New Article: Liz Keyes, Unconventional Refugees, 67 Am. Univ. L. Rev. 1 (2017). Abstract below:
Refugees are a flash point for political divisions in the United States and abroad. The enormous personal, moral, and legal challenges posed by the displacement of refugees around the world reveal the dire inadequacies of our current policies toward refugee protection. Children running to border agents at the U.S. southern border are treated as a security threat to be deterred, instead of a vulnerable population needing some level of protection. The numbers of people seeking safety in the United States, while not objectively high, places further strain on an already under-resourced heavily burdened immigration system, which at the end of the day, offers only partial hope to some of those seeking safety. Simply put, our current laws are simply not designed to offer meaningful protection that fits the contours of new waves of forced migration.
This article breaks open a debate that has been caught between the binaries of protection versus deterrence, and instead asks what framework could effectively serve multiple goals, both short-term protection and long-term deterrence and public safety. To do this, it questions our exclusive focus on the protection afforded by the Refugee Convention, and considers what rights to protection might be owed to “unconventional refugees.”
The Refugee Convention’s principle of non-refoulement (or non-return to the persecuting country) imposes significant duties on receiving nations like the United States, while its implementation requires intensive individualized determinations that create great demands on an overstretched immigration system. Its high value comes from the path it creates for refugees to ultimately access U.S. citizenship, and the value necessarily entails a process of great detail and depth. This article considers whether a complementary form of protection for unconventional refugees is appropriate—protection that is perhaps less valuable, but also less complex to administer and easier for the refugees to access.
The article examines precedents in U.S. immigration laws for such a reimagined form of protection, and examines a series of justifications, both philosophical and pragmatic, for such protection. The world is undeniably experiencing a moment where even the Refugee Convention meets considerable political opposition, so the project of developing a new framework is a long-term one, but it is a project that merits thoughtful consideration starting now. The principle of non-refoulement was once novel, and now constitutes a powerful principle of international law. A new principle for protecting unconventional refugees may also be possible, but only if we begin the task of imagining it.
Nathaniel Weixel, Trump officials allow Puerto Ricans to use food stamps for hot food, The Hill, October 3, 2017. [“The Trump administration has granted a waiver so that Puerto Ricans can use food stamp benefits to purchase prepared food in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.”]
News Article: Bill Quigley, Ten Examples of Resistance to Government Raids, Huffington Post (Feb. 22, 2017).
News Article: Ronald Brownstein, Federal Anti-Poverty Programs Primarily Help the GOP’s Base, The Atlantic (Feb. 16, 2017).
Posted in Economic Mobility, Family, Food, Health, Inequality, Latinos, Measuring Poverty, Politics, Race, Reports, Uncategorized, Wealthy, Welfare
Posted in Family, Food, Gender Issues, Inequality, Latinos, Measuring Poverty, Politics, Race, Reports, Uncategorized, Welfare
Posted in Access to Justice, Articles, Conferences, Criminalization of Poverty, Economic Mobility, Education, Family, Inequality, Latinos, Politics, Public Defenders, Race, Socio-Economic Rights, Uncategorized
New Article: Jennifer J. Lee, “U.S. Workers Need Not Apply: Challenging Low-Wage Guest Worker Programs,” 28 Stan.L.& Pol’y Rev. (forthcoming).
With immigration reform stalled once again by United States v. Texas, many turn to the expansion of guest worker programs as a solution to our immigration woes. Low-wage foreign guest workers can fill “bad jobs” that no U.S. workers want. This article shows that guest worker programs are harmful to all low-wage workers by challenging this commonly accepted narrative and exploring how such programs create a cycle that fuels both U.S. worker shortages and the necessity for guest workers.
Scholars have amply criticized guest worker programs because they impair the rights of guest workers and contravene liberal egalitarian principles of social membership. These criticisms about how foreign workers are treated on U.S. soil, however, have been insufficient to tip the balance against these programs. What is missing from this debate is an attempt to understand why guest worker programs persist despite their many flaws. The legal framework broadly delegates power to employers to create U.S. worker shortages and the alternative of the highly productive and compliant guest worker. Cultural narratives operate to mask this reality by tying these phenomena to cultural explanations about low-wage workers. Together they create a climate that is favorable to guest worker programs.
This article’s close examination of these problems exposes why guest worker programs should not be a ready solution for immigration reform. It suggests a new approach to challenging such programs by broadening the lens to consider the plight of the U.S. worker. The U.S. worker can help shift the legal and social norms surrounding such programs by revealing how the fate of all low-wage workers is interconnected by government-enabled degradation of low-wage jobs. This approach suggests new advocacy strategies to eliminate guest worker programs in their current format in order to protect the dignity of all low-wage workers.
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].