United States

United States

Segmentation and the Role of Labor Standards Enforcement in Immigration Reform
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.

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Separated Families: Barriers to Family Reunification After Deportation
This paper outlines the complexities — and unlikelihood — of keeping families together when facing, or in the aftermath of deportation. After discussing the context that prevents reunification among immigrant families more generally, I outline several of the particular ways that families are divided when a member is deported. Drawing on case studies from longitudinal ethnographic research in Mexico and the United States, I describe: 1) the difficulties in successfully canceling deportation orders, 2) the particular limitations to family reunification for US citizen children when a parent is deported, and 3) the legal barriers to authorized return to the United States after deportation. I argue that without comprehensive immigration reform and concrete possibilities for relief, mixed-status and transnational families will continue to be divided. Existing laws do not adequately address family life and the diverse needs of individuals as members of families, creating a humanitarian crisis both within and beyond the borders of the United States. The paper concludes with recommendations for immigration policy reform and suggestions for restructuring administrative processes that directly impact those who have been deported and their family members.

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Immigration Adjudication: The Missing “Rule of Law”
US immigration removal procedures need reform, and systematic flaws in the removal adjudication system must be addressed. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses every tool in its arsenal to expeditiously remove people from the United States, including by bypassing judicial hearings. In “ministerial” or expedited forms of removal, there is no courtroom, no administrative judge, and rarely any opportunity for legal counsel to participate or for federal judicial review. In these settings, the rule of law is entirely within the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who serve as both prosecutor and judge. This paper argues that the rule of law must be restored to the US removal adjudication system, and it proposes ways in which this can be accomplished. Specific recommendations include the necessity of clear enforcement priorities, sufficient resources to allow for fair adjudication, a statute of limitations for immigration violations, and the right to counsel.

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National Interests and Common Ground in the US Immigration Debate: How to Legalize the US Immigration System and Permanently Reduce its Undocumented Population
This paper identifies potential common ground in the US immigration debate, including the national interests that underlie US immigration and refugee policies, and broad public support for a legal and orderly immigration system that serves compelling national interests. It focuses on the cornerstone of immigration reform, the legal immigration system, and addresses the widespread belief that broad reform will incentivize illegal migration and ultimately lead to another large undocumented population.

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The Promise of a Subject-Centered Approach to Understanding Immigration Noncompliance
This paper examines the importance of applying a subject-centered approach to understanding immigration noncompliance and to developing effective, ethical, and equitable immigration policies. In general, a subject-centered approach focuses on the beliefs, values, and perceptions of individuals whose behavior the law seeks to regulate. This approach has been widely used in non-immigration law contexts to produce a more nuanced understanding of legal noncompliance. By contrast, the subject-centered approach has been an overlooked tool in the study of immigration noncompliance. This paper argues that a subject-centered understanding of why people obey or disobey the law can advance public knowledge and inform immigration policy in important ways. Specifically, the paper considers how the use of this approach might help us: (1) recognize the basic humanity and moral agency of unauthorized immigrants, (2) appreciate not only direct costs of immigration enforcement policies, but also their indirect and long-term costs, and (3) develop new and innovative strategies to achieving policy goals.

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You are Not Welcome Here Anymore: Restoring Support for Refugee Resettlement in the Age of Trump
This paper analyzes the restrictionist logic that informs the Trump administration’s handling of immigration policy, and explores some of the underlying cultural, philosophical, and political conditions that inspired support for Trump. It contends that the Clash of Civilizations (CoC) paradigm is a useful lens to help understand the positions that President Trump has taken with respect to international affairs broadly, and specifically in his approach to immigration policy. The paper will focus primarily on Trump’s approach to refugee resettlement during his campaign and the early days of his administration. While there are unique aspects of the contemporary reaction against refugee resettlement, it is rooted in a much longer history that extends back to the World War II period. The paper explores this historical backdrop, and helps to clarify the reception of refugees after the fall of the Soviet Union. It also helps to explain how and why a CoC paradigm has become ascendant in the Trump administration. The CoC paradigm is at its core pre-political, and the policy prescriptions that follow from it are more effect than cause. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for restoring support to the US refugee resettlement program, bolstering foreign aid and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (which are essential to the program’s success), and engaging the cultural underpinnings of opposition to this program.

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Immigration Policy and Agriculture: Possible Directions for the Future
President Trump issued executive orders after taking office in January 2017 that could lead to the removal of many of the 11 million unauthorized foreigners, including one million who work in US agriculture. Agriculture in the western United States especially has long relied on newcomers to fill seasonal farm jobs. The slowdown in Mexico-US migration since 2008-09 means that there are fewer flexible newcomers to supplement the current workforce. Farm employers are responding with worker bonuses, productivity-increasing tools, mechanization, and guest workers. Several factors suggest that the United States may be poised to embark on another large-scale guest worker program for agriculture. If it does, farmers should begin to pay payroll taxes on the wages of guest workers. This will foster mechanization and development in the workers’ communities of origin if payroll taxes are divided equally between departing workers and commodity-specific boards to increase the competitiveness of production in the United States. The economic incentives provided by payroll taxes could help to usher in a new and better era of farm labor.

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