This paper considers the relationship between two human rights discourses, refugee/asylum protection and the body of law that regulates deportations. It suggests that the development of rights against removal, as well as rights during and after removal, aids our understanding of the refugee protection regime and its future. This paper argues that emerging anti-deportation discourses should be systematically studied by those interested in the global refugee regime for three basic reasons: 1) the linkage between the two phenomena of refugee/asylum protection and deportation; 2) deportation human rights discourses embody framing models that might aid reform of the existing refugee protection regime; and 3) deportation discourses offer important rights protections that could strengthen the refugee and asylum regime. It concludes with consideration of how deportation discourses may strengthen protections for refugees, while also helping to develop more capacious and protective systems in the future.
Proposals to shape migration management policies recognize the need to involve a range of actors to implement humane and effective strategies. However, when observed through the lens of immigration detention, some migration policy trends raise challenging questions, particularly related to the involvement of non-state actors in migration control. This article critically assesses a range of new actors who have become involved in the deprivation of liberty of migrants and asylum seekers, describes the various forces that appear to be driving their engagement in immigration enforcement, and makes a series of recommendations concerning the role of non-state actors and detention in global efforts to manage international migration. These recommendations include ending the use the detention in international migration management schemes; limiting the involvement of private companies in immigration control measures; insisting that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) actively endorse the centrality of human rights in the Global Compact for Migration and amend its constitution so that it makes a clear commitment to international human rights standards; and encouraging nongovernmental organizations to carefully assess the services they provide when operating in detention situations to ensure that their work contributes to harm reduction.
This report presents detailed statistical information on the US Temporary Protected Status (TPS) populations from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. It reveals hardworking populations with strong family and other ties to the United States. In addition, high percentages have lived in the United States for 20 years or more, arrived as children, and have US citizen children.
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.
Given the density of the intergovernmental dynamics that shape the country’s immigration policy, it is imperative to develop a comprehensive strategy for immigration federalism. State and local involvement in immigration policy are varied but fall into two basic categories: 1) enforcement federalism, which concerns the extent to which localities should assist or resist federal removal policies, and 2) integration federalism, which encompasses measures designed to assist immigrants, regardless of status, to integrate in the United States. This essay offers four basic principles to frame any future federalism agenda on immigration.
This paper makes the case that the era of large-scale undocumented population growth has ended, and that there is a need to reform the US legal immigration system to preserve and extend US gains in reducing undocumented entries and the US undocumented population overall. The paper demonstrates that a broad and sustained reduction in undocumented immigration to the United States occurred in the 2008 to 2015 period. It shows that the Great Recession had little, if any, role in the transformation to zero population growth of the undocumented population. Rather, the undocumented population stopped growing because of increased scrutiny of air travel after 9/11, a decade and a half of accelerating efforts to reduce illegal entries across the southern border, long-term increases in the numbers leaving the population each year, and improved economic and demographic conditions in Mexico. These conditions are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
For too long, the policy debate over border enforcement has been split between those who believe the border can be sealed against illegal entry by force alone, and those who believe that any effort to do so is futile without expanding legal work opportunities. New evidence suggests that unauthorized migration across the southern border has plummeted, and border enforcement has been a significant reason for this decline. These research advances should help to inform a more rational public debate over border enforcement expenditures. In particular, Congress should take a careful look at the incremental gains that might come from additional spending on border enforcement. The evidence suggests that deterrence through enforcement, despite its successes in reducing illegal entry across the border, is producing diminishing returns due to three reasons. First, arrivals at the border are increasingly made up of asylum seekers from Central America, which is a population that is harder to deter because of the dangers they face at home, and in many cases not appropriate to deter because the United States has legal obligations to consider requests for asylum. Second, the majority of new additions to the US unauthorized population is now arriving on legal visas and then overstaying. And finally, among Mexican migrants, a growing percentage of repeat border crossers are parents with children left behind in the United States, a population that is far harder to deter. Finally, the administration could better inform this debate by releasing to scholars and the public the research it has sponsored in order to give Americans a fuller picture on border enforcement.
The United States has long struggled with the practice of detaining immigrant families and over time, most reform efforts have flagged, if not failed. This paper examines the impact of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) through an exploration of the family residential center for persons in immigration custody. The paper provides an inside look at how policymakers, at various points in the Obama administration, sought to roll back the administration’s most infirm practices and the fate of those efforts. It begins with a brief history of family detention in the United States, continues with a summary of the reforms undertaken both early and late in the Obama administration, and examines the significant challenges the administration faced and the less progressive positions it adopted during its first and second terms. The paper concludes with a discussion of reasons for the rapid reversal of the Obama administration’s previous reforms and provides recommendations to achieve a civil, civil system of immigration enforcement for families and all others, which means nothing less than the transformation of the immigrant detention system from a criminal to a civil paradigm. The need for such a transformation is all the more urgent in light of executive actions taken in the early days of the Trump administration.
Despite the fact that many low-wage, violation-ridden industries are disproportionately occupied by immigrants, labor standards and immigration reform have largely been treated as separate pieces of an otherwise interrelated puzzle. Not only is this view misguided, but this paper argues that strengthening labor standards enforcement would ensure that standards are upheld for all workers, immigrant and others. In addition, labor standards enforcement is instrumental to the erosion of sub-standard conditions in certain sectors, often referred to as the “secondary” labor market, that are associated with advanced market economies. Ensuring labor standards are upheld diminishes the incentive for employers to undercut wages by exploiting vulnerable workers, many of whom are immigrants. As this paper argues, strengthening enforcement must include not only “vertical” mechanisms, including strategic enforcement and penalizing and criminalizing egregious and repeated labor violators, but also “lateral” mechanisms, such as co-enforcement by workers and through worker and community organizations. The article illustrates the role of co-enforcement in labor standards through two case studies.
This paper reviews and critically evaluates the principle of family unity, a hallmark of US immigration policy over the past 50 years and the most important mechanism for immigration to the United States. Family unity is critical for promoting immigrant integration, social and economic well-being, and intergenerational mobility. However, several US policies and practices contribute to prolonged periods of family separation by restricting travel and effectively locking in a large number of people either inside or outside of the United States. Furthermore, increasingly aggressive enforcement practices undermine family unity for a large number of undocumented and mixed-status families.