Citizenship / Naturalization

Citizenship / Naturalization

From IIRIRA to Trump: Connecting the Dots to the Current US Immigration Policy Crisis
This paper examines the effects of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). It traces the evolution of US immigration law and policy from IIRIRA’s implementation, to recent measures that seek to diminish legal immigration, restrict access to the US asylum system, reduce due process protections for non-citizens in removal proceedings, criminalize immigration violations, and expand the role of states and localities in immigration enforcement. The paper draws from a collection of papers published in the Journal on Migration and Human Security on IIRIRA’s multi-faceted consequences, as well as extensive legal analysis of IIRIRA and the current administration’s immigration agenda.

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The Case for a National Legalization Program without Legislation or Executive Action

This paper presents the results of a study that finds that as many as two million unauthorized immigrants in the United States could have a path to permanent legal status. However, these immigrants may not know that they are eligible for legal status or be able to afford the costs. The two million figure is drawn from an analysis of data on 4,070 screened unauthorized immigrants from 12 states. The study highlights the profound impact that a national project to screen for legal status would have on the US unauthorized population, mixed-status families, and US communities, including growth in home ownership and increased tax revenues. The paper recommends the following: (1) a massive, nationwide legal screening and legalization effort; (2) a substantial increase in high-quality, low-cost legal service providers; (3) increased legal training focused on immigration law and eligibility screening; and (4) extensive community outreach and education, especially among under-resourced populations.

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The Regularization of Zimbabwean Migrants: A Case of Permanent Temporariness

In this essay, Sergio Carciotto of the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) examines South Africa’s temporary labor migration laws and how they apply to migrant workers from Zimbabwe.  Carciotto makes the case that low-skilled workers, such as Zimbabweans, are not provided the benefits that high-skilled workers receive, particularly the opportunity to become permanent residents. As such, they are without leverage in the workplace and are subject to exploitation. Carciotto concludes that low-skilled workers who enter on a temporary basis should be allowed to apply for permanent residency after a certain time, in order to avoid situations of indentured servitude. In other words, the longer a worker remains, “the stronger their claim to full membership in society and to the enjoyment of the same rights as citizens.” He also states that such a policy should be included in the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, currently being negotiated by United Nations member states.

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Moving Beyond Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Trump: Principles, Interests, and Policies to Guide Long-Term Reform of the US Immigration System
This paper introduces a special collection of 15 articles that chart a course for long-term reform of the US immigration system. The papers look beyond recent legislative debates and the current era of rising nationalism and restrictionism to outline the elements of a forward-looking immigration policy that would serve the nation’s interests, honor its liberal democratic ideals, promote the full participation of immigrants in the nation’s life, and exploit the opportunities offered by an increasingly interdependent world.

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