.S. immigrants [On Notarios] – Baltimore Sun

Op-Ed on Notarios: Liz Keyes, Protecting and serving U.S. immigrants – Baltimore Sun, Nov. 24, 2014.

New Article: “Opening Borders: African Americans and Latinos Through the Lens of Immigration”

New Article: Maritza Reyes, Opening Borders: African Americans and Latinos Through the Lens of Immigration, 17 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 1 (2014).  Abstract below:

African-American and Latino voter turnout during the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections hit record numbers. Polls show that the immigration debate influenced Latino voter turnout and preference. Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s voiced support of comprehensive immigration reform strengthened his lead among Latino voters in 2008 and, once in office, his executive policy of granting temporary protection to DREAMers solidified his lead among Latino voters in 2012. Both elections showed the power that minority groups can exert when they vote in support of the same candidate. If the demographic changes continue as currently estimated, African Americans and Latinos will contribute in large part to the making of the United States into a “majority-minority” nation and will play an increasingly important role in local and national politics. Therefore, it is important for Americans to become more inclusive of all minority groups and to expand discussions of race relations beyond the Black-White paradigm and discussions about immigration beyond the Latino-White paradigm.

As the polarized reactions to the Zimmerman verdict showed, there is much work to be done as the people of the United States continue the project of forming “a more perfect Union.” Honest assessments of how individuals and groups interact are crucial to opening borders and encouraging exchanges beyond socially constructed boundaries, like race, and racialized politics. African Americans and Latinos often compete with each other for political representation and other resources. In addition, the political consideration of immigration law and policy includes a racial dimension that is often camouflaged, but denial and silence about this reality do nothing to move the country forward. Therefore, immigration provides an opportunity to examine race relations and the potential for inter-group coalitions between African Americans and Latinos. For this reason, this Article also explores, through the lens of immigration, the role that race may play in the attitudes of African Americans and Latinos toward each other. One of the goals of this Article is to spark a candid dialogue that promotes a better understanding of race and its impact on interactions between African Americans and Latinos in the United States.

New Article: “Riding the Wave: Uplifting Labor Organizations Through Immigration Reform”

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.