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  • Author: Donald Kerwin, Robert Warren
  • 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 December 2014, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) released a paper that provides new estimates of the US unauthorized resident population (Warren 2014). The paper describes the development of a new dataset which has detailed information about unauthorized residents, derived from data collected in the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). The dataset will be useful to scholars, researchers, service-providers, and government officials in crafting, implementing, and evaluating programs that serve noncitizens, including the unauthorized. In addition, the new estimates provide an opportunity to examine the dramatic changes in unauthorized immigration in the past two decades and the assumptions that have shaped US policies and public opinion. The new dataset, recent estimates of the unauthorized (Warren and Warren 2013) and statistics on the noncitizen population from IPUMS-USA (Ruggles et al. 2010) highlight several trends related to the decline in the unauthorized population, particularly from Mexico, and the increasing salience of visa overstays in constituting this population. Some trends defy conventional wisdom and all of them have public policy consequences. In particular, we find that: The unauthorized resident population was about a million lower in 2013 than in 2007. The “Great Recession” was not the principal cause of population decline. Annual arrivals into the unauthorized population increased to more than one million in 2000, then began to drop steadily, and have now reached their lowest levels since the early 1980s From 2000 to 2012, arrivals from Mexico fell by about 80 percent. Between 2010 and 2013, the total unauthorized population from Mexico declined by eight percent. In 2006, the number of arrivals from Mexico fell below the total number of arrivals from all other countries (combined) for the first time. The number who stayed beyond the period authorized by their temporary visas (overstays) exceeded the number who entered across the southern land border without inspection (EWIs) in each year from 2008 to 2012. While the CMS estimates are based on sample data and assumptions that are subject to error, these trends are consistent with the best empirical information available. In November 2014 the Obama Administration announced an unprecedented set of executive action initiatives. At this writing, the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would provide work authorization and temporary reprieve from removal to eligible persons, have been preliminarily enjoined. The temporary injunction, which the US Department of Justice plans to appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, comes in response to a legal challenge to the two programs by 26 states under Article II, section 3 of the US Constitution which requires the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” and under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In addition, the Republican majorities of the 114th Congress have vowed to prevent the implementation of these programs. However, the administration has expressed confidence that it will ultimately prevail in court and in its battle with Congress over these programs. Meanwhile, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and others continue to plan intensively for the DAPA and DACA programs, as well as for other executive action initiatives. This paper provides estimates of those who are potentially eligible for DAPA and DACA. However, it also looks beyond DAPA and DACA to make the case for broad legislative reform in light of long-term trends in unauthorized migration to the United States and the unauthorized resident population. In particular, it argues that substantial declines in the unauthorized population—a goal shared by partisans on both sides of the immigration debate—will require reform of the legal immigration system, legalization of a substantial percentage of the unauthorized, and a more effective response to nonimmigrant visa overstays.
  • Topic: Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert Warren
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: Information about the unauthorized resident population is needed to develop and evaluate US immigration policy, determine the social and economic effects of unauthorized immigration, and assist public and private service providers in carrying out their missions. Until recently, estimates have been available only for selected data points at the national and sometimes the state level. The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) convened a meeting in September 2013 to assess the need for information about the unauthorized resident population. The meeting included leading academics, researchers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that serve immigrants, and local, state, and federal government representatives. Based on the recommendations from that meeting, CMS initiated a project to derive estimates of the size and characteristics of the unauthorized population at the national, state, and sub-state levels, and to make the information readily available to a wide cross-section of users. A series of statistical procedures were developed to derive estimates based on microdata collected by the US Census Bureau in the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS). The estimates provide detailed demographic information for unauthorized residents in population units as small as 100,000 persons. Overall, the estimates are consistent with the limited information produced by residual estimation techniques. A primary consideration in constructing the estimates was to protect the privacy of ACS respondents.
  • Topic: Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Breana George
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: With the passage of immigration reform legislation stalled in the House of Representatives, President Obama announced on June 30, 2014 that he was prepared to exercise executive authority on immigration if Congress had not acted by the end of the August recess. In early September, however the administration indicated that it would not move forward with issuing an immigration directive until after the November midterm elections due to polarization over the issue (Shear 2014). The administration argued that prolonging the time frame to act would allow the President to unveil a bolder and more sustainable policy to provide administrative relief to unauthorized immigrants (ibid.)
  • Topic: Immigration, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States