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Dreams and Nightmares

Dreams and Nightmares: Immigration Policy, Youth, and Families

Marjorie S. Zatz
Nancy Rodriguez
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Dreams and Nightmares
    Book Description:

    Dreams and Nightmarestakes a critical look at the challenges and dilemmas of immigration policy and practice in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. The experiences of children and youth provide a prism through which the interwoven dynamics and consequences of immigration policy become apparent. Using a unique sociolegal perspective, authors Zatz and Rodriguez examine the mechanisms by which immigration policies and practices mitigate or exacerbate harm to vulnerable youth. They pay particular attention to prosecutorial discretion, assessing its potential and limitations for resolving issues involving parental detention and deportation, unaccompanied minors, and Dreamers who came to the United States as young children. The book demonstrates how these policies and practices offer a means of prioritizing immigration enforcement in ways that alleviate harm to children, and why they remain controversial and vulnerable to political challenges.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95889-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction and Historical Context
    (pp. 1-14)

    The lives of undocumented immigrants are filled with dreams and nightmares. Parents dream of better futures for themselves and their children. Young adults who were brought to the United States as children dream of finally becoming US citizens. Alongside these dreams, though, are nightmares. Children awaken from nightmares of immigration raids in which their undocumented parents or siblings are suddenly taken from them. And teenagers who always thought they were American find themselves “awakening to a nightmare” (Gonzales and Chavez 2012) when they discover they are undocumented, cannot get driver’s licenses, obtain college loans, or legally work, and live under...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Prosecutorial Discretion: A Mechanism for Balancing Competing Goals
    (pp. 15-48)

    With deportations under the Obama administration exceeding the two-million mark by spring 2014, demands by advocacy groups and some members of Congress that President Barack Obama use his executive authority to suspend deportations grew louder and more pointed. Congressional Republicans countered that if he did so, they would immediately begin impeachment proceedings. And still others argued that taking executive action was not worth the political price and could jeopardize comprehensive legislation. Immigration scholars Karthik Ramakrishnan and Pratheepan Gulasekaram suggest that the political price would be steep, and “an executive order would be far more limited than congressional legislation, because future...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Legislative Inaction and Executive Action: Mixed Status Families, the Dreamer Movement, and DACA
    (pp. 49-76)

    From the perspective of the immigrant community and their advocates, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been the high point of the administration of President Barack Obama. DACA responds to a clear need for safety from the threat of deportation and for work authorization for the 1.76 million young people who are potentially eligible. It was put into place quickly, and it lays out a fair and equitable policy with consistent procedures for eligible youth and young adults to apply to have their status “dacamented.”

    DACA provides recipients a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation, but it is...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Families Torn Apart: Parental Detention and Deportation
    (pp. 77-112)

    One of the central contradictions of US immigration law concerns the value placed on the family. Emblematic of this contradiction is Congress’s continued reluctance to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, even though the United States played a central role in developing the Convention and Madeleine Albright signed it on behalf of the United States in 1995. Article 9 of the Convention states, “A child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is...

  8. CHAPTER 5 No Good Options: Unaccompanied Minors in the US Immigration System
    (pp. 113-156)

    Elián González’s story galvanized public attention to the existence and complexities surrounding children entering the United States alone. Elián was five years old in 1999, when his mother and stepfather sought to bring him to the United States. Their raft capsized and they drowned, but Elián was rescued and brought to his uncle in Miami. The uncle wanted Elián to stay in the United States, but his father, still in Cuba, wanted the boy to come home to him. Ultimately, the child was returned to his father, but it created a media frenzy as the public sought to determine whether...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 157-166)

    As President Barack Obama’s second term began, there was once again a major push to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Perhaps the Obama administration was correct, that it had to demonstrate a willingness to stand tough on border control and deportations of anyone who might constitute a threat to public safety, including parents of US citizens convicted of minor offenses such as driving while intoxicated. Or perhaps legislators saw that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program proceeded smoothly, demonstrating that a wider legalization plan could as well. A multitude of possibilities might explain why comprehensive reform appeared viable once...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 167-172)
    (pp. 173-194)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 195-202)