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  • Author: Robert Warren
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: This report presents estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in 2018, highlighting demographic changes since 2010. The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) compiled these estimates based primarily on information collected in the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The annual CMS estimates of undocumented residents for 2010 to 2018 include all the detailed characteristics collected in the ACS. [1] A summary of the CMS estimation procedures, as well as a discussion of the plausibility of the estimates, is provided in the Appendix. The total undocumented population in the United States continued to decline in 2018, primarily because large numbers of undocumented residents returned to Mexico. From 2010 to 2018, a total of 2.6 million Mexican nationals left the US undocumented population; [2] about 1.1 million, or 45 percent of them, returned to Mexico voluntarily. The decline in the US undocumented population from Mexico since 2010 contributed to declines in the undocumented population in many states. Major findings include the following: The total US undocumented population was 10.6 million in 2018, a decline of about 80,000 from 2017, and a drop of 1.2 million, or 10 percent, since 2010. Since 2010, about two-thirds of new arrivals have overstayed temporary visas and one-third entered illegally across the border. The undocumented population from Mexico fell from 6.6 million in 2010 to 5.1 million in 2018, a decline of 1.5 million, or 23 percent. Total arrivals in the US undocumented population from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — despite high numbers of Border Patrol apprehensions of these populations in recent years — remained at about the same level in 2018 as in the previous four years. [3] The total undocumented population in California was 2.3 million in 2018, a decline of about 600,000 compared to 2.9 million in 2010. The number from Mexico residing in the state dropped by 605,000 from 2010 to 2018. The undocumented population in New York State fell by 230,000, or 25 percent, from 2010 to 2018. Declines were largest for Jamaica (−51 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (−50 percent), Ecuador (−44 percent), and Mexico (−34 percent). The results shown here reinforce the view that improving social and economic conditions in sending countries would not only reduce pressure at the border but also likely cause a large decline in the undocumented population. Two countries had especially large population changes — in different directions — in the 2010 to 2018 period. The population from Poland dropped steadily, from 93,000 to 39,000, while the population from Venezuela increased from 65,000 to 172,000. Almost all the increase from Venezuela occurred after 2014.
  • Topic: Migration, Border Control, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • 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: Daniel Kanstroom
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: This article considers the relationship between two human rights discourses (and two specific legal regimes): refugee and asylum protection and the evolving body of international law that regulates expulsions and deportations. Legal protections for refugees and asylum seekers are, of course, venerable, well-known, and in many respects still cherished, if challenged and perhaps a bit frail. Anti-deportation discourse is much newer, multifaceted, and evolving. It is in many respects a young work in progress. It has arisen in response to a rising tide of deportations, and the worrisome development of massive, harsh deportation machinery in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Australia, and South Africa, among others. This article’s main goal is to consider how these two discourses do and might relate to each other. More specifically, it suggests that the development of procedural and substantive rights against removal — as well as rights during and after removal — aids our understanding of the current state and possible future of the refugee protection regime. The article’s basic thesis is this: The global refugee regime, though challenged both theoretically and in practice, must be maintained and strengthened. Its historical focus on developing criteria for admission into safe states, on protections against expulsion (i.e., non-refoulement), and on regimes of temporary protection all remain critically important. However, a focus on other protections for all noncitizens facing deportation is equally important. Deportation has become a major international system that transcends the power of any single nation-state. Its methods have migrated from one regime to another; its size and scope are substantial and expanding; its costs are enormous; and its effects frequently constitute major human rights violations against millions who do not qualify as refugees. In recent years there has been increasing reliance by states on generally applicable deportation systems, led in large measure by the United States’ radical 25 year-plus experiment with large-scale deportation. Europe has also witnessed a rising tide of deportation, some of which has developed in reaction to European asylum practices. Deportation has been facilitated globally (e.g., in Australia) by well-funded, efficient (but relatively little known) intergovernmental idea sharing, training, and cooperation. This global expansion, standardization, and increasing intergovernmental cooperation on deportation has been met by powerful — if in some respects still nascent — human rights responses by activists, courts, some political actors, and scholars. It might seem counterintuitive to think that emerging ideas about deportation protections could help refugees and asylum seekers, as those people by definition often have greater rights protections both in admission and expulsion. However, the emerging anti-deportation discourses should be systematically studied by those interested in the global refugee regime for three basic reasons. First, what Matthew Gibney has described as “the deportation turn” has historically been deeply connected to anxiety about asylum seekers. Although we lack exact figures of the number of asylum seekers who have been subsequently expelled worldwide, there seems little doubt that it has been a significant phenomenon and will be an increasingly important challenge in the future. The two phenomena of refugee/asylum protections and deportation, in short, are now and have long been linked. What has sometimes been gained through the front door, so to speak, may be lost through the back door. Second, current deportation human rights discourses embody creative framing models that might aid constructive critique and reform of the existing refugee protection regime. They tend to be more functionally oriented, less definitional in terms of who warrants protection, and more fluid and transnational. Third, these discourses offer important specific rights protections that could strengthen the refugee and asylum regime, even as we continue to see weakening state support for the basic 1951/1967 protection regime. This is especially true in regard to the extraterritorial scope of the (deporting) state’s obligations post-deportation. This article particularly examines two initiatives in this emerging field: The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Expulsion of Aliens and the draft Declaration on the Rights of Expelled and Deported Persons developed through the Boston College Post-Deportation Human Rights Project (of which the author is a co-director). It compares their provisions to the existing corpus of substantive and procedural protections for refugees relating to expulsion and removal. It concludes with consideration of how these discourses may strengthen protections for refugees while also helping to develop more capacious and protective systems in the future.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, Border Control, Refugees, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, France, South Africa, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Global Focus
  • Author: Katharine M. Donato, Blake Sisk
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: In light of rising numbers of unaccompanied minors at the Mexico- US border in 2014, this article examines child migration from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Using data from the Mexican and Latin American Migration Projects that permit us to go beyond simple descriptive analysis about children apprehended at the border, we investigate the extent to which children from these countries: 1) enter without legal authorization to do so; 2) are more likely to cross the border now than in the past; and 3) are tied to their parents' migration. In theory, if immigration and refugee protections worked well for children and offered them legal pathways to reunify with their families, then we would expect low levels of unauthorized entry and no dramatic shifts over time. However, our examination of child migration shows that it is strongly linked to unauthorized entry, period of entry, and parents' US experience.The findings show that the migration of children is closely linked to their parents' migration history. Although the overall likelihood of a Mexican child making a first US trip is quite low, it is practically non-existent for children whose parents have no US experience. Thus, the increase in child migration from Central America, and the continued high levels of child migration from Mexico result from widespread migration networks and the United States' long-standing reliance on the children's parents as immigrant workers. The findings suggest that these children need protection in the form of family reunification and permanent legal status.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Central 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: Michael T. Flynn
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: From Mexico to the Bahamas, Mauritania to Lebanon, Turkey to Saudi Arabia, South Africa to Indonesia, Malaysia to Thailand, immigration-related detention has become an established policy apparatus that counts on dedicated facilities and burgeoning institutional bureaucracies. Until relatively recently, however, detention appears to have been largely an ad hoc tool, employed mainly by wealthy states in exigent circumstances. This paper uses concepts from diffusion theory to detail the history of key policy events in several important immigration destination countries that led to the spreading of detention practices during the last 30 years and assesses some of the motives that appear to have encouraged this phenomenon. The paper also endeavors to place the United States at the center of this story because its policy decisions appear to have played an important role in encouraging the process of policy innovation, imitation, and imposition that has helped give rise to today's global immigration detention phenomenon. Nevertheless, many US offshore practices have not received nearly the same attention as those of other important destination countries. More broadly, in telling this story, this paper seeks to flesh out some of the larger policy implications of the externalization of immigration control regimes. Just as offshore interdiction and detention schemes raise important questions about custody, accountability, and sovereignty, they should also spur questions over where responsibility for the wellbeing of migrants begins and ends.
  • Topic: Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Mexico, Mauritania
  • 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
  • Author: Sandra Lazo de la Vega, Timothy Steigenga
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: As one of the most visible and vulnerable manifestations of the presence of Latino immigrants in "new destination" communities across the United States, day laborers have become a locus of conflict over the past fifteen years for local policy makers, advocacy organizations, and neighborhood residents. Communities have dealt with day labor in drastically different ways. Some have passed harsh anti-immigrant ordinances, hoping that a hostile environment will encourage immigrants to leave. Restrictionist state and local legislation, however, has proven costly to enforce, has been challenged in court, and has hindered immigrant integration. Other communities have gone against the restrictionist tide. This paper argues that organized day labor centers, such as the El Sol Resource Center in Jupiter, Florida, address many of the fundamental fears that polarize local policymaking and the national immigration reform debate. In Jupiter, El Sol has not only eliminated a controversial open-air labor market by bringing the process into a formal and organized structure, it has also provided access to English and civics classes, preventive health screenings and legal services in cases of wage theft. Furthermore, through El Sol the Town of Jupiter has opened a two-way process of immigrant integration. Jupiter's day laborers are no longer "hiding in the shadows," but rather are engaging in active citizenship and working with native-born community volunteers to run the center.
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, Mexico