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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More on the journalist who "outed" himself as an illegal immigrant

Interesting take on the story from NPR http://www.npr.org/2011/06/29/137492580/the-nation-the-other-face-of-illegal-immigration?ft=1&f=1001

It will be interesting to see if/how politicians respond to this story, if the immigration issue becomes an important aspect of the upcoming election season...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Multiculturalism Policy Index

Keith Banting, et. al. have published their new Multiculturalism Policy Index: http://www.queensu.ca/mcp/index.html

The data is available for public use and is a welcome addition to the field of immigrant integration research and allows for comparison with the MIPEX http://www.mipex.eu/.

The Crisis in Europe

As Greek protesters fill the streets to say "no" to the fiscal reforms being demanded by the European Union, others focus on the impact of the current crisis to an entire generation across Europe as described in the article from Der Spiegel International:  http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,769831-4,00.html  Many young Europeans are trying to move within Europe to find jobs, while others are looking to Latin America, as described in this article:  http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/739811-spanish-brain-drain

A generation that is well-educated but un- or under-employed is finding it difficult to support a European Union that feels distant, bureaucratic and even "kafka-esque" as noted in the article from Der Spiegel.  Although these issues may seem distant from U.S. concerns, in many ways similar themes are being echoed in the discontent many feel with current U.S. policy, the inability of Republicans and Democrats to come to agreement on budget issues, the backlash against federal inaction on immigration policy, etc...this is all beside the fact that any meltdown in Europe will drag the U.S. into another downward economic spiral.  The current situation need to be watched carefully on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From University of Illinois

First - thanks to the EU Center here at U of I for a great visit so far. 

Second -- this New York Times story is making the rounds of social media: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/magazine/my-life-as-an-undocumented-immigrant.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=fb-nytimes

This is the second time this year I have done a lecture for K-12 teachers and they are always a great group.  They ask insightful questions and we always end up having a great discussion.  Today the focus was on comparisons between the U.S. and Europe.  We had an interesting discussion around issues like skilled vs. unskilled immigrants, differences in the educational systems (e.g., local control vs. national level curricula) and issues surrounding the integration of spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. and Muslims in Europe.  I'll be giving another lecture tomorrow morning before heading back to Austin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Enforcement news

ICE steps up audits of I-9 forms: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110615/ap_on_bi_ge/us_immigration_employer_crackdown_3

Senate Republicans in Texas pass "sanctuary cities" legislation:  http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/06/15/3152736/state-senate-approves-sanctuary.html

Houston protestors head to Austin to rally against the passage of the "sanctuary cities" bill:  http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/state&id=8191952&rss=rss-ktrk-article-8191952

There has been some discussion in the Texas Republican party about the impact of the passage of this bill, and whether it will hurt the party with Hispanic voters.  Time will tell...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Report documents dramatic shift in immigrant workforce’s skill level

The Washington Post is reporting on a report by the Brookings institute that the skill level of the immigrant workforce has increased:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/report-documents-dramatic-shift-in-immigrant-workforces-skill-level/2011/06/08/AGHqthMH_story.html?hpid=z1

In Texas, the state legislature has gone into special session to deal with budget-related issues, and Governor Perry has also added several measures related to immigration, including a "sanctuary cities" measure: http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/perry-adds-immigration-issues-to-lawmakers-agenda-1525237.html

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Supreme Court declines case on in-state tuition

The story from the LA Times:  Supreme Court ruling on California immigrant tuition rates could affect other states' policies

This case emphasizes the role of the state in determining policies related to immigrants and education.  While states like California and Texas offer in-state tuition to undocumented students who graduate from in-state high schools, other states are moving to restrict access.  It will be interesting to see if these policy approaches will ultimately have any impact on politics, particularly around the issue of the DREAM act.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A play about borders

This week I saw a play titled "The Book of Grace" which revolves around the turmoil caused by a reunion between a father who is obsessed with his job as a border patrol agent, and his son who is recently returned from the military.  Although it is advertised as having 3 charactes, I would argue that the border fence plays an important fourth character, in this allegory about borders between people.  The performances were uneven, although the actor who played the father, "Vet", did an amazing job of inhabiting his character.  I left the play wondering what it was really about, and I have to admit that I consider a play successful if it makes me think in more detail -- this one made me think more about the impact that the border has on both sides, and the people who live in its shadow.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interesting developments at the state level

I'll start today with an interesting editorial in the Christian Science Monitor, by Daniel Altschuler:  'Silent raids' and E-Verify immigration enforcement are destroying US farms

He emphasizes the impact of the recent Supreme Court decision on Arizona's law sanctioning employers who hire illegal aliens (NYT article) and it's impact on farm workers, i.e, the human cost of employer sanctions.

However, it is clear that states are ready to step in where the federal government has failed to take action - although some argue that e-verify can't be trusted (LA Times).  Texas' legislature has gone into special session, and many of the bills that failed to make it through the regular session will be revived and the deployment of National Guard troops is being extended by three months along the Texas border.  Utah has passed controversial legislation, and many more states are in the process of considering legislation including an Arizona (SB1070) style immigration bill in Louisiana.

The Supreme Court ruling ensures that much of the action on immigration policy will continue to be at the state level, the question is what's next for Congress?  Its still seems unlikely that any major measures will be considered before 2012...