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Friday, April 27, 2007

This week was our final class and review session for the final exam Thursday May 3, 2007. Again, I was very impressed with all of your participation in the immigration policy class blogspot. The course had an added element because of your blog opinions and all of you essentially became the Fourth Reading Material for our class. All of you should be very proud!

The student who participated most in this semester's classblog spot is KATE DALTON. She received the overall best performance/participation in the blogspot and should be recognized as such. Congratualtions, Kate, for your outstanding performance! Well done!



Friday, April 20, 2007

Cynthia this week requested that I place this rally information and her involvement on the class blog spot. Her comments are below:

Cynthia writes:

Please join Amnesty International USA and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America as we rally for justice for Guatemala!

Friday, April 20th

Guatemalan Consulate
203 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL

This rally is part of an international campaign to bring to justice former Guatemalan General Efraín Ríos Montt, who has been charged with genocide, torture, terrorism, and illegal detention. The campaign emerged in support of the efforts by a group of Guatemalan survivors – led by Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchú – to file a suit against Ríos Montt in Spain, urging Spain’s courts to exercise jurisdiction over crimes of international concern.

In July 2006, Spain’s National Court issued international warrants for the arrest of Ríos Montt and several other former senior officials. As Guatemala’s courts review Spain’s request for Ríos Montt’s extradition, complainants, lawyers, judges, witnesses and local human rights organizations are coming under mounting pressure and intimidation. It is a critical time to let the Guatemalan authorities know that the world is watching.

I thouht it important towards immigration because so many Guatemalans fled to the United States and Canada because of the Civil War and more specifically the "scorch earth program" that Rios Montt was responsible for. During his de facto presidency complete villages were destroyed and several refugees took to the north. Most of them applied for political asylum and fixed their immigration status thru that method and most recently NACARA. So, thats why I thought it was important.

--Cynthia Mazariegos

Sunday, April 15, 2007

THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DESTINED TO REPEAT IT.....It is with this familar saying that we turn our discussion of the immigration policy toward another immigrant group in the United States: The Japanese during World War II. We see that contemporary programs, as part of today's War on Terror, (such as the NSEERS "Special Registration" Program,) have similarities with the internment program of persons living in the U.S. of Japesnese ancestry, discussed in Chapter 4 of Ngai, was really the first program of its kind in the U.S. discriminating against immigrants during wartime.

"Japanese American Internment" as it was called, was the forced removal of approximately 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans (62 percent of whom were United States citizens)from the U.S. West Coast during World War II. While approximately 10,000 were able to relocate to other parts of the country, the remainder – roughly 110,000 men, women and children – were sent to hastily constructed camps called "War Relocation Centers" in remote portions of the nation's interior. It is clearly one of the most shameful times in our nation's history.

Decades laster, On August 10, 1988 the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed into law by Ronald Reagan. On November 21, 1989, George H.W. Bush signed an appropriation bill authorizing payments to be paid out between 1990 and 1998 to survivors. In 1990, surviving internees began to receive individual redress payments and a letter of apology.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I was very impressed by your discussions this week (There were 10 students who particpated in the class blogspot this week), partly for the manner in which you articulated yourselves, but mostly because you were all able to raise some very key issues surrounding "illegal" immigration, discussed in Ngai: Foreign policy, culture, Racism, oppression of women, the difficulties of immigration processes, the international economic system, political oppression, and misconceptions made by the American people and through the American media. These are all complex issues, and you seem to be asking very appropriate and necessary questions.

I enjoyed Meagan’s comments because she pinpointed one of the major frustrations regarding illegal immigration, which is how polarized the views are regarding the issue: illegal is bad, legal is good. She used the terms “Black, white”. There is a reluctance to admit that illegal immigrants have real and valid reasons for coming to U.S. This polarization, this belief in absolutes, or the use of absolute terminology, dismisses the complexity of the issue, and is a notion widely held by the public. This is partly the reason that we have seen so little change in policy since early 1900’s.

Belinda continues this discussion and adds that problems of discriminatory immigration practice frustrates legal immigration. She argues that more focus should be on the corporations who hire illegally, rather than on the individual immigrant.

Cynthia brings up the role that media plays in perpetuating the stereotype.

Cezara’s comments focused on the complexity of illegal immigration. Her argument is that we cannot lump all issues into Immigration, but rather on the processes by which illegal immigrants come to the U.S. She mentions particularly the mistreatment of women, “lapdancers,” adoption, drug trafficking, and emphasizes that though the policies have remained the same, the “the process itself of illegal immigration, from an immigrant perspective, has been greatly transformed.” This post was intuitive in that it necessitates the complexity of the issue, and rejects overt assumptions regarding illegal immigration. She states “The significance of the sex industry rises in the absence of other sources for job, profit and revenue” and goes on to suggest that we fuel the sex industry by not permitting legal forms of revenue to reach these women.

Kate brings up the point that illegal immigrants are not coming to the U.S. from the 50 poorest countries, but rather from countries that are already connected economically to the United States. This is an important issue, she argues because “Framing Mexican immigrants as desperate criminals diverts attention away from the fact that NAFTA has had some seriously negative consequences on the Mexican economy.” (Though she doesn’t say this, she raises questions of Responsibility. As an economic superpower, do we have the right to dabble in other economies, without accept the repercussions of our own actions?)

Cynthia touches on this by stating, “What I am advocating is that the United States just reverse initiatives it has currently implemented in other nations that have proven to only worsen the economy of other nations or that has allowed for an authoritative government to continue to rule.” This is also a question of responsibility.

Julie points out that economic stability in other countries would force the U.S. to increase costs and wages for outsourced work. Yet, it is that instability that is a cause for illegal immigration. She also points out (and I agree with her) that Americans would probably still take issue with too many “legal” immigrants. Though she doesn’t say this, she raises the point that Racism is a major part of this debate, though it hides behind the guise of “illegal”. She also points out that illegal workers may boost our economy, because they work without the right for fair wages, unionization, or benefits.

Cuitlahuac emphasizes political oppression and the issues of culture. He also touches on racism, stating “The “Foreignness” concept illustrates the perverted mind-set that pervades and permeated mainstream America. Relations of domination and control attempt to legitimize or hide these xenophobic beliefs. Images of “them” appeals to the deep-rooted racism that is ingrained in many Americans from centuries ago.”

Racheal Deeds wraps up the discussion by referring back to the notion that legal immigration isn’t necessarily the solution, simply because “illegal” immigration isn’t the problem. She states, “All immigrants have been scapegoats for economic and political issues throughout the history of America from the Germans and the Irish to the Itialians and the Greeks and now the Muslims and the Mexicans, all scapegoats regardless of their legal status. The fear goes deeper that just jobs; it's a fear about the changes that take place in our culture.” She also raises questions about international economic stability, “if we stopped exploiting those countries…who would we make money off of? How could we stay on top if there's nobody at our feet?”

For next week's class, we will focus on recent developments in Congress concerning the GUEST WORKER PROGRAM (proposed).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Georgiann Leads off this week's Class Blog and she writes:

I believe the saying goes, No matter how much things change, they seem to remain the same.

This can easily be said for the United States on immigration policy as it relates to Mexico. We have discussed in class some of the measures currently being discussed to diffuse the topic of illegal immigrants. Such as building a fence, making every one legal as they stand in the U.S. today, renewable temporary work permits, security and health checks, pay a fine and become legal, they take jobs from citizens, they lower the wage scale, etc. These are exactly the same options and concerns tossed about from our readings going back to the 1930s 1950s as they relate to illegal immigrants.

The Bracero Program, according to the Truman Commission, said that this government sponsored contract labor program would eliminate illegal migration bring order to the farm labor market and protect foreign nationals from abuse. This was clearly not the case as with many government programs there were abuses and no money for enforcement. The Bracero Program legally allowed growers to bring in the help they needed from Mexico and pay them below wage even though they were to have a set wage. They allowed the workers to be housed in poor conditions and made them pay for their board and food.

The Filipinos has somewhat the same strife as the Mexican farm worker except they seem to be more willing to strike and use the court system. They also seem to have a few advantages over their Mexican counterparts. The Filipino government looked out for their citizens that came to America. They set up agents in the US, they had a dialog with the US government, and more importantly the US needed their country for military reasons. Although the Philippines were a US territory, they still held some leverage against the US government.

The Filipinos were grouped in with the Chinese; they were excluded from becoming citizens. They tried to argue that of all the Asian groups, they assimilated the best with the American (white) culture. This did not hold up in court. People did not believe that “brown” people could obtain the same intelligence, morality and social characteristics of people. On page 117 of Ngai, there is a quote by Attorney General U. S. Webb, We thank God that only we, the white people, found it first (America) and we want to be protected in our enjoyment of it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

In Ngai's Illegal Immigration & The Making of Modern America, we turn our attention (South of the U.S. Border) to our nations "undocumented" or "illegal" aliens--persons living in the United States without permission from the U.S. Government. Nagai's focus charts the historical orgins of an "illegal alien" in American law and society and the emergence of illegal immigration as the "central problem" in U.S. Immigration Policy in the twentieth century. As Ngai states,

"what it is about the violation of the nation's sovereign space that produces a different kind of illegal alien and a different valuation of the claims that he or she can make on society? Unauthorized entry, the most common form of illegal immigration since the 1920s, remains vexing for both state and society. Undocumented immigrants are at once welcome and unwelcome: they are woven into the economic fabric of the nation, but as labor that is cheap and disposable. Employed in western and southwestern agriculture during the middle decades of the twentieth century, today illegal immigrants work in every region of the United States, and not only as farmworkers. They also work in poultry factories, in the kitchens of restaurants, on urban and suburban construction crews, and in the homes of middle-class Americans. Marginalized by their position in the lower strata of the workforce and even more so by their exclusion from the polity, illegal aliens might be understood as a caste, unambiguously situated outside the boundaries of formal membership and social legitimacy.

At the same time, illegal immigrants are also members of ethno-racial communities; they often inhabit the same social spaces as their co-ethnics and, in many cases, are members of "mixed status" families. Their accretion engenders paradoxical effects..."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

THIS WEEK, we completed our mid-term examination and listened to our guest speaker, Senior Special Agent Grant Lucas from the Department of Homeland Security.

The following questions and model answers should be reviewed prior to next week's class, as we will review your mid-term answers, discussing chapter 1-3 of Ngai and discuss your book report. See you next Thursday…...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

After concluding Patriot Acts and our mid-term review session, we will resume the course series of guest speakers and have our mid-term examination. Special Agent Grant Lucas, direct from the Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Washington, D.C., will speak to us about the Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Branch. Created in March 2003, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency was created after 9/11, by combining the law enforcement arms of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the former U.S. Customs Service, to “more effectively enforce our immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks”.

As ominous as its name sounds, “ICE” does this by targeting undocumented or illegal immigrants. As stated by ICE, this agency’s focus is exact: “[T]he people, money and materials that support terrorism and other criminal activities. ICE is a key component of the DHS ‘layered defense’ approach to protecting the nation…and uphold public safety.”
Note the impact and role that this agency has in addressing society’s concerns on illegal immigration and terrorist threats on U.S. soil.

Please review the prepared questions for Special Agent Lucas prepared by our graduate students and submit your own if you like by email to me. I welcome written questions which will be submitted to Special Agent Lucas from everyone!
The graduate students will compose the questions panel and I will serve as moderator.


As a final reminder for our mid-term exam, please review carefully the reading material in Daniels which we covered in the mid-term review session. The historical background, the early American groups which attempted to limit immigration and events in our early immigration history reinforce the premise that immigration policy in the United States in not based on some objective standard, but a “creature” of two concepts or disciplines. Review the Avalon film study guide. Know in detail and provide specific persons (and examples) of the ways in which one “Comes to America” (i.e., immigrant and non-immigrant visas; entering illegally) and the real life examples of them seen in this course (family, job, political asylum, or the visa lottery) and the impact they have on U.S. society in the past and today. As discussed during our review, be able to compare Chapter 3 of We are All Suspects Now with the individuals examined during our class discussions and cite those individuals discussed and those seen in Patriot Acts.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Can women severely abused also claim protection under U.S. Asylum laws? Under which of the five (5) protected classes we have discussed would they fall under? Commonly referred to amongst immigration litigators as Matter of RA claims (based on the immigration case of Rose Alvarado), the law is still unsettled, and Kimberly mentions a very important and controversial basis for political asylum in her recent blog entry. Many woman asylum seekers are still waiting for final rules and regulations to be released. In the interim, some cases are denied, while other women simply must wait until final regulations are promulgated. Take a look at the gender-asylum timeline and the law as it has developed at

Next week, we will discuss one of the unfortunate chapters in American immigration policy: The "registration" of predominately Muslim male non-immigrants in the United States. Was the policy similar to the Japanese internment camps? Chapter 3, of "We Are All Suspects Now, (Special Registration in Chicago), discusses one community near Loyola University affected by Special Registration. We will learn about other individuals, as registration impacted their lives, in Thirst Films' documentary, Patriot Acts. We will also discuss the USA PATRIOT Act.

See you next week....

Thursday, February 08, 2007

GIVE ME YOUR POOR, YOUR TIRED, YOUR WEAK.....The words at that Statute of Liberty. Lady Liberty stands in New York Harbor to both welcome the travelers, and once was the first thing many immigrants saw when coming to Ellis Island. She's called "Liberty Enlightening the World", and her torch shines forth as a beacon to those arriving, and those still journeying, promising them hope. She's crowned with a diadem of seven spikes, representing the seven oceans of the world, across which her pilgrims travel to reach her, and she carries a plaque with the date July 4, 1776 written on it - the date when our Republic took its first full breath of life. The statement, "Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses..."Liberty stands, stern and unyielding, the guardian of what we in this country have always held most dear. For this week's lecture, we will finish the film Avalon, and discuss Chapter Five of Daniels, "Admitting Displaced Persons.."

Keep these words in mind when we discuss Refugees, Asylees and learn about the immigration courts in American and the asylum cases of Enes Hadzovic, Farah & Umair Choudry, Kennedy Ugiabe and others...

Friday, January 26, 2007

"[N]ever underestimate a person's ability to survive..." a profound statement by Cuitlahuac in his blog entry this week! Well said! His observation, made in the context of the success (or failure) of current and future tough immigration laws, often epitomizes the American immigrant's plight--their stuggle for survivial amidst overwhelming obsticles. You will see that in next Thursday's screening of Avalon. You will see it when we cover Asylum and refugee law (one of the "four ways" to obtain a green card in America, generally), and you saw undercurrents of it in the debate on "immigration in a free society" the internet web debate at the University of Louisville last Thursday. Keep in mind this statement when we watch the rest of the debate, especially comments made about the shortcommings of immigrants ("they don't know how to throw away their trash", etc.). Keep this in mind after our discussion of the myths and realities of immigrants "not spending money". Keep in mind also that the benefit branch of the immigration department, Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) is entirely fee driven. In otherwords, the agency pays its bills by immigrants! How much does it cost to run that department? Do the immigrant's filing fees really susidize the entire agency?

For this weeks' blog entry, review this material, last week's lecture, and Chapter 3 of Daniels. Offer your summary, critique and commentary!

See you Thursday!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

There were a number of blog entries by your classmates before and after our first immigration policy class last week. Rachael, Julie, and Kate discussed my case with the autistic child, Umair. Was that case merely a way to just bend the asylum rules a little, allowing a sympathetic case get through the seemingly tough asylum rules? Or was the head of the Chicago Asylum office right when he said the case was granted because it met the textbook example of a refugee? How do you think the family is doing today? Is Umair today recieving the treatment he deserves? Has he progressed? Would you be surprised to learn that Umair's brother is a full-time student at Loyola?-- himself living an "American Dream" like Dikembe Mutombo??? (see below)...

Joanna commented about Muslim "speical registration". Keep in mind her comments when we begin our book "We Are All Suspects Now.." and when we watch the documentary, "Patriot Acts." As to the reading due this week, what comparisons can you make with Special Registration and Chapter 2 of the Daniels' book? See also some of my comments, which will be the subject of mid-term or final exam question.

Cezara commented on why immigration is one of the hot topics of the year. A point well taken. I don’t think this class would exist if that were not the case! Immigration certainly is on as many minds of Americans as the war in Iraq. Has it always been that way? Why now? Do you agree with Cezara’s conclusions?
Speaking of these hot immigration topics, Kate commented on President Bush’s state of the union address on January 24, 2007. Here are some of Bush’s comments, as they relate to our class. Take a look:

  • Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. (Laughter.) Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United States of America.”

Does this person fit what it commonly referred to as an immigrant attaining the “American Dream?” Offer your comments as to why President Bush choose this individual to use in his example. As to new immigration laws, the big one was his comment about immigration reform. He received a lot of applause from Congress. Here's what Bush said:

  • “Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America -- with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we're doubling the size of the Border Patrol, and funding new infrastructure and technology. Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border -- and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave Border Agents free to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists. (Applause.) We'll enforce our immigration laws at the work site and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers, so there's no excuse left for violating the law. (Applause.) We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. (Applause.) We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty. (Applause.) Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate, so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.”

Does that mean a new amnesty law is forthcoming? What about the previous amnesty laws/programs in the U.S.? Lorena, last week, mentioned the Bracero program during class. What other recent programs like this have we had? Did they work? If not, why?

See you Thursday!