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International Migration and Human Rights: The Global Repercussions of U.S. Policy

Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 350
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  • Book Info
    International Migration and Human Rights
    Book Description:

    A multidisciplinary group of scholars examines how the actions of the United States as a global leader are worsening pressures on people worldwide to migrate, while simultaneously degrading migrant rights. Uniting such diverse issues as market reform, drug policy, and terrorism under a common framework of human rights, the book constitutes a call for a new vision on immigration.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94257-8
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)
    Samuel Martínez

    Of the important human-generated processes that now link people across the planet, international migration is perhaps the most dramatically visible in its scale and its political and cultural effects. According to Migrants Rights International, “one out of every 35 persons worldwide is an international migrant. According to UN estimates, some 175 million people are now living permanently or temporarily outside their country of origin. This vast number includes migrant workers and their families, refugees, and permanent immigrants.” 1 It has been something of an upstream battle for international migration to reach these levels; in response to political controversies generated by...

  5. Part I. The Political Economy of International Migration

    • 1. The Political Economy of Migration in an Era of Globalization
      (pp. 25-43)
      Douglas S. Massey

      At the dawn of the twenty-fi rst century all industrially developed nations in the world have become countries of immigration, whether or not they choose to recognize it. As a result, policies that govern the number, characteristics, and terms under which foreigners enter a country have become salient policy and political issues worldwide. Traditional immigrant-receiving nations (e.g., the United States, Canada, and Australia) have long histories of legislation to address issues surrounding immigration, settlement, and integration. Newer countries of immigration (e.g., Germany, Austria, and France) are still searching for appropriate legal, administrative, and political mechanisms to control and regulate mass...

    • 2. Ports of Entry in the “Homeland Security” Era: Inequality of Mobility and the Securitization of Transnational Flows
      (pp. 44-60)
      Josiah McC. Heyman

      Ports of entry are those places, such as airports, sea ports, and land border crossings, where people, goods, and conveyances are inspected for legal admission into a nation. Although uninspected entry away from ports garners the most attention (e.g., jumping a fence or wading across a river) and is what people often associate with the word “borders,” the volume of people and commodities that patiently wait to cross through ports is several hundred times greater. According to conventional thought about national security and law enforcement, ports of entry are crucial places in the effort to keep dangerous things and unauthorized...

  6. Part II. Historical Perspectives

    • 3. The Treatment of Noncitizens after September 11 in Historical Context
      (pp. 63-81)
      J. C. Salyer

      In ruling on a challenge to the deportation of a number of individuals claimed to be threats to national security, a United States District Court judge in Boston ordered that the noncitizens be released because “the extraordinary circumstances under which these aliens were arrested and detained resulted in an illegal deprivation of their liberty.” In the course of the trial it was revealed that individuals had been held incommunicado, without access to counsel, in exceedingly harsh conditions. In his ruling the judge strongly rebuked the Justice Department for its utter disregard for the rights of the individuals detained and for...

    • 4. Mexicans of Mass Destruction: National Security and Mexican Immigration in a Pre- and Post-9/11 World
      (pp. 82-97)
      Leo R. Chavez

      The September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, DC, heightened a public discourse on the dangers the United States faces in the contemporary world. President George W. Bush (Bush 2002) developed a general strategy for the national security of the United States, while critics focused on the dangers inherent in the forging of an empire in the modern world (Buck-Morss 2003; Chisti et al. 2003; Hardt and Negri 2001). Nativism reared its ugly head as Arabs, Muslims, and Arab Americans became prime targets of racial profi ling and surveillance (Cole 2003a; Volpp 2002, and Dole’s chapter in this...

    • 5. The Demonization of Persons of Arab and Muslim Ancestry in Historical Perspective
      (pp. 98-114)
      Susan M. Akram and Kevin R. Johnson

      The demonization of Arabs and Muslims in the United States, as well as federal government actions that target Arabs and Muslims in the name of combating terrorism, began years before September 11, 2001 (Akram 1999). Nearly ten years before that day, Lawrence Howard (1992: 1) wrote that the Reagan administration had elevated terrorism “to the foremost foreign policy problem of the nation.” Well before 9/11, that policy concern focused almost exclusively on “foreign terrorists,” particularly Arabs and Muslims. The demonizing of Arabs and Muslims in the United States also can be traced to popular stereotypes stereotypes (Said 1996: 28; Yousef...

  7. Part III. Policing the Borders of the Security State

    • 6. Security and Insecurity in a Global “War on Terrorism”: Arab-Muslim Immigrant Experience in Post-9/11 America
      (pp. 117-132)
      Christopher Dole

      With the reordering of America’s political, legal, and social landscape in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, America’s Arab and South Asian Muslim populations became constituted anew as a potential threat to national security. As the movement and mobility of these populations drew intensifi ed scrutiny in the U.S. government’s coordinated counterterrorism response, Muslim space in North America was dramatically reshaped and the trajectory of individual lives within it profoundly altered.¹ In an effort to examine the impact of these transformations, this chapter addresses the everyday realities of securitization experienced by Arab and Muslim immigrant men living...

    • 7. Policing the Borders in the Heartland
      (pp. 133-150)
      Nancy A. Naples

      Citizenship is achieved in particular local contexts and is an ongoing accomplishment that cannot be understood by exclusive focus on law and immigration policy. Examination of local social regulatory practices reveals the complex and contradictory ways different individuals and groups are incorporated into the wider polity and how gender, race, and class are woven in and through these practices.¹ While the border between Mexico and the United States is the site of the most pronounced and aggressive policing of U.S. citizenship, other sites of both formal and informal social regulatory practices shape the everyday lives of migrants as well as...

    • 8. An Anatomy of Mexican Repatriation: Human Rights and the Borderlands of Complicity
      (pp. 151-162)
      Tricia Gabany-Guerrero

      This chapter examines the contradictions in U.S. policies toward the deportation of Mexican laborers. The critical sources for this analysis are institutional ethnographies of the deportation process, including reports by deportees and by the governments of both the United States and Mexico.¹ Institutional processes unfold according to the logics of particular states and constituencies. The implementation of policy is often left to the discretion of an administering agency, which must operate within the law but may develop operational logistics that are not discretely mandated by specifi c legislation. Through institutional ethnographies, we can reconstruct the disparate processes involved in deportation...

  8. Part IV. Beyond U.S. Borders

    • 9. Discourses on Danger and Dreams of Prosperity: Confounding U.S. Government Positions on “Trafficking” from the Former Soviet Union
      (pp. 165-183)
      Alexia Bloch

      The story is shocking. Young women, duped or forced into travel to a foreign land, are made to live as sex slaves, tortured for attempting to escape, for minor transgressions, or for no reason at all. The lucky ones are rescued from this shadowy underworld by the heroic actions of law enforcement agencies and nongovernmental organizations. Rescue narratives like this one strike a deep chord, for no moral person would want to turn a blind eye to such appalling acts of dehumanization committed for profit. And indeed, these stories are part of a burgeoning literature on human trafficking that would...

    • 10. “We Are Not Terrorists!” Uighurs, Tibetans, and the “Global War on Terror”
      (pp. 184-198)
      Julia Meredith Hess

      The research for this chapter began with the question of how U.S. policies implemented in the wake of September 11, 2001, were affecting the policy of other states. I was particularly interested in China, as it affects the lives, status, and activism of the Tibetans with whom I generally work. While it is true that Tibetans in China are being persecuted as “terrorists” post-9/11, I found much more evidence for the targeting of another ethnic minority, Uighurs. Uighurs¹ are a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim ethnic group in China’s northwest province known as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Before September 11,...

    • 11. The Impact of Plan Colombia on Forced Displacement
      (pp. 199-215)
      María Teresa Restrepo-Ruiz and Samuel Martínez

      Today, Colombia has the highest number of people experiencing internally forced displacement of any country in Latin America, and in the world it is second only to Sudan in its population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) (Global IDP Project 2004). More than 3.7 million of people—upward of eight percent of Colombia’s total population—have had to flee from armed conflict and political violence and relocate themselves within Colombian territory since 1985 (Human Rights Watch 2007). In 2003, 904 out of 1,100 municipalities in Colombia were affected by forced displacement (Global IDP Project 2004). And the incidence of forced displacement...

    • 12. Challenging U.S. Silence: International NGOs and the Iraqi Refugee Crisis
      (pp. 216-236)
      Kathryn Libal and Scott Harding

      Ignoring warnings that waging a war in Iraq would lead to entrenched conflict and the displacement of tens of thousands of people, in 2003 the administration of George W. Bush embarked on a project for “regime change” and “democratization” with little consideration of the human costs involved. The Iraq war has created a flow of forced migrants, both within and across national borders, numbering more than four million people, approximately 15 percent of Iraq’s population.¹ This ongoing dislocation dwarfs original expectations among humanitarian organizations and is considered the largest forced migration in the region since the Pales tinian diaspora was...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 237-252)
    Samuel Martínez

    Taking the essays as a whole, at least three overarching points of concern to students and advocates of migrant rights may be identifi ed: U.S. foreign policy has contradictory global effects on migrants. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year by the United States on efforts to suppress the international trafficking of women and children are one sure sign of the good intentions of U.S. legislators. This “war on trafficking” forms the background to the chapter by Alexia Bloch in this book. Bloch raises a concern, however, widely shared among migrant rights advocates, that in fighting trafficking the...

  10. Afterword: Migration, Human Rights, and Development
    (pp. 253-270)
    Carole Nagengast

    On 18 May 2006, Moisés Cruz Sánchez, age forty-five, was shot to death by two still officially unidentified gunman as he emerged from a café with his wife in the town of San Juan Mixtepec in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. As of spring 2007, nobody had been arrested nor did there appear to be an open investigation. Moisés Cruz was a Mixtec, a member of one of Oaxaca’s sixteen indigenous groups. Mixtec-speakers live in hundreds of towns and villages in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca and most govern themselves according to customary indigenous law [usos y costumbres], as...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 271-292)
  12. References
    (pp. 293-328)
  13. Contributors
    (pp. 329-332)
  14. Index
    (pp. 333-338)