Irregular / Unauthorized / Undocumented Migration

Irregular / Unauthorized / Undocumented Migration

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.

Read More

The Separation of Immigrant Families: Historical Anecdotes

the separation of families has been a problem within the US immigration system for many years. This post highlights some of the stories preserved in the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) Bureau of Immigration Records in the CMS archive when family separation was in the headlines and enforcement of immigration laws was seen as protecting American jobs.

Read More

Address by Most Rev. John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington
The Most Reverend John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, addressed the CMS conference "Promoting Just and Inclusive Communities in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana: A “Whole of Community” Approach to Immigrants and Refugees" in Cincinnati, Ohio from July 16-18, 2018. Bp. Stowe addressed the cruel enforcement actions against immigrants and refugees, the need for comprehensive immigration reform, and the work of local and regional groups to protect and care for the vulnerable populations impacted by harsh government policies.

Read More

An Examination of Wage and Income Inequality within the American Farmworker Community
This article explores the reasons for earning inequalities among farmworkers in the United States and finds that legal status, rather than foreign birth, predicts lower earnings. Using national data from the Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Worker Survey, the paper analyzes differences in earnings based on factors such as gender, youth, being foreign-born, being unauthorized, being a migrant worker, or being a border region worker. It finds that gender and youth are the most reliable predictors of lower farmworker earnings, and that seasonal farmworkers are among the lowest earning workers. It also confirms that workers lacking authorized status earn less than those who have legal status but surprisingly finds that foreign-born US citizens actually earn more than their US-born counterparts. It recommends the following state and local policies to decrease inequality in earnings for farmworkers: 1) raise the minimum wage, 2) expand compensation coverage, 3) expand overtime laws to cover farmworkers, 4) improve living conditions for onsite farmworkers, and 5) create collective bargaining rights for farmworkers. Federal policies should also increase legalization opportunities for farmworkers as this will positively affect pay and working conditions.

Read More

Blockading Asylum Seekers at Ports of Entry at the US-Mexico Border Puts Them at Increased Risk of Exploitation, Violence, and Death
Although the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has insisted that asylum-seekers pass through ports-of-entry (POEs), rather than between them, it has denied potential non-Mexican asylum seekers access to the inspection area at POEs, and left them stranded in Mexico. This essay examines the implications of the turn away approach CBP has adopted in responding to those seeking asylum at POEs on the international boundary line.

Read More

Family Matters: Claiming Rights across the US-Mexico Migratory System

Despite the fact that family unity is a core goal of the US immigration system, various US immigration policies prolong and force family separation. This paper examines the process by which Mexican binational families assert their legal rights to family unity through the mediating role of Mexican consulates. The paper analyzes an administrative database within the Mexican consular network that documents migrant legal claims resulting from family separation (particularly child support and custody claims), along with findings from 21 interviews with consular staff and community organizations in El Paso, Raleigh, and San Francisco. It finds that the resolution of binational family claims is, in part, dependent on the institutional infrastructure that has developed at local, state, and federal levels, as well as on the capacity of receiving and sending states and the binational structures they establish. The paper recommends collaboration in identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses within consular networks; development of formal protocols for consular staff and officials to work with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and lawyers in resolving legal claims; limiting the role of local officials in the enforcement of US immigration law; and sharing the best practices of the Mexican consular network with consulates from other countries.

Read More