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

jill-anderson-coverBy Jill Anderson

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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.

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The immigrants still ‘California Dreamin’

5/18/16 BBC

CaliforniaA group of drunken men are loitering on the pavement outside Claudia’s block of flats in San Francisco. In the run-down lobby, visitors are greeted by a broken fridge.

The studio flat Claudia shares with her two young daughters though is tidy and homely.

Claudia fled from a violent partner and became homeless. She has been rehoused by a San Francisco charity but her problems are far from over.

‘Fearful for my children’

Claudia does not want to give me her full name because she is one of the more than 11 million undocumented migrants living in the US, and she is worried by the political rhetoric in the presidential race.

“What Donald Trump said shocked me very much because I’m Mexican,” she says.

“I’m fearful that my children would have to fend for themselves because he would want to deport me.”

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Women Journey to Mexico to Put Focus on Immigration during Pope Visit

2/17/16 NBC News

Border fence by couchlearnerFor Guillermina Castellanos, the Pope’s message on compassion for immigrants is personal. Though she and her nine children are U.S. citizens, the California resident said her husband has been living in the U.S. for about 20 years and has not been able to legalize his status. Every time her daughters see a police officer drive up behind them, they’re afraid that their father will get pulled over and get arrested for being undocumented.

I tell them, ‘Don’t be afraid. The cop won’t do anything to your dad,'” Castellanos said. “But they still live with that constant fear.”

The Pope’s trip to the city of Juárez, Mexico on Wednesday is drawing hundreds of thousands of faithful on both sides of the border. But as the eyes of the world descend on the Pontiff’s visit to the area, some U.S. families like Castellanos say they want to ensure that people focus on the Pope’s message of compassion and dignity for immigrants.

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TEXAS WON’T GIVE BIRTH CERTIFICATES TO CHILDREN OF UNDOCUMENTED WOMEN

7/16/15 Houston Press

Baby feet by Flikr user sabianmaggyState officials have refused to give an untold number of Texas-born children birth certificates due to their parents’ immigration status, according to a lawsuit that was filed earlier this year.

More than a dozen undocumented women have sued the Department of State Health Services, saying workers at vital statistics offices in the Rio Grande Valley refused to give them birth certificates because of insufficient records proving their identity. Many of the women had used the same documents – a so-called matricula issued by their consulate or a foreign passport without a current U.S. visa – to obtain birth certificates for other children born in Texas as recently as 2012.

The lawsuit, which was reported by the Texas Observer earlier this week, claims these children are being discriminated against because of a parent’s tenuous immigration status. Without official proof of the parent-child relationship, the children have been unable to enroll in school, have had difficulty obtaining medical care and other benefits they should be eligible to receive as U.S. citizens.

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U.S. to ease some deportations to Mexico under settlement

08/27/14 Reuters

immigrant mother and boyU.S. authorities have agreed to stop pressuring undocumented immigrants in Southern California to sign off on their own deportations under a legal settlement that may later allow some deportees to return from Mexico to seek U.S. legal residency, advocacy groups said on Wednesday.

The deal reached between the American Civil Liberties Union and federal officials stems from a lawsuit brought last year on behalf of other immigration rights groups and about 10 immigrants who accepted so-called “voluntary returns” to Mexico.

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Mark Zuckerberg, undocumented immigrants ‘hack’ immigration reform

facebookThe Los Angeles Times, 11/20/2013

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is bringing young undocumented immigrants with engineering chops to Silicon Valley to “hack” immigration reform.

Twenty young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children are taking part in a “DREAMer Hackathon” on Wednesday at LinkedIn’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

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Can Obama legalize 11 million immigrants on his own? Op-Ed

immigration marchThe Washington Post, 11/14/2013

It’s now looking extremely unlikely that Congress will enact immigration reform this year. And that raises a question: Could President Obama use his executive powers to effectively legalize some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States?

This possibility has actually been raised several times before. Back in August, Sen. Marco Rubio warned House Republicans that if they don’t pass a bill, Obama will act on his own: “I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress,” Rubio said, “to issue an executive order as he did for the Dream Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen.”