United States

United States

Immigration and the War on Crime: Law and Order Politics and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) continues to shape debates on the relationship between immigration and crime. This paper considers the ways in which the War on Crime — specifically mass incarceration policies — reshaped the immigration debate. Through a historical analysis of the policies leading up to IIRIRA, this paper sheds light on the under-studied role that crime politics of the Republican and the Democratic parties alike played in shaping IIRIRA by linking unauthorized migration with criminality and laying the groundwork to track, detain, and deport broad categories of immigrants, not just those with criminal convictions.

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The Besieged US Refugee Protection System: Why Temporary Protected Status Matters

This essay examines and challenges the Trump administration’s recent changes to US immigration policy, particularly the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for certain countries such as Haiti and Nicaragua. According to author Donald Kerwin, CMS’s executive director, “TPS represents a pillar of the besieged US refugee protection system because it honors, however imperfectly, the well-established responsibility of states to offer safe haven to persons who would be endangered if returned to their home countries.” However, the Trump administration has sought to “make America great again” by abandoning a central feature of the American identity – its openness to the world’s oppressed, persecuted, and imperiled.

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DHS Overestimates Visa Overstays for 2016; Overstay Population Growth Near Zero During the Year

This paper compares US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates for visa overstays in fiscal year 2016 with estimates from the Center for Migration Studies (CMS). It finds that DHS has overstated the number of people from roughly 30 counties who have overstayed their temporary visas, half of them participants in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In particular, the DHS estimates for 2016 include significant numbers of temporary visa holders who left the undocumented population, but whose departure could not be verified. Thus, the actual number of visa overstays in 2016 was about half of the number estimated by DHS.  The paper also shows that the population growth of visa overstays was near zero in 2016 after adjusting DHS estimates to account for unrecorded departures. The country-specific figures in this paper should help DHS improve verification of departures of temporary visitors and also to reassess decisions about admission to the VWP.

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