New Report: Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at
American University et al., Extending Temporary Protected Status for Honduras: Country Conditions and U.S. Legal Requirements (Nov. 2017). Abstract below:
In January 1999, the U.S. government announced the designation of Honduras for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This designation was premised on the significant disruptions and damage caused by Hurricane Mitch, which had ravaged Honduras in late October 1998. TPS for Honduras has been extended over the years, and the current period of designation is set to expire in early January 2018. In the current political moment, there is concern about whether this TPS designation will be extended once again.
This report provides a background on TPS, and also undertakes a detailed examination of the justifications offered over the years for extending TPS for Honduras. Each of these past extension decisions concluded, as required by the TPS statute, that Honduras is not able to adequately handle the return of its nationals who are residing in the U.S. with TPS. Our analysis reveals that the U.S. government has premised these past extension decisions on six categories of factors: climate and environment; economy; infrastructure; public health; safety and security; and governance.
The report proceeds to assess these same factors in present-day Honduras. Honduras remains extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, which have compromised the country’s infrastructure and stalled recovery efforts. Serious challenges persist for the Honduran economy, including high levels of unemployment and underemployment. Honduras also suffers from a severe shortage of housing, higher-than-average levels of food insecurity, and limited capacity in the health sector. Finally, the security situation in Honduras continues to deteriorate, fueling displacement, and placing strains on a government already weakened by corruption and impunity. These findings compel the conclusion that TPS for Honduras should be extended.
Lee, Jennifer J., Redefining the Legality of Undocumented Work (September 21, 2017). California Law Review, Forthcoming; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3040872 [Abstract below]
Undocumented workers face a new harsh reality under the Trump administration. Federal law’s prohibition of undocumented work has facilitated exploitation because workers fear being brought to the attention of immigration authorities. The current administration’s aggressive stance towards worksite enforcement will only exacerbate abuses against undocumented workers, such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions, or human trafficking.
Given the current climate, this article explores how states and localities can resist the federal prohibition by legalizing undocumented work. We live in times of resistance, with “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Seizing on this moment, state and local resistance can offer more immediate accountability for addressing the plight of undocumented workers while disrupting the ways in which the federal immigration framework defines the illegality of undocumented work. To start, this article reviews how the incongruence between the lived experiences of undocumented workers and the federal immigration framework creates an underclass of workers. Next, it develops a typology of state and local resistance measures that recognize, protect, or promote undocumented work and considers whether these measures can succeed given concerns about federalism and governmental retaliation.
This article concludes by discussing why state and local resistance is worthwhile. Beyond the palpable benefits of addressing exploitation, state and local resistance can help undocumented workers overcome exclusion by increasing their sense of belonging. Community members too benefit from the strengthening of workers’ rights and the contributions to the local economy. At the same time, such resistance changes social norms and provides a powerful critique of the federal prohibition on undocumented work. Ultimately, this article is the first to examine how state and local resistance focused on undocumented work can lend itself to building social movements that promote immigrant inclusion by redefining the legality of undocumented work.
Muneer I. Ahmad, Beyond Earned Citizenship, 52 Harv. L. Rev 258 (2017). [Abstract Below]
For more than a decade, a single rubric for legalization of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States has dominated every major proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, and continues to do so today: earned citizenship. Introduced as a rhetorical move intended to distinguish such proposals from amnesty, the earned citizenship frame has shaped the substantive
provisions of the legislation by conditioning legalization on the performance of
economic, cultural, and civic metrics. In order to regularize status, earned citizenship
would require undocumented individuals to demonstrate their ongoing societal contributions at multiple intervals over a probationary period of many years, and they would remain subject to deportation for failure to do so. Such a behavioral approach expresses a particular moral basis for legalization and a normative vision of citizenship, and it aspires to place millions of people on a path to citizenship. And yet, despite the centrality of earned citizenship in contemporary immigration debates and the magnitude of its ambition, there has
been virtually no scholarly treatment of its substance, ideology, or normative
claims. While the election of Donald Trump has rendered progressive immigration
reform improbable in the next several years, this is all the more reason to examine the failed logic and structure of recent reform proposals. This Article explores the origins and illuminates the deep structure of earned citizenship, and it critically evaluates its virtues and shortcomings as matters of politics, morality, policy, and law. Although laudable for its inclusionary promise, earned citizenship suffers from serious and previously unaddressed theoretical and conceptual flaws that reinscribe the moral claims of restrictionists, illuminate and imperil our larger understandings of citizenship, and invite consideration of alternative frameworks for legalization. The rightward electoral shift has closed a window for progressive reform for now, but when it is next pried open, a different moral and legal framework for legalization may be required.
New Article: Llezlie Green Coleman, Rendered Invisible: African American Low-Wage Workers and the Workplace Exploitation Paradigm, 60 Howard L.J. 61 (2016). Abstract below:
The narrative of low-wage worker exploitation has increasingly narrowed in focus to reflect the experiences of undocumented immigrant workers whose immigration status makes them particularly vulnerable to wage theft and other denials of their substantive workplace rights. Indeed, much of the scholarship in this area rests solidly at the intersection of immigrant justice and employment law. This article disrupts this paradigm by arguing that this limited narrative has rendered African American low-wage workers invisible. It also draws from the voices of low-wage worker advocates who have borrowed from current activism to announce that #BlackWorkersMatter. Given the role of paradigms in defining which issues merit our attention, analysis, and assessment, this article argues for a shift in the scholarly conversation to consider not only the historical reasons for the distancing of African Americans from worker advocacy, but also the current dynamics that have facilitated this phenomenon. This article draws from critical race theorists’ black/white binary analysis to consider whether there exists an immigrant/non-immigrant binary paradigm in the analyses of low-wage worker exploitation. Finally, it considers the particular vulnerabilities and disadvantages this paradigm creates for African American workers.
News Article: Patrick Marion Bradley, “The Invisibles: The Cruel Catch-22 of being Poor with No ID“, The Washington Post, June 15, 2017.
New Article: Steven Sacco, In Defense of the Eligible Undocumented New Yorker’s State Constitutional Right to Public Benefits, 40 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 181 (2016). Abstract below:
Under current New York State law, undocumented New Yorkers, (those residing in the U.S. without the federal government’s permission), are ineligible for most state-funded means-tested public benefits, such as Medicaid and Safety Net Assistance. Articles XVII and I of the New York State Constitution nonetheless create a state mandate to provide for the eligible “needy” and ensure equal protection under the law, respectively. This article proposes that, under these state constitutional provisions, financially eligible undocumented residents of New York State possess an affirmative right to receive state-funded public benefits. Policy arguments against this entitlement are unfounded and barriers to enforcement of the right of undocumented New Yorkers to access state benefits are born of politics, not of the law.