NEW PUBLICATION | Bilingual, Bicultural, Not Yet Binational: Undocumented Immigrant Youth in Mexico & the United States

jill-anderson-coverBy Jill Anderson

Read the publication

An entire generation of children, adolescents and young adults has been caught in the crucible of increasing criminalization of immigrants coupled with neoliberal globalization policies in Mexico and the United States. These are first- and second-generation immigrant youth who are bicultural, often bilingual, but rarely recognized as binational citizens in either of their countries. Since 2005, an estimated two million Mexicans have returned to Mexico after having lived in the United States, including over 500,000 U.S.-born children. As of 2005, the population of Mexican-origin immigrant youth in the United States (first- and second-generation) reached an estimated 6.9 million. They have come of age in conditions of extreme vulnerability due to their undocumented status or the undocumented status of their parents.

The challenges that immigrant youth face in the aftermath of deportation and return are varied. Emotional distress, post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and alienation are commonly described as key factors during the first months to years of return. These young people have experienced family separation, a sense of alienation, and human rights violations during detention and deportation. Systemic and inter-personal discrimination against deportees and migrants among the non-migrant population in Mexico can make an already challenging situation more difficult. For some, an accent, a lack of language proficiency in Spanish, and/or tattoos make it difficult to “blend in,” find jobs, or continue their studies. In addition to emotional and socio-cultural stress, there are also facing systemic educational, employment and political barriers to local integration and stability.

This paper examines the phenomenon of binational immigrant youth and, in the interest of constructing a binational agenda that privileges the human security and socio-economic integration of immigrant youth in the United States and Mexico in the short- and long-term, proposes a list of binational public policy recommendations.

Read the publication

Competing Views on How to Regulate Illegal Migration

10/30/16 The New York Times

BraceroProgram.jpgThe Bracero Program, which drew hundreds of thousands of Mexican laborers to toil in American fields from 1942 to 1964, left a searing memory of injustice. The program has been blamed for depressing farm wages and abusing immigrant workers.

So I wasn’t surprised that some critics took a dim view of the proposal I wrote about in last week’s column, which suggests that an improved version of the Bracero Program might help manage immigration by low-skilled workers into the United States and curtail illegal immigration.

Critics argue that the Bracero Program did not stop illegal immigration. And they cite some evidence that farm wages rose after it ended. Other studies, however, suggest otherwise. There is no historical census of illegal immigrants, so the numbers will remain in dispute.

Read more…

Mexico finds dehydrated migrants in US-bound lorry

10/21/16 BBC News

immigrationThe Mexican authorities say they have stopped a lorry carrying 121 Central American migrants, who were trying to reach the US illegally.

They were found after police at a checkpoint in the southern state of Tabasco heard calls for help coming from the vehicle and the sound of crying children.

Many of the migrants, who included 55 minors, were badly dehydrated.

Most had come from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador or Ecuador.

Read more…

Why Haitians are stranded in Mexico

20/10/16 PRI

In a quiet Tijuana neighborhood, Haitian migrants mill about in the morning light. Some rest on blankets under trees, others play dominoes. Babo Pierrot, 44, wearing a tattered sweatshirt, talks to his wife in Haitian Creole. The couple and their baby boy arrived here about two weeks ago, migrating from Brazil. They had lived there since the massive 2010 earthquake in Haiti forced them to leave.

Read more…

Haitians vulnerable on Mexico-U.S. border as migrant crisis escalates

10/19/16 Reuters

bicultural1Camped in migrant centers, broken-down rooms of a dingy, semi-derelict hotel and on church floors, thousands of Haitians desperate to enter the United States are in limbo and exposed to crime in dangerous border neighborhoods of Mexico.

The hard-bitten fringes of Tijuana and Mexicali are currently believed to house some 5,000 Haitians, and about 300 more are arriving daily after an arduous journey from Brazil, Mexican official numbers show.

Read more…

Migration at US-Mexico Border Is Shifting in Big Way

10/17/16 NBC New York

Border - MexicoThe people arriving at the United States’ southern border are no longer Mexican migrants, mostly men, in search of jobs, but a steady stream of asylum-seekers, NBC News reports.

The Obama administration said Monday that the prevailing view of the border is outdated, and that more Central Americans were seized along the border than Mexicans in fiscal year 2016, only the second year that’s happened.

Read more…

Border fence

The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration

“Although this report focuses on the United States, the rise in the share of foreign-born populations is an international phenomenon among developed countries. And, given disparities in economic opportunities and labor force demographics that persist across regions of the world, immigration is an issue that will likely endure. Recent refugee crises further highlight the complexity of immigration and add to the urgency of understanding the resultant economic and societal impacts (…)

(…) To what extent do the skills brought to market by immigrants complement those of native-born workers, thereby improving their prospects; and to what extent do immigrants displace native workers in the labor market or lower their wages? How does immigration contribute to vibrancy in construction, agriculture, high tech, and other sectors? What is the role of immigration in driving productivity gains and long-term economic growth? “

Read more: