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Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship

Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship

Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship
    Book Description:

    Punctuated by marches across the United States in the spring of 2006, immigrant rights has reemerged as a significant and highly visible political issue. Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of U.S. Citizenship brings prominent activists and scholars together to examine the emergence and significance of the contemporary immigrant rights movement. Contributors place the contemporary immigrant rights movement in historical and comparative contexts by looking at the ways immigrants and their allies have staked claims to rights in the past, and by examining movements based in different communities around the United States. Scholars explain the evolution of immigration policy, and analyze current conflicts around issues of immigrant rights; activists engaged in the current movement document the ways in which coalitions have been built among immigrants from different nations, and between immigrant and native born peoples. The essays examine the ways in which questions of immigrant rights engage broader issues of identity, including gender, race, and sexuality.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-3935-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Toward a Redefinition of Citizenship Rights
    (pp. 1-22)
    Rachel Ida Buff

    Using the following chant, marchers in Milwaukee’s second Day without Latinos (May 1, 2007) addressed President George W. Bush directly:

    Bush, ¡Escucha! (Bush, listen!)

    Estamos en la lucha. (We are in the fight.)

    Unlike many other such rhymes being chanted bilingually that day, this one was recited only in Spanish. This means either that the 70,000 marchers present were confident of Mr. Bush’s fluency in the language or that, by addressing him in Spanish, they wished to indicate a struggle already taking place in realms they understood well, suggesting that he become aware of it.

    It is the central contention...

  5. PART I: Narratives of Refuge and Resistance

    • [PART I Introduction]
      (pp. 23-25)

      The image of the Statue of Liberty is a central one to political culture in the United States. A time-honored narrative of American national identity relates the story of a nation of immigrants, of people who, for so many reasons, needed and claimed refuge here. At the entry points of the nation—at immigration stations, asylum hearings, detention and deportation centers—people seeking to enter the country, or to remain here, also produce narratives of refuge. Sometimes, their stories re-create a familiar plotline, in which America is a sheltering harbor for the persecuted. At other times, the circumstances in which America is...

    • CHAPTER 1 On Being Here and Not Here: Noncitizen Status in American Immigration Law
      (pp. 26-39)
      John S. W. Park

      This essay looks at broad developments in the immigration law to point out how the status of all newcomers to the United States has become both more simple and more vulnerable in fundamental ways. I focus on a particular type of status created through federal court precedents, then codified in the federal immigration law since 1952. That status created a category of persons who were physically in the United States, but framed as though they were not “admitted,” and thus having the same position as persons just seeking admission from a foreign country. As nonadmitted persons, they were released from...

    • CHAPTER 2 Acts of Resistance in Asylum Seekers’ Persecution Narratives
      (pp. 40-54)
      Connie G. Oxford

      Immigration law in the United States treats asylum seekers as a special category of migrants. It enacts a boundary reserving refuge for those who articulate persecution as the motivating decision to cross a national border. Consequently, a narrative of persecution is necessary in order to gain asylum. Asylum is timely because it addresses the recent national anxiety about immigration in our post–September 11th world that questions who should be allowed entry into the United States, regardless of the motivation for migrating. U.S. policy makers have capitalized on Americans’ fear of terrorists in order to weaken immigration policies that admit...

    • CHAPTER 3 Family, Unvalued: Sex and Security: A Short History of Exclusions
      (pp. 55-78)
      Scott Long, Jessica Stern and Adam Francouer

      Richard Adams, a U.S. citizen, was in love with Anthony Sullivan, an Australian national. They lived together in Colorado in 1975. With Anthony’s visa about to expire, Adams tried to sponsor him for permanent residency in the United States. The written answer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service made its position clear:

      Your visa petition . . . for classification of Anthony Corbett Sullivan as the spouse of a United States citizen [is] denied for the following reasons:You have failed to establish that a bonafide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.¹

      Three decades later, what has changed? “Faggot”...

    • PRIMARY SOURCE: Boutilier v. Immigration Service, 1967
      (pp. 79-93)

      Petitioner, an alien who at the time of his entry into the United States was a homosexual, held excludable under 212 (a) (4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as one “afflicted with [a] psychopathic personality,” a term which Congress clearly intended to include homosexuals. Pp. 120–125.

      363 F.2d 488, affirmed.

      Blanch Freedman argued the cause for petitioner. With her on the briefs was Robert Brown.

      Nathan Lewin argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Solicitor General Marshall, Assistant Attorney General Vinson and Philip R. Monahan.

      Briefs of amici curiae, urging reversal, were filed by...

    • CHAPTER 4 Beyond the Day without an Immigrant: Immigrant Communities Building a Sustainable Movement
      (pp. 94-121)
      Eunice Hyunhye Cho

      It is without question that the immigrant rights protests of 2006 marked a milestone in U.S. history. Within the space of only a few weeks, millions of immigrants and their supporters marched in over 100 cities in almost every state in the country. The sheer magnitude of these mobilizations against H.R. 4437, or the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, set records as the largest immigrant rights demonstrations in U.S. history. In spite of the historic protests, and perhaps as an ominous hint of things to come, Congress closed its session after approving a new 700...

    • PRIMARY SOURCE: Documents from the National Network on Immigrant and Refugee Rights, 2006
      (pp. 122-133)

      As the principal legal organization that has represented hundreds of thousands of immigrants in court cases seeking legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), and having assisted the Congress when it addressed IRCA in 1986 and again when it drafted the LIFE Act in 2000, and having worked over the past several months with members of the Senate and local coalitions and community-based organizations to arrive at a comprehensive immigration reform package, we are deeply disappointed with and must now oppose the Senate’s immigration bill unless it is dramatically improved in a Conference Committee, the chances...

  6. APPENDIX: Groups Endorsing the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Spring 2006
    (pp. 134-138)
  7. PART II: Ambivalent Allies, Reluctant Rivals, and Disavowed Deviants

    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 139-141)

      As a political movement, immigrant rights necessarily involve coalition building. Just as immigration policy has often created odd categories to describe people—for example, the “Asian barred zone” operative throughout most of the twentieth century, which mapped the undesirability of all “Asian” people, from East Asia to Afghanistan — people from different places, living in different regions, with different languages and access to resources reach across what divides them to advocate for more just treatment of all people called “immigrants.”

      While most of the articles in this collection deal with questions of alliance in some way, the articles in this section...

    • CHAPTER 5 “Pale Face ’Fraid You Crowd Him Out”: Racializing “Indians” and “Indianizing” Chinese Immigrants
      (pp. 142-155)
      Dustin Tahmakera

      On the front cover of the February 8, 1879, edition ofHarper’s Weekly: A Journal of Civilizationis a drawing titled “Every Dog” (No Distinction of Color) “Has His Day” (Fig. 5.1). Artist Thomas Nast depicts a peculiar-looking male “Indian” leaning towards the attentive ear of a Chinese male caricature. Covered in tattered blankets and rubbing his chin in sagacious thought, the “Indian” stands slightly over the long-haired, hollow-eyed immigrant. Anti-Chinese flyers, such as “PROHIBIT CHINESE IMMIGRATION,” are posted on a wall behind them. Seated to their left in the background is an inattentive black man with the words “MY...

    • PRIMARY SOURCE: People v. Hall, 1854
      (pp. 156-158)

      Mr. Ch. J. Murray delivered the opinion of the Court. Mr. J. Heydenfeldt concurred.

      The appellant, a free white citizen of this State, was convicted of murder upon the testimony of Chinese witnesses.

      The point involved in this case is the admissibility of such evidence.

      The 394th section of the Act Concerning Civil Cases provides that no Indian or Negro shall be allowed to testify as a witness in any action or proceeding in which a white person is a party.

      The 14th section of the Act of April 16th, 1850, regulating Criminal Proceedings, provides that “No black or mulatto...

    • CHAPTER 6 A History of Black Immigration into the United States through the Lens of the African American Civil and Human Rights Struggle
      (pp. 159-178)
      Zachery Williams, Robert Samuel Smith, Seneca Vaught and Babacar M’Baye

      Long before the controversy over the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, national origins quotas, and a national identification system, the nation faced a problem with undesirable Black immigrants. Even though the issue was introduced by a European initiative in the Americas, Black immigration has historically been perceived as being culturally invasive and distinctly alien. To be a Black immigrant is to be subject to a rigid set of attitudes, assumptions, and policies with regard to culture and place. Much of this legacy is owed and directly attributable to the era of slavery and slave trading. Discourse on Black migration was...

    • CHAPTER 7 Rescuing Elián: Gender and Race in Stories of Children’s Migration
      (pp. 179-189)
      Isabel Guzman Molina

      In June 2004, the Puerto Rican government reached a compromise with the Russian Consulate over the much-disputed fate of nine-year-old Arnas Gaurlicikas.¹ Maritza Ramos, a Supreme Court judge, adopted the boy, who was born in Lithuania with Russian citizenship and abandoned by his mother on the island in 2002. Ramos had cared for the child since his case appeared before her family court, and she claimed the boy’s adoption was fair and legal. However, after a two-year battle, his maternal grandparents successfully sued to bring him back to Lithuania. The transnational custody battle between Russia and Puerto Rico over...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Rights of Respectability: Ambivalent Allies, Reluctant Rivals, and Disavowed Deviants
      (pp. 190-206)
      Lisa Marie Cacho

      In the spring of 2006, we witnessed a national mass mobilization opposing House Bill 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, also known as the Sensenbrenner Bill. Among the many undemocratic measures proposed, this bill, if passed and enacted, would increase crimes considered aggravated felonies, intensify mandatory punishments, allow indefinite detentions, and deny entry to all nationals from countries that either deny or delay accepting deportees. People of all colors across the nation organized to oppose H.R. 4437. Referred to as the immigrant rights movement, activists coordinated demonstrations, marches, walkouts, rallies, and a nationwide boycott referred to...

  8. PART III: Immigrant Acts

    • [PART III Introduction]
      (pp. 207-208)

      The title of this section is taken from Lisa Lowe’s magisterial book,Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics(Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996), in which she sets forth the myriad ways that Asian immigrants to these shores have struggled for identity and power, and in doing so, have transformed the meaning of citizenship for all Americans. The three essays in this section examine the formation of various immigrant rights organizations. Immigrant activists offer a different model of politicalaction. Immigrant workers, according to Glenn Omatsu (in this volume), transform what is possible by their vision of society and their...

    • CHAPTER 9 What Explains the Immigrant Rights Marches of 2006? Xenophobia and Organizing with Democracy Technology
      (pp. 209-225)
      Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Angelica Salas

      During the spring of 2006, millions of people, most of them Latino immigrants of various nationalities and ages, took to the streets to raise their voices and placards demanding justice in immigration reform. The marches were in favor of immigrant inclusion and civil rights—specifically, the right to legal status. Among the protestors were many people without legal, authorized immigration status. Cries of “Hoy marchamos, manana votamos” (Today we march, tomorrow we vote), and placards demanding “Full Rights for Immigrants!” but also “ We Love U.S.A. Too!” filled the streets. Many of the marchers wore white, to symbolize peace, and...

    • PRIMARY SOURCE: Shame of the Nation: A Documented Story of Police-State Terror against Mexican-Americans in the USA, 1954
      (pp. 226-245)
      Patricia Morgan

      Patricia Morgan worked for the Los Angeles Committee for the Protection of Foreign Born during the 1950s. In April, 1954, President Eisenhower appointed a military man, a retired U.S. Army General like himself, as Commissioner of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, a post traditionally held by a civilian.

      Late in May, Congress confirmed this appointment.

      The man is Lieutenant General Joseph M. Swing, known to reputable newsmen as “a professional, long-time Mexican hater.” Swing was with General John (“Blackjack”) Pershing on the United States’ punitive expedition into Mexico, an “expedition” which kept U.S. troops on Mexican soil from...

    • CHAPTER 10 ¡Sí, Se Puede! Spaces for Immigrant Organizing
      (pp. 246-265)
      Christine Neumann-Ortiz

      The preceding poem captures the essence of what the immigrant rights marches meant to so many people. Though many people participated with a common sense of justice, it is also true that each individual had a unique story to tell. I first describe the organization that coordinated the marches in Milwaukee, Voces de la Frontera, and then share some of the stories of the people who organized and participated in these historic events.

      Voces de la Frontera (VF) is a low-wage and immigrant workers center with two chapters in Milwaukee and Racine and a youth chapter, Students United for Immigrant...

    • CHAPTER 11 Immigrant Workers Take the Lead: A Militant Humility Transforms L.A. Koreatown
      (pp. 266-282)
      Glenn Omatsu

      Where do leaders for our communities come from? How do people develop the skills to lead communities?

      In neighborhoods across the United States today, we often hear the following question: “Where are this generation’s Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Cesar Chavez?” Implicit in this question is the belief held by many in America today, especially young people, that there is a leadership crisis facing our communities and that little can be done to change society until new leaders emerge.

      Actually, in our communities today inspiring, new leaders have already emerged—but they are largely invisible, except...

  9. PART IV: Questions of Democracy

    • [PART IV Introduction]
      (pp. 283-285)

      Questions of immigrant rights are essentially questions about democracy and citizenship. By advocating for their rights as citizens and noncitizens, immigrants have transformed the nature of U.S. democracy since the early twentieth century.

      What rights do migrants across national boundaries possess? If, as t-shirts at the marches during the spring of 2006 proclaimed, “no human being is illegal,” what does this mean? Are immigrant claims to equal opportunity to be staked in terms of human rights, or are the rights of immigrants, documented or not, a key component of national citizenship? This section addresses these questions.

      In chapter 12, the...

    • CHAPTER 12 Who Should Manage Immigration—Congress or the States? An Introduction to Constitutional Immigration Law
      (pp. 286-300)
      Victor C. Romero

      Scanning today’s headlines, airwaves, and weblogs, it’s easy to conclude that the United States is in a fairly anti-immigrant mood. From new federal laws authorizing the creation of a 700-mile border fence to increased security at airports and seaports, from calls for fewer immigrant visas to crackdowns on undocumented workers, Americans are clamoring for the president and Congress to prioritize comprehensive immigration reform. Yet, in small towns and some states around the country, a growing number of local governments are no longer willing to wait for the federal government to act. Places like Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, are formulating...

    • CHAPTER 13 The Undergraduate Railroad: Undocumented Immigrant Students and Public Universities
      (pp. 301-314)
      Rachel Ida Buff

      In 1982, the United States Supreme Court ruled inPlyler v. Doethat states cannot deny undocumented children a K–12 education.¹ Writing for the majority, Justice William Brennan asserted the right of these children to equal protection under the Constitution, rejecting the state of Texas’ claim that their immigration status rendered the students outside the constitutional definition of personhood. Responding to this judicial assertion in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, Congress dictated that “illegal aliens” cannot be considered residents of a state for the purposes of assessing tuition at public institutions of higher...

    • CHAPTER 14 Our Immigrant Coreligionists: The National Catholic Welfare Conference as an Advocate for Immigrants in the 1920s
      (pp. 315-328)
      Jeanne Petit

      At an Ash Wednesday Mass in 2006, Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese pledged to initiate a campaign of civil disobedience if Congress passed a law making it illegal to give assistance to undocumented immigrants. In an editorial in theNew York Times,he complained that through this sort of legislation, Americans “scapegoat [immigrants] for our social ills and label them as security threats and criminals.” He argued that speaking up for the “dignity of millions of our fellow human beings” is “our Gospel mandate, in which Christ instructs us to clothe the naked, feed the poor and...

    • CHAPTER 15 Building Coalitions for Immigrant Power
      (pp. 329-342)
      Fred Tsao

      This article discusses how my organization, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), has sought to organize immigrant communities across ethnic lines to build power and shape policy. I begin by describing the demographic context of our work, then discuss our overall strategy, as well as specific examples of coalition building across immigrant communities and beyond.

      More than 12.4 million people lived in Illinois as of 2005. Of these, 1.7 million, or 13.6 percent, are foreign-born, and 1.5 million are the U.S.-born children of immigrants. About one-half of Illinois’ immigrants entered the United States between 1995 and 2005....

    • PRIMARY SOURCE: Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, June 26, 2006
      (pp. 343-346)

      “The Opportunity Is Now: Participate, Become A Citizen, Vote”; that was the message sent to Chicago’s nearly 500,000 immigrants who are eligible for citizenship by Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schawkowsky when they joined dozens of leaders of immigrant groups, business and community organizations on Monday to announce a “massive citizenship and voter registration drive.”

      Although Independence Day draws near, for immigrant populations nationwide, July 1 will will be a powerful symbol of patriotism, since its recent declaration as “National Citizenship Day.” This declaration has ignited new political movements with the state of Illinois in the lead. Today, in preparation...

    • CHAPTER 16 Their Liberties, Our Security
      (pp. 347-362)
      David Cole

      On January 24, 2002, the U.S. military transported John Walker Lindh, a young American raised in Marin County, California, and captured with the Taliban on the battlefields of Afghanistan, to Alexandria, Virginia, where he was to be indicted in a civilian criminal court for conspiring to kill Americans. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer announced that “the great strength of America is he will now have his day in court.” Represented by some of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country, Lindh raised substantial constitutional challenges to his prosecution, and the government ultimately dropped its most serious charges against him...

    • PRIMARY SOURCE: The Deportation Terror: A Weapon to Gag America, 1950
      (pp. 363-382)
      Abner Green

      Abner Green is executive secretary of the American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born. He has filled this post since 1942, and, previous to that, served as educational director and Washington Legislative Representative for the Committee. A native of New York, Mr. Green is also serving as a Trustee of the Bail Fund of the Civil Rights Congress of New York and has been actively engaged in the field of civil rights for the past 15 years.

      The American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born was organized in 1932 and has functioned since that date as an agency assisting non-citizens...

  10. PART V: Afterwords

    • [PART V Introduction]
      (pp. 383-384)

      The authors in this collection have shown how the concept of “immigrant rights” draws on, contradicts, and complicates existing categories of citizenship and nation. In the early twenty-first century, with free trade agreements facilitating the mobility of corporations and migrants crossing international borders to seek refuge and opportunity, even such complex categories undergo change. This book concludes, then, with two broad visions of the ways we have come to imagine citizenship and nationhood. Implicit in both essays are ways these imaginings might be transformed to become more egalitarian.

      Looking back to the Mexican-American War and the resulting annexation by the...

    • CHAPTER 17 The Mexican-American War and Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: A Foundational Borderline Fantasy
      (pp. 385-401)
      Donald Pease

      InA Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in the United States,Ali Behdad has established a heretofore unrecognized connection between U.S. culture’s mythical representation of itself as an “Immigrant Nation” and the negation of the history of the violence inflicted against immigrants that this self-forgetful representation necessitates.¹ “Immigrant America” has always been a myth rather than a historical fact. This foundational national fantasy projects the ways that Americans want to represent themselves to the rest of the world. This origin myth is not remembered. It is reproduced through a scene of the nation’s founding that represents what Americans...

    • CHAPTER 18 Rights in a Transnational Era
      (pp. 402-424)
      Monisha Das Gupta

      The post-9/11 treatment of immigrants in the United States, particularly those of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent, has reanimated an interest in the civil rights entitlements of those who, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status, are perceived as threats to U.S. national security. The imagery of the civil rights movement was powerfully and repeatedly invoked by activists and the liberal mainstream media alike in 2006, when hundreds and thousands of immigrants marched in the spectacular rallies across the country between March and May. They were protesting proposals in Congress to make felons out of an estimated 11 to...

    (pp. 425-432)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 433-446)