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  • Author: Jacqueline Maria Hagan, Ricardo Martinez-Schuldt, Alyssa Peavey, Deborah Weissman
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) created an immigration system favoring the immigration of spouses, children, and parents of US citizens, thereby establishing family unity as the cornerstone of US immigration policy. Despite this historical emphasis on family unity, backlogs and limited visas for non-immediate relatives of US citizens and legal permanent residents, the militarization of the US-Mexico border, punitive measures for those who enter without inspection, such as the forced separation of children from their parents at the US border, and an aggressive policy of deportation have made it more difficult for members of Mexican binational families to unify. How do members of Mexican binational families manage the hardships that result from US immigration policies that prolong and force family separation? Immigrants and return migrants alike may not be aware of their rights and the legal remedies that exist to enforce them. Structural barriers such as poverty, legal status, fear of deportation, lack of proficiency in English, and lack of familiarity with government bureaucracies no doubt prevent many migrants in the United States and return migrants in Mexico from coming forward to request legal assistance and relief in the courts. Despite these barriers, when it comes to family matters, members of some Mexican binational families can and do assert their rights. In this article, we analyze an administrative database of the Department of Legal Protection of the Mexican consular network that documents migrant legal claims resulting from family separation, along with findings from 21 interviews with consular staff and community organizations in three consular jurisdictions — El Paso, Raleigh, and San Francisco — to investigate the sociolegal processes of claims. Our investigation centers on the mediating role the Mexican state — via its consular network — has developed to assist binational families as they attempt to assert their rights and resolve child support and child custody problems resulting from prolonged and forced family separation. We find that the resolution of binational family claims in part depends on the institutional infrastructure that has developed at local, state, and federal levels, along with the commitment and capacity of the receiving and sending states and the binational structures they establish. These binational structures transcend the limitations of national legal systems to achieve and implement family rights and obligations across borders.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Immigration, Border Control, Family
  • Political Geography: United States, North America, Mexico
  • Author: J.Anna Cabot
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: Violence in Mexico rose sharply in response to President Felipe Calderón's military campaign against drug cartels which began in late 2006. As a consequence, the number of Mexicans who have sought asylum in the United States has grown significantly. In 2013, Mexicans made up the second largest group of defensive asylum seekers (those in removal proceedings) in the United States, behind only China (EOIR 2014b). Yet between 2008 and 2013, the grant rate for Mexican asylum seekers in immigration court fell from 23 percent to nine percent (EOIR 2013, 2014b). This paper examines—from the perspective of an attorney who represented Mexican asylum seekers on the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas—the reasons for low asylum approval rates for Mexicans despite high levels of violence in and flight from Mexico from 2008 to 2013. It details the obstacles faced by Mexican asylum seekers along the US-Mexico border, including placement in removal proceedings, detention, evidentiary issues, narrow legal standards, and (effectively) judicial notice of country conditions in Mexico. The paper recommends that asylum seekers at the border be placed in affirmative proceedings (before immigration officials), making them eligible for bond. It also proposes increased oversight of immigration judges.
  • Topic: Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Mexico
  • Author: Walter A. Ewing
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, the guiding strategy of immigration enforcement along the US-Mexico border has been “prevention through deterrence,” or stopping unauthorized immigrants from entering the country rather than apprehending those who have already crossed the border. “Prevention through deterrence” has entailed a massive concentration of enforcement personnel and resources along the border and at ports of entry. It has also led to the detention and removal of increasing numbers of unauthorized immigrants and far greater use of “expedited removal.” As gauged by the doubling in size of the unauthorized immigrant population over the same period, “prevention through deterrence” has not been a successful enforcement strategy. Moreover, it has funneled more migrants to their death in the deserts and mountains of the southwest as they (and smugglers) resort to increasingly dangerous routes to evade border enforcement. In addition, there has been public concern over ethnic profiling and the use of extraordinary authority by Border Patrol agents to conduct arbitrary searches within 100 miles of the border. Despite these problems, the federal government continues to spend billions of dollars each year on the “prevention through deterrence” strategy. A first step in overcoming the deficiencies of this border enforcement strategy is to strengthen accountability within the Border Patrol, so that allegations of excessive force and abuse are investigated and adjudicated promptly and appropriately. The culture of the Border Patrol must be transformed to foster respect for rights. More broadly, the mission of the Border Patrol should be to capture dangerous individuals and to disrupt the operations of the transnational criminal organizations that traffic people, drugs, guns, and money. In addition, providing more pathways to legal entry through immigration reform would enhance border security by attenuating the flow of unauthorized immigrants within which dangerous criminals or terrorists can hide. Finally, the US government should pursue economic policies to promote development in Mexico and Central American countries in order to address the underlying causes of migration.
  • Topic: Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Jeremy Slack, Daniel E. Martinez, Scott Whiteford, Emily Peiffer
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: The Consequence Delivery System (CDS) is a suite of border and immigration enforcement programs designed to increase the penalties associated with unauthorized migration in order to convince people not to return (Rosenblum 2013). Despite its inauguration in 2011, many aspects of the CDS are not new. CDS does however, mark a shift from the deterrent strategy that, in the 1990s that relied heavily on the dangers of the natural terrain to dissuade unauthorized border crossers, to one that actively punishes, incarcerates, and criminalizes them. This article presents findings from the Migrant Border Crossing Study, a random sample survey of 1,100 recently deported migrants in six cities in Mexico conducted between 2009 and 2012. It examines the demographics and family ties of deportees, their experiences with immigration enforcement practices and programs under the CDS, and how these programs have reshaped contemporary migration and deportation along the US-Mexico border. The article covers programs such as criminal prosecutions of illegal entries under Operation Streamline, and the Alien Transfer and Exit Program (ATEP) or lateral repatriation program which returns immigrants to different locations from where they illegally entered. In relationship to these programs, it considers issues of due process and treatment of deportees in US custody. It also examines interior enforcement under Secure Communities, which, during the study period, comprised part of the overarching border security plan, and screened virtually everybody arrested in the United States against immigration databases.
  • Topic: Crime, Demographics, Immigration, Border Control, Reform
  • Political Geography: Mexico, United States of America
  • Author: Jacqueline Hagan, Jean Luc Demonsant, Sergio Chávez
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: Most human capital and migration studies classify migrants with limited formal education as "unskilled," despite substantial skills developed through job and life experiences. Drawing on a binational multi-stage research project that involved interviews with 320 Mexican migrants and return migrants in North Carolina and Guanajuato, Mexico, we identify the lifelong human capital they acquired and transferred throughout their careers and discover that these include not only basic education and English, but also technical and social skills and competences acquired informally on and off the job throughout the course of one's life. We further find that the learning and transfer of skills is a lifelong, gendered process, reflecting the different social contexts and jobs in which men and women learn. In this paper we document several mobility pathways associated with the acquisition and transfer of skills across the migratory circuit, including reskilling, occupational mobility, job jumping, and entrepreneurship.
  • Topic: Immigration
  • Political Geography: Mexico, North Carolina