Law / Legislation

Law / Legislation

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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Immigration Detention, Inc.
This paper demonstrates the influence of economic inequality on system-wide US immigration detention policy and on individual detention decisions. The paper describes how for-profit prisons have impacted the immigration system through promoting wide-scale detention, which has led to increased profitability in the private prison sector and influence over policymakers. Next, it details the mechanisms by which economic inequality dictates the likelihood and length of detention in individual cases, through policies of keeping detention beds full and the use of monetary bond requirements for release from detention. The paper raises troubling issues of democratic governance and the commodification of traditional governmental functions. It concludes with recommendations for reform, including lessening the use of private prison companies for immigration detention, promoting the presumption of liberty in the immigration detention system to push back against large-scale detention, and reducing the use of monetary bond requirements as a condition of release.

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CMSOnAir | His Eminence Joseph William Cardinal Tobin
This episode features a conversation with His Eminence Joseph William Cardinal Tobin, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. In this interview with CMS’s Executive Director, Donald Kerwin, Cardinal Tobin discusses Catholic teaching on migrants and refugees, developments in immigration and refugee policy, ideological polarization surrounding immigration in the United States, the provision of sanctuary to migrants, and how faith communities can become more involved on immigration issues.

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In Search of Protection: Unaccompanied Minors in Italy
This paper examines the issue of unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy and how Italy has responded to their need for protection. It contains five complementary sections. Section 1 provides a statistical overview of unaccompanied minors in Italy between 2014 and 2017. In particular, it discusses unaccompanied minors who request political asylum, those in government reception facilities who do not, and those who have left reception centers without seeking asylum and have become “untraceable.” The second section addresses why unaccompanied minors leave their countries of origin and how they transit to Italy and elsewhere. This section highlights the role of families in the decision to migrate and the migration process. It distinguishes unaccompanied minors who largely seek to “escape from” particular conditions from other migrants who are in search of a better life for themselves and their families. The third section covers Italian reception policies and policymaking challenges, with a particular focus on implementation of Italy’s System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. The section argues for reception procedures and interventions that are tailored to the particular vulnerabilities and needs of unaccompanied minors. Section 4 offers a psychosocial analysis of the phenomenon of unaccompanied child migration. It describes strategies to build the competencies, sense of agency, and resilience of unaccompanied minors. The final section details the demands and requirements of acting in the “best interests” of unaccompanied minors. It ends by setting forth minimum principles of protection for unaccompanied minors, which should inform both the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.

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Immigration Detention: Recent Trends and Scholarship
Over many years, human rights and government watchdog organizations have reported on appalling conditions and human rights abuses in immigration detention centers, particularly privately-owned and/or operated facilities. These conditions have included inadequate medical and mental health care, physical and verbal...

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Immigration Governance for the Twenty-First Century
The system of US immigration governance is administered by several agencies and departments across the federal government, with no clear chain of command or single department that captures the reach of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This paper studies the administration of immigration law and policy while looking towards immigration governance for the future. It opens with a historical overview that provides the backdrop for the current fragmented system of immigration governance. It then breaks down the missions and functions of the Immigration and Nationality Act by the lead agencies tasked with these responsibilities. The paper concludes with an analysis of options for improving the current system, such as: reorganizing and expanding governance by creating an Interagency Council on Immigration interagency; consolidating governance by creating an independent immigration agency; or tweaking the current system through critical reforms.

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