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Immigration Overview

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  1. Immigration Overview Rogelio Saenz Texas A&M University

  2. Introduction • The U.S. has long been a country of immigrants • Waves of immigration associated with flows from different parts of the world • Movement of capital and products across international borders • NAFTA • Movement of people across international borders

  3. Globalization Globalization is a process by which money, labor, goods, and services move easily across international boundaries. Globalization requires that goods and services be produced where costs are lowest, and then sold wherever profits are highest. Capitalists and workers alike should be free to produce a product (or increase the value of their labor) wherever they can. They should then be free to sell this product (or their labor) where it can bring them the greatest profit. NAFTA allows the free movement of goods and capital, but obstructs the free movement of labor. This deviation helps create the problem of undocumented immigration. Source: Chad Richardson, University of Texas at Pan American.

  4. Nationalism Nationalism is an ideology which holds that individuals owe loyalty to their nation and that each nation should give preference to its citizens. Nationalism promotes a strong sense of belonging based on a shared national culture, glorifying myths, core values, and a common identity. It is a glue that holds a people together. But it also inspires many to act out against “outsiders,” or those considered different. Today we see nationalism used to attack “illegal aliens” and to argue that immigrants are ruining “our way of life” (American culture). Source: Chad Richardson, University of Texas at Pan American

  5. Increasing Globalization and Nationalism Globalization is dramatically increasing. Free trade creates major market changes. To stay competitive, employers seek for ever cheaper labor. This leads them to take jobs overseas or to draw immigrants to the U.S. While some U.S. jobs are eliminated (or replaced by immigrant labor), new jobs are created at increasingly higher levels of skill and education. Nationalism is also increasing. The changes brought by globalization (job loss and new waves of immigrant labor) lead to fears and resentment against “outsiders.” These fears are being exploited by politicians and media outlets who promote immigrant bashing and alarmist legislation. Source: Chad Richardson, University of Texas at Pan American

  6. The Current Environment • Militarization of the Border • Walls and Fences • Worksite Raids • Detentions and Deportations • Hate and Violence

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  15. ICE Raid Litigations 2007 2006-2007

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  20. The T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center Source:

  21. Hutto Family Detention Center in Taylor, Texas (Photo by Jay Johnson-Castro) Source:

  22. Source:,2933,253699,00.html

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  24. Southern Poverty Law Center 14 Hate Groups Against Immigrants

  25. Origen:

  26. “Inmigrante Mexicano Golpeado a Muerte en Pennsylvania” Source:

  27. Effects of Globalization vs. Nationalism on the US-Mexico Borderlands [Source: Chad Richardson] Globalization Nationalism Borderlands

  28. Maximizing the Good—and Minimizing the Pain of this Conflict • Globalization produces both winners and losers • Globalization pushes Mexican workers off “ejidos” and pulls them to the U.S. where they can earn money for their families; • Globalization takes away some U.S. jobs. But many jobs are also created for those with the needed education & skills. • Immigration also produces winners and losers • Though some workers are displaced by immigrants, evidence strongly suggests that they create more jobs than they displace; • Immigrants can also keep many U.S. industries competitive and keep some companies from taking jobs outside the U.S. • Source: Chad Richardson, University of Texas at Pan American.

  29. Current Trends

  30. Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn. Trends in Unauthorized Immigration: Undocumented Inflow Now Trails Legal Inflow. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, October 2008.

  31. Estimates of the Undocumented Immigrant Population in the U.S., 2000-2008

  32. Key Trends • Decline in the undocumented population since 2007 • The 2005-2008 period has seen the slowest growth in the undocumented population during the decade • Average of 800,000/yr. in 2000-2004 • Average of 500,000/yr. in 2005-2008 • In 2005-2008, legal permanent residents outnumber undocumented immigrants, a reversal of a trend that started a decade ago • Still, undocumented immigrant population has increased more than 40% since 2000 • Undocumented immigrants account for 4% of total U.S. population

  33. Possible Reasons for Changes • Slowdown in U.S. economy • Stabilization of Mexican and Latin American economies • Heightened enforcement and security of the border and beyond

  34. Percentage Distribution of U.S. Undocumented Immigrant Population by Region and Country of Birth, 2008Source: Pew Hispanic Center estimates based on March supplements of Current Population Survey.

  35. Other Key Findings • Undocumented immigrants account for 30% of nation’s foreign-born population of more than 39 million. • 2 of every 5 undocumented immigrants have arrived since 2000 • 4 of 5 undocumented from Latin America (9.6 million with 7 million coming from Mexico alone)

  36. Rakesh Kochhar. Sharp Decline in Income for Non-Citizen Immigrant Households, 2006-2007. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, October 2008.

  37. Mark Hugo Lopez and Susan Minushkin. Hispanics See Their Situation in U.S. Deteriorating; Oppose Key Immigration Enforcement Measures. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, September 2008.

  38. Workplace Raids “High-profile workplace raids to detain immigrants who are working without authorization have become more common in recent years (Bazar 2008). Some of the largest raids this year include that of Pilgrim’s Pride in which over 300 immigrants were detained in five states, AgriProcessors in Postville, Iowa, where more than 300 immigrants were detained, and Howard Industries of Laurel, Miss. in which nearly 600 were detained.” Source: Lopez and Minushkin (2008).

  39. Prosecuting Employers “Employment-based immigration violations involve two parties, the employee who is not authorized to work in the United States and the employer who is not permitted to hire undocumented workers. The federal government has stepped up its actions against employers in recent years (Pew Hispanic Center 2007). Some recent enforcement actions couple workplace raids with the criminal prosecution of employers who are alleged to have knowingly hired undocumented immigrants. Among the high-profile actions of this sort are the filing of charges this year against the owners and managers of AgriProcessors, a meatpacker based in Postville, Iowa, and in 2006 against the managers of IFCO Systems, a wood pallet maker with corporate headquarters in Houston.” Source: Lopez and Minushkin (2008).