Symposium: The U.S. Immigration Regime and the Politics of Belonging

Symposium: The U.S. Immigration Regime and the Politics of Belonging


TRICIA ROSE: My
name is Tricia Rose. I’m the director for the
Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in
America here at Brown. And we hold a variety of
kinds of events on race, ethnicity, on inequality,
on social justice, on creative expression. And I want to encourage
you, if you have– didn’t find this from
our mailing list, to sign up on our mailing
list outside and make sure you are aware of other
things that come up. So I want to thank you for
coming on a Friday afternoon. And I want to thank
our amazing guests. This is a fantastic
group of people who were probably
busy before November, but who might be a little
extra busy now after November. And so I’m very grateful that
they would come here and share their insights with us. It’s an honor and a
delight, for sure. And although, I
will say that our– we did plan this before
the Trump election. We didn’t know how
useful it was going to be and how critical it was going
to be until that fateful day. Before I introduce the
brains behind this operation, I want to thank the staff. Because at CSREA, we, as
they say metaphorically, punch way above our weight. And that’s mainly probably
almost entirely due to the best possible
staff anyone can have. So I want to thank
them both a lot. Because by the time
we get to April, you know, it’s a very tough,
exhausting period of time. And things are always
done really perfectly. So I really want to
thank them a great deal. But I mostly want to
thank Yalidy Matos who is just a fantastic
post-doctoral fellow at CSREA nearing the end of her two
year appointment here, sadly. But she’s been a great community
member, citizen, participant in seminars, in the
classroom, and art exhibits, and the brains behind
this operation. One of the things we
try to do at CSREA is give our
post-doctoral fellows opportunities to envision
programs and colleagues around themes and topics
that are especially relevant for their
research and that play an important
role on campus, right, not to just have everything
be my personal muse. I could, but it wouldn’t be–
it would only entertain me. And this would have
happened anyway. But Yalidy and I thought
about this for quite awhile. And she did most of the
intellectual heavy lifting. So I want to thank her
a great deal for that. It is very, very generous. So let me introduce Yalidy. And she will introduce the
event more specifically. Professor Yalidy Matos received
her PhD in political science from The Ohio State University. She’s currently a presidential
post-doctoral fellow based both in Watson
and at the Center for the Study of Race
and Ethnicity in America. Her research on public opinion
on restrictive immigration policy stems from both a
personal and professional investment in the topic. She’s currently working
on her first book where she examines contemporary
immigration laws and policies and argues that these
policies should be understood within a historical
context that recognizes the centrality of
racial formations and the connections between
different racial projects in the continual imagining
of America and Americans. Her project traces the more
contemporary and internal flow of the Latino/Latina immigrants
to different parts of the US. And in the fall of 2017,
our very own Yalidy Matos will be an assistant professor
at Rutgers New Brunswick in the Department of
Political Science and Latino and Caribbean studies. Please join me in
welcoming Yalidy Matos. [APPLAUSE] All righty. Thank you so much for being
here today and for your time. Thank you, Tricia, for
that lovely introduction. And also, thank you
to the staff at CSREA and our co-sponsors as well, the
[INAUDIBLE] Center, the Latino Studies Fund, and the Department
of American Studies and Ethnic Studies. So today, I’m going to
briefly just frame the event and give you a sense of sort of
my thinking around why I wanted to have this event as
well as introduce to you our keynote speaker. And a little bit later, I’ll
introduce to you our panelists. US immigration
policies, alongside other race-based
policies, have been used to define who
and who is included and who is excluded from
the American polity. Given this history, what
have been the key immigration policies that ultimately
defined Americanism? What role have
race and ethnicity played in the history
of immigration policies? And how do we understand our
current political, social, and economic situation? In other words, how
did we get here? And how do we move
forward in such a racially tense environment? These were some of
the questions that motivated me to organize
a symposium of scholars whose expertise can
elucidate the answers to some of these questions. Immigration within the
contemporary political discourse is situated as a
main source of insecurity. As an issue,
immigration is deployed to address the insecurity
of American borders– the US borders, state lines,
neighborhood and county borders, as well as the more
figurative ones such as bodies. Conversations about immigration,
borders, national security, upon closer examination, are,
in part, about belonging. In fact, immigration
in the United States has been and continues to
be about the delineations of boundaries and belonging. By definition,
immigration delimits America national identity. In his book, To Be an
American: Cultural Pluralism and the Rhetoric
of Assimilation, Bill Ong Hing argues
that, and I quote, “The current cycle
of nativism comes at a time when
immigration is dominated by Asians and Latinos. As a result, the discussion of
who is and who is not American and who can and cannot
become American goes beyond the technicalities of
citizenship and residency requirements. It strikes at the very hearts of
our nation’s long and troubled history and legacy of race
relations,” end quote. American national identity is a
cultural and political identity that defines the discursive
parameters of who belongs and who does not belong. Borders, then,
become a spatial site where national security
is enacted and performed. These borders, whether the
physical or the imagined kinds, are the sites in which
immigration battles are fought and Americanness is contested. Lilia Fernandez in her book,
Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto
Ricans in Postwar Chicago reminds us that Latinos’
ethnoracial identity as possibly brown can broaden
our understanding of race in America. However, she also
states that Americans struggle to grasp
Latinos as a population. She states, and I
quote, “Some continue to see Latinas and Latinos
as recent arrivals, newcomers needing assimilation, or at
worst, illegitimate members of American society. Such characterizations
are surely informed not just by
ongoing immigration, but also by the perplexing
and seemingly incomprehensible ethnoracial identity
of Latinos,” end quote. We continue to witness Professor
Fernandez’s observations across many ethnoracial
groups in America. Ultimately, Fernandez’s
work reiterates Professor Hing’s arguments
about the importance of race in conversations about
immigration and migration. Alongside the emergence
of the fight over Americanness has been an
emergence of vigilantism by both authorized
members of the community, but also by private citizens. Americans have been especially
vigilant against those who do not fit their imagined
community, which then gets described as protecting
American values rather than the more accurate
description of racism. Official legislation,
whether enacted or not, like the USA Patriot Act,
287(g), and Secure Communities programs discursively
construct South Asians, Muslim and Arab
Americans, as well as Latinos as the prime
targets of vigilantism. More overt conceptions
of these laws often define the parameters
of an imagined community that places immigrants, regardless
of immigration status or birthplace, on the outskirts
of American national identity. This, then, results
in the treatment of such groups as
un-American and, thus, not deserving of rights,
security, and protection. In more recent
years, we have seen the emergence and importance
of geopolitics and geography more broadly vis
a vis immigration. Acts of violence continue to
be reported across the country, not just at the US borders. As a country, we’ve
witnessed a flow of immigrants away
from cities known as immigrant hubs to
lesser-known communities and counties and more
rural areas in states like Alabama and Utah. With the move to
more white spaces, vigilantism,
anti-immigrant sentiments, and state-level immigration
legislation have emerged. Professor Barraclough’s
scholarly work, in particular, her book, Making the
San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban
Development, and White Privilege, is important
given her focus on whiteness and how whiteness gets
described, envisioned, and defined by space and place. Her examination of the spatial
construction of whiteness allows us as
readers and scholars to ask questions
such as, what happens when nonwhite bodies
move into spaces that have been constructed as white? Her suggestions
that, and I quote, “Efforts to shape
and influence policy are crucial sites for the
formation and negotiation of identity,” end
quote, is currently being played out in
localities across the country. The United States is a country
with contradictory values and legacies. On the one hand,
the US has always considered itself a
nation of immigrants. America has welcomed immigrants
whether German, Irish, Catholic, or Protestant, and
opened its door to opportunity. On the other hand, America
has a distinct racial legacy, one of exclusionary
racial projects. How do we begin to unpack
the ways in which America’s racial legacy overrides its
nation of immigrants discourse? Professor Perry argues in
her recent book, The Cultural Politics of US Immigration:
Gender, Race, and Media, that even though, and I
quote, “Pluralism is celebrated as
a national value. Yet, the diversity
that immigrants carry over the border has
been perceived as a threat to the complexion, economy,
and unity of the nation, making immigration a perpetual
topic of debate,” end quote. Professor Perry’s work
brings a perspective that takes into account
both race and gender as well as popular
culture in arguing that law and culture
are not separate, but rather,
interrelated spheres. In light of present-day
immigration laws, executive orders, related
demonstrations and protests, I aim to put together
a group of scholars that are well equipped to answer
pertinent and timely questions. In particular, the event
is interested in asking how immigration laws
of the past continue to affect our country today. For example, what legacies
have IRCA and IIRIRA left? And how are these policies
being amended and used today? And what future will these
and more contemporary policies and executive orders fashion? In light of such an
already traumatic 2017, how might we forge
a way forward? What is the future of the
US immigration regime? The keynote speaker
and our panelists bring with them vast knowledge
from interdisciplinary perspectives, including
history, American studies, cultural and ethnic
studies, and legal studies, as a way to begin to
answer these questions. Now, without further
ado, I am honored to introduce to you our keynote
speaker, Professor Bill Ong Hing. Bill Ong Hing is a professor
of law and director of the Immigration and
Deportation Defense Clinic at the University
of San Francisco. He teaches immigration
policy, rebellious lawyering, negotiation, and evidence. He is the author of numerous
academic and practice-oriented books and articles on
immigration and community lawyering. His books include Ethical
Borders: NAFTA, Globalization, and Mexican Migration, Deporting
Our Souls: Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy, Defining
America Through Immigration Policy, and Making and
Remaking Asian America Through Immigration Policy. His book, To Be An
American: Cultural Pluralism and the Rhetoric
of Assimilation, received the award for
outstanding academic book in 1997 by the Librarians
Journal Choice. He has written a myriad of law
reviews and journal articles in a variety of
venues, including the Journal of Law,
Economics, and Policy, the Stanford Journal
of Law and Policy, as well as opinion
pieces and blog posts in venues such as the
Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. He was also co-counsel in the
precedent-setting Supreme Court asylum case, The INS
versus Cardoza-Fonseca. Professor Hing is the
founder of and continues to volunteer as general
counsel for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
in San Francisco. He serves on the
National Advisory Council of the
Asian-American Justice Center in Washington, DC. Throughout his career,
Professor Bill Ong Hing pursued social justice through
a combination of community work, litigation, and scholarship. Professor Hing has been
the awardee of many honors, including the Lifetime
Achievement Award by the Centro Legal de La Raza, Keepers of the
American Dream Award, National Immigration Forum– by the National
Immigration Forum– and the Tobriner Public Service
Award by the San Francisco Legal Aid Society. Most recently, he was an
honoree at the 2017 Rebellious Lawyering Conference where
his work was celebrated. In my graduate and
post-graduate career, Professor Hing’s work has
been invaluable, crucial, and incredibly timely. It is with great
honor that I introduce to you our keynote speaker,
Professor Bill Ong Hing. [APPLAUSE] BILL ONG HING: Thank you. All right. See if I can figure this out. [HUMMING] So thank you for
that generous introduction. And congratulations on
your new appointment. That’s such a thrilling
time in your career. And thank you to Dr.
Rose for the invitation. I’m going to put her on the
spot and incorporate her in my opening remarks. So I want you to think back
a few days or a few weeks before the November elections. And be honest with
us, what were you thinking a few days or a few
weeks before the election? What were you thinking of
doing and spending your time on before the election? TRICIA ROSE: [LAUGHTER] BILL ONG HING: Be honest. TRICIA ROSE: OK. I was thinking about how to
push Hillary to the left. BILL ONG HING: There you go,
a woman after my own heart. As a matter of fact– TRICIA ROSE: I was
assuming I’d have a reason to be pushing Hillary. Although, I was a little scared. I was, actually,
increasingly frightened and uncomfortable
seeing it more possible than I thought it should
that Trump would win. But I still thought most of
my energy would be spent, you know, basically– BILL ONG HING: Absolutely. So a week before the
general election, I was on a conference
call with the policy team of the Immigrant
Legal Resource Center. They have an office
in Washington and people in the Central
Valley and San Francisco. We were planning on how to push,
how the ILRC’s staff could push the contemplated new
administration to, for example, stop throwing so-called criminal
immigrants under the bus, to, for example, expand– to maintain the defense of
DAPA that Obama had proposed and that was being
hung up in the courts, to expand prosecutorial
discretion. A few days before the
election, in typical kind of academic fashion,
I’m thinking, OK, when am I going to– I’m partial
sabbatical this year. How am I going to find the time
to finish the book that I’m working on criticizing
the Obama administration for the treatment of
unaccompanied children from Central America? And I think I can figure
out how to do that and still work on this textbook
that I’m working with Jennifer [INAUDIBLE]
and Kevin Johnson on. That’s the academic in me. And then the day
before the election, at UCLA, I was
invited to the Network for Justice Planning Summit that
was sponsored by the American Bar Association that
was titled, “Welcome to the Future of Latinos.” And it was an interdisciplinary
research initiative. And this is the Monday
before the election. And we had so much
work that we completed that day in terms of
the planning, teams that were going to be
working on different issues. And we had students that
were excited on working with us on different projects. And haven’t heard
from them again. The day after the
election, I got a call from one of my former
colleagues at UC Davis, a woman named Afra Afsharipour,
who lives in San Francisco. She does this crazy commute
to Davis that I used to do. And it’s Wednesday afternoon. She calls me up
and says, Bill, I need you to come over
to the elementary school that I take my kids to in
Noe Valley in San Francisco. Parents arrived at
school this morning crying with their children. They’re worried that Trump
is coming to deport them. And I’m not exaggerating. I have been back to that school
now three times in addition to a multitude of other schools,
neighborhoods, community events, that kind of thing,
that I’ll allude to a little bit more in a second. So what I want to do
today is talk and compare what some of Trump’s
proposals are, what he’s actually
done with what I’ve seen in my lifetime and
a little bit of what we’ve all learned about prior to our
lifetimes and see where we are. I want to talk about the
reports of widespread fear and whether or not
that’s true and why is there fear if there
is fear and hysteria, is the fear justified, and these
types of closing remarks that you see on here. So let me just
dive right into it because there’s a lot that
I want to talk about today. And these are some
of the things that I want to review very
quickly in the beginning of my presentation that
the president has either implemented or proposed. And I’ll talk about each one
of them a little bit more clearly in a minute. Some were alluded to
in the introduction. So as we know, he’s now on
version 2.0 of the travel ban. And the initial travel ban
targeted seven countries and had very, very
loose language about not allowing in
anyone from those seven countries of the Middle
East and pretty much period, not allowing anyone in. So it was written in such a
broad manner that it included people with lawful
permanent resident status, so-called green
card status– which, we all know they’re not
green cards anymore– and also people who
already had visas in hand, they wouldn’t be able
to enter as well. And really, it was
written that broadly. And immediately, at least four
different federal district courts across the country
put a halt to those travel bans as being– as having two or three problems. One, there was a
constitutional problem in terms of the First Amendment. The First Amendment is
not just about speech. It’s got a establishment of
religion prohibition in it as well. And so the evidence
that the judges accepted in enjoining or stopping
the national travel ban on the First
Amendment ground was evidence out of
Trump’s own mouth that his intent,
from the primaries through after the election
through discussions with former Mayor Giuliani, was
that he wanted to stop Muslims from entering the country
and the evidence of Mayor Giuliani saying, this is
what I was asked to do and this is what you see
as a result of being asked to draft the parameters
of a Muslim ban and several other comments
that his inner circle had made. So that was the problem with
the First Amendment ground, that it was a violation of
the Establishment Clause. Then there there’s
this technical problem that every president has,
including President Obama. How much are you authorized
to do as the executive? How much can you,
yourself, implement the federal immigration laws? And you are charged
with the responsibility for enforcing the
immigration laws. So how far can you go when you
enforce the immigration laws? And his argument
hung on a provision of the law, section 212(f) of
the Immigration and Nationality Act that says that the president
can actually go after classes of aliens that are
coming to do us harm and can suspend their entry. Now think about
that for a moment. If that’s what the language
is, that you can suspend the entry of those that
are coming to do us harm, you can do that. The problem is that when
you name an entire country. That’s when former acting
Attorney General Sally Yates said, time out
here, Mr. President. I cannot defend that because
there’s evidence that people have entered from those seven
countries that are not coming here to do us harm. And so, sure enough– well, she got fired
for that, of course– but sure enough, that’s what
the four district courts said. You’re defining it too broadly. You cannot say that everybody
from those seven countries is coming to do us harm. And during that period
of time, of course, our own military stood
up for Iraqi nationals and pointed to examples of
folks that worked with in Iraq and how helpful they
were and that it was crazy to try to exclude
everybody from Iraq. And so version 2.0 drops
Iraq for that reason. But everything else pretty
much stayed the same, except that they also made
it clear now that somebody with a green card– lawful permanent
resident status– and people with visas in hand
are not covered by the ban. But again, honestly, it
doesn’t take a lawyer to figure this out. He’s now saying everyone
from six countries are coming here to do us harm. And again, they can’t
win that argument. They can’t win that argument. Now, there are
three federal judges that have agreed with
what I just said. There’s one federal
judge in Virginia that does not agree
with what I just said. And so there’s a
three to one split in federal court opinions. I’m 100% confident
that when this gets to the Court
of Appeals in what’s called a Ninth Circuit, which
covers the Western states, they’ll reach the same
conclusion as the three– as what they did back
in January or February. And time will tell
whether or not the Federal Court of
Appeals that covers Virginia, what it will do. But in the meantime, nothing
has been implemented right now. And I imagine that until
President Trump narrows his attack on certain
groups in the manner that President Obama
and President Bush did, he actually will not have
that statutory authority. And how they did
it was they named specific terrorist
organizations. I didn’t agree with them. But by naming specific
terror organizations, they at least have a factual
chance of supporting the ban. Naming six countries is
just way over inclusive and a violation of the Equal
Protection Clause in addition to the statutory authority. So what’s it reminiscent of
in terms of comparative stuff? Well, I’m not going to talk
about the Asian exclusion laws. But I was around– I started practicing
immigration law in 1974. In 1979– many of you saw the
movie Argo a couple of years ago– when the Iranian students took
over the US embassy in Tehran for more than a year. In response to that,
President Carter ordered the largest group of F1
students in the United States to report to Immigration
and Naturalization Service. That largest group
was Iranian students. They were the largest F1 student
group in the United States at the time. They all had to
come in and report. They did not all get deported. But many of them did. Those that were under– either had worked without
permission off campus or were taking 11 units instead
of the required 12 units or whatever it takes
to have a full load, they were deported, highly
technical violations. And so that was– there were two separate
courts of appeal decisions on the legality
of that round up. And they were deemed– it was deemed within the
president’s authority to call in people of a
specific race to determine– or nationality– to
determine whether or not they were in compliance
with their student visas. And that was sustained. And then, of course, we don’t
all need much reminding about post-9/11 that under the Patriot
Act and other independent actions of the
Department of Justice– which at that time controlled
Immigration and Naturalization Service, right before
Department of Homeland Security was established– there were also calls for
people from Muslim countries on immigrant visas
to come in to INS. Many disappeared for days. And something called the NSEERS
program, a national entry and exit registry
program was established. It wasn’t until the
Obama administration that was removed. And that’s all
been upheld where– again, it’s similar to
the Iranian situation– people in those
visa categories can be asked to come in to
have their visas reviewed. So it’s not exactly
a travel ban, but the idea of
bringing in people of particular
nationalities is similar. His call for so-called
extreme vetting has got a lot of people puzzled. Because there’s already
extreme vetting. There’s a terrorist– that
began with George Bush and expanded under
President Obama, there’s a Terrorist
Watch Database, there’s an Immigrant
Violator Database. There’s grounds of
inadmissibility. Every immigrant and nonimmigrant
applicant to the United States has to go through a very
rigorous application process and a laundry list of
grounds of inadmissibility. There’s fingerprinting involved. There’s interviews involved. And honestly, people are
wondering, what more can you do to so-called vet people? And I think it’s more smoke
and mirrors, this language. The refugee process alone,
takes two to three years to get a refugee visa. It involves not just the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but it involves
the Department of Justice, once– not once, but twice– because DOJ generally. And then it’s FBI separately. Then it’s the Department
of Homeland Security. And then it’s the
Department of State. And so there’s just no way
that the screening hasn’t been strong in the refugee– because, I’m not a big
admirer of George Bush. But he wasn’t that stupid and
the people that worked for him. They were trying to
figure out if anyone was trying to come and do us harm. And Obama was right up
there in terms of vetting. Expedited removal
is something that– it’s a process where you
can deport, basically remove somebody without a hearing in
front of an immigration judge. And the law provides
that anyone who has lived here for
less than two years can be subject to
expedited removal. President Obama, who
we loved chastising and labeling the
deporter in chief but still wishing we had
him back for some reason, his numbers were way up
there in large part because of expedited removal for anyone
within 100 yards of the border, including, I might add, a lot of
Mexican unaccompanied children that are treated differently
than unaccompanied children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El
Salvador for technical reasons dealing with trafficking laws. But he limited it
to 100 miles, anyone caught within 100 miles of
the border who had been here for less than two years. Trump has announced he’s taking
this kind of dormant provision and expanding it to anywhere in
the continental United States. The interior memo
that was issued on January 25th,
executive order, says that anyone
caught who has lived here for less than two years
anywhere in the United States will be subject to
expedited removal. And that’s pretty
clever because the law can be read in a way
that permits that. And it actually is an
example of the fact that there are a
handful of people that are advising him on
immigration matters who know what they’re doing. The most notable
one is Kris Kobach who is currently the attorney
general of Kansas, I guess. And He was the author
of Arizona’s SB 1070. He was the author
of Alabama’s HB56. I can go on and on. He’s a professional consultant
to governments for authoring anti-immigration laws. He’s authored a
couple ordinances, for example, that would
make it unlawful to rent to undocumented immigrants,
that kind of thing. And so Kris Kobach, he
came up with this and some of the more smarter proposals. But at any rate,
we have seen it. But this is different. We haven’t actually
seen it implemented yet. But that’s the proposal. And so when we do our know
your rights presentations, we tell people three
things minimally. One, right to remain silent. Two, don’t carry any
evidence that you were not born in the United States. And three, at home,
if you’ve lived here for more than two years,
keep a file of evidence that you’ve lived here
for more than two years. Credible fear processing
applies to people that are fleeing for violence. And it can be– the types that
we see in our clinic at USF, all we represent, actually,
are Central Americans. And it’s domestic, gang,
or cartel violence. And you have to– when
you arrive at the border, you’re screened– and not by an immigration
judge, but by the Border Patrol or some other immigration agent. And they’re supposed to give you
a preliminary screening but not demand evidence that you’re
going to be persecuted. And there is criticism
that Obama’s folks applied it too stringently. But now, Trump has announced
that they’re really going to clamp down on people
approaching at the border. Right before the election and
then right after the election, the screening got worse
at San Isidro and Nogales. It’s very difficult
to get in now. Haitians have been trying to
get in through that port– those ports of entries and
others from Central America. And they’re running
into brick walls. We have a special
project related to that. So President Obama
loved making speeches about deporting gang
bangers and serious felons and talking about– what was his phrase? I’m trying to remember it– that we’re going to deport gang
bangers and serious felons, not family members, implying
that they don’t have families, which, of course, is a problem. And President Obama did
engage in operations where they would go in with
warrants for individuals and while there, his
ICE did ask people who happen to be there also for
their immigration papers, what would be called
collateral arrest. So there were some
people that were not criminals, many
people that were not criminals, that were arrested
and deported by the Obama administration. But that is one thing that
Trump wants to expand greatly. And he’s beginning with the
expansion of the definition of criminal immigrants. His definition of
criminal immigrants in the executive
orders is anyone who’s just been arrested
and not yet convicted. That’s a criminal immigrant. And why does that
make a difference? The reason that
makes a difference is because the vast majority
of county and city police departments cooperate with ICE. The vast majority
are very willing. And this is related to
the topic of the threat of de-funding sanctuary cities. When they think somebody
is undocumented, they’ll call ICE up. The vast majority of law
enforcement officials in the country do that. And so Obama Interior
deportation figures were 1,250 per month. Not the border, but interior
deportation figures under Obama was 1,250 per month. Those were almost all referrals
from local law enforcement officials. You can be sure that that
number is going to increase. And TRAC at Syracuse
University– T-R-A-C, it’s an
acronym for something– they keep data on
immigration enforcement. And so we’re waiting for
the new data to come up. And they will also engage
in collateral arrests. And I’ll allude to
this in a minute again. But the enforcement
activities that have occurred so far
around the country have somewhat been related
to people who were on a list. And it could be criminal. And of course, they’re
asking everyone else at the apartment
building or at the work site for their
immigration documents. Trump pledged to deport millions
of undocumented immigrants. And as I said, so far– people can correct
me if I’m wrong, I do try to keep track of this– there haven’t been the
types of large raids that I’ll tell you
about in a minute. But that doesn’t mean
that they won’t do that. One thing for sure is that ICE– many ICE employees have
been waiting for this day. They were pissed off at Obama
for DACA and then the DAPA. They didn’t like
prosecutorial discretion. They sued Obama saying, you’re
not allowing us to do our work. They always got
thrown out of court. The ICE suits always
got thrown out of court. But they’ve been waiting to
be unleashed like dobermans. And, you know, so let’s wait
and see just how many of these kinds of raids actually occur. In the past, of course,
we’ve seen a lot of raids. The Palmer raids where political
raids aimed at workers. There was one day that a million
workers in the United States went out on strike– can you imagine– because
they wanted to organize. And this was a way of
attacking union organizing. The most infamous one
was in January 2, 1920. In one day, there were raids
all across the country. And 3,000 people were
arrested on one day. And we’re talking–
it was mostly immigrant workers that
were part of that, which is kind of interesting, right? Because that’s what unions
are relying on today are immigrants workers,
what’s left of unions. The Mexican
repatriation– there’s a lot been written on that
in the last few years. Probably about another million
people were deported under– in this era. And what is most mind boggling
is that 2/3 were US citizens. Let me repeat that. 2/3 were US citizens that were
asked to leave the country. Of course, it’s illegal
to deport US citizens, but they coerced into leaving. Repatriation was a
euphemism for deportation. You know, so, again,
I’m looking ahead. But you think there’s fear now? Well, you know, I think
there was fear back then. Operation wetback,
another million folks were deported in 1954,
primarily Mexicans as a precursor to building
up the Bracero program fear. The Bush raids– gun
toting raids at work sites, in particular, were very common. There was a December 2006– there was one day of raids
that was planned all the– well, six Swift– S-W-I-F-T– Swift meat packing
plants around the country. They’re mostly in rural
parts of the United States. 6,000 workers were detained. Again, half of the detainees
that day were US citizens. Now, they didn’t
all get deported. But they were
detained for anywhere from four to eight hours
while their data was checked. There were big
lawsuits after that. Obama and Janet Napolitano,
who was DHS Secretary, promised not to do those
raids, types of raids. And they pretty much
kept to that promise except for these criminal
kind of situations. He engaged more in silent raids. And that’s taking a briefcase
to the personnel office of businesses that
they thought employed undocumented immigrants
and checking I-9 forms. We all have to fill
out an I-9 when– and they do have legal
access to I-9 records. And they only have to give three
days’ notice to the employer. We’re coming in an I-9 audit. When there’s not a match
with a social security number and names, they
then send a no match letter to the employer and say, you’ve
got to fire these people or– clear this up or
fire these people. A lot of people lost jobs. They didn’t get deported. But a lot of people lost jobs. So this has been in the news. He put the bid out. I’ve lost track of
how many billions it’s supposed to cost– billions, right, and
double digit billions. And virtual fence bids
are not acceptable. But let’s not
forget, I mean, there was a 2006 Fence
Act that passed. I think it passed
the Senate 80 to 6. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
voted for the Fence Act, OK? And it didn’t all
get built. It was not much enthusiasm for
funding the whole thing. Even among Republicans, it
was not that much enthusiasm. They thought they could
handle it virtually. But Operation Gatekeeper,
which is in early 1990s, this is the part that
I continue to this day to be most upset about. Of among the different things
that I’m most upset about, this is the thing that
I’m most upset about when it comes to
immigration enforcement because Bill Clinton
set up a death trap. They closed off the
parts of the border that were most easy to traverse,
expecting that people, well, then they’ll be
discouraged, losing sight of why people come here. They don’t come
here for adventure or to visit Disneyland. I mean, they’re
coming, honestly, they don’t have a choice usually. And I’ve lost count. I shouldn’t have. I think it’s over 6,000 deaths
at the border, unnecessary. We don’t have to
set this up in a way that we know people
are going to die. And the wall is going
to continue to do that. People will still try to
enter out of desperation. They will die in the
summer in Arizona. They will die in the
winter in the mountains. And that’s on us. Those people are
dying because of us, because we put people
in these positions to enforce the border that way. And that is the
most shameful thing that’s happened in my career
as an immigration attorney. 287(g) agreements
which were alluded to, this is a partnership
between local law enforcement and the federal government where
the federal government says, “We will deputize you to help
us enforce immigration laws and give you some
money to do that.” Under Bush, I
think, at one point there were at least 70 such
agreements around the country. Obama reduced it to
about 30 because it was so much that went wrong,
especially along the lines of what Sheriff Joe
Arpaio did in Arizona, which completely racial
profiling, that kind of thing. Well, Trump has made
a new commitment to expanding the
287(g) agreement. What’s kind of kooky
about it is that a lot of the local
Sheriff’s departments want to do this because they
think that it’s a money maker. But they actually
end up losing money. Because they actually
have to put money up front to do the enforcement. And then they put in
for reimbursement. And they’re not getting
reimbursed at the rate that they thought. And so there’s a
lot of news reports on some counties being
skeptical because they’re going to lose money. Again, the Secure Communities
program was also alluded to. It’s a fingerprint
sharing program that was expanded, honestly,
under the Obama administration. It started a little
bit under Bush. But it was fully
expanded under Obama. What it is is that whenever
a police department arrests someone and fingerprints them,
the fingerprints automatically go to the FBI. That’s an act of due diligence. They want to make sure that the
person that they’ve arrested isn’t an abscondee or is
wanted by someone else. And so they do that. Obama and Bush
said, well, since we have the fingerprints in
the Department of Justice, why can’t we get access
to those fingerprints from the Department
of Homeland Security to check on their
immigration status? And so, in fact, there’s
a couple of great reports on Secure Communities program
that have indicated that many people who got deported
that way– you know, when there was no fingerprints– the vast majority
of people deported were not serious criminals. They were minor offenders
or were never offenders. And one of the big advocacy
groups that advocated against– in favor of closing down Secure
Communities were actually organizations that
were victims– that represent victims
of domestic violence. Because what I’ve
heard is that when there’s a call to the police on
a domestic violence situation, the police often don’t really
know exactly who’s the victim and who’s the perpetrator. So they often
fingerprint both parties. And once they fingerprint,
it goes to the FBI. And so there have
definitely been victims of domestic
violence who were deported because of Secure Communities. So he didn’t close it down,
Obama, until November of 2014. But Trump has pledged
to reinstitute it fully. The sanctuary city funding
threat is something that– it’s become a big deal
because some cities are afraid that they’re going
to lose federal funding. And San Francisco, I think– I may be not looking
at it globally– is kind of at the
center of this in part because there was a bad
shooting in San Francisco in the middle of the primaries. There was an innocent
woman who just happened to be walking with her
parents, doing tourist stuff. And there was a
bullet that was shot from a gun that ricocheted from
the sidewalk and killed her. And it was allegedly an
undocumented immigrant who had stole a gun from a car. And it was somebody who the
police had turned over– who didn’t turn over
because he didn’t have any serious criminal record. And so at that time, there was
a call for defunding sanctuary cities of any federal funds. That legislation
didn’t get anywhere. I think that was the summer
of 2015, maybe– yeah, 2015. But now Jeff Sessions
and Trump have threatened to defund sanctuary cities. And San Francisco is one of the
targets, Santa Clara County, New Haven, actually, a couple
of other places like that. And without getting
into too technical, the government will lose. The federal government
will not win this case. The Supreme Court, I am
predicting, even with Gorsuch on, will hold that this
threat is a violation of the 10th Amendment. You cannot force state and local
officials to do your federal work. And two, it’s a violation
also of the Spending Clause. You can condition
federal spending on certain things with notice. But the penalty can
only be 5% to 10%. And so you cannot
hold back entirely. So that’s my prediction. So what’s occurred– again,
I’m not sure if I’m living in a state where this
is distorted, OK– but there’s a lot of fear
in immigrant communities. And there’s a lot of different
headlines, of course. And can hear about it. And because of
that, there’s been a lot of know your
rights presentations, even family emergency plans that
are part of know your rights presentations. It’s signing temporary
guardianship papers in case you cannot pick up your kids at
school or in case you’re not there to make medical
decisions for them. That’s part of the packet
that we present to people. Why? Well, this is something that
you all know, as well as I do. He’s everywhere, right,
talking about this. I’m sure his poll numbers
are going to go up after what he did yesterday. But he’s got a lot of support
for his anti-immigrant stuff. He was elected on an anti– it’s kind of a seemingly
reckless immigration enforcement. Media coverage is constant. Social media, I mean
even Latinos, you know, that they hear about these
things on el Facebook, you know, kind of thing. And I don’t think that the Obama
deportation stuff or the Bush deportation stuff was
covered quite as much. And besides that, they
would both occasionally say good things about
immigrants, even Bush. And Bush wanted to have– I didn’t like it– but he talked
about having a massive guest worker program because he
thought that we need low wage, low income workers. I’m putting on here that the
fear and hysteria actually might be– I might be contributing
to the fear. And my allies might be. Because they’re such a
big network of allies, immigrant groups that
highlight these things. One false move by ICE,
and it’s out there. It’s reported. And When we do our know
your rights training, we try to contextualize it
and tell people the chances that you actually are
going to be deported and you’re going to need
to know this is small, but it’s like insurance
in case you are. But I do wonder whether or not
we’re contributing to the fear. Now, is the fear justified? Well, you know, he is
crazier and more out of control than most people. And I do think that we’ll
see a measurable enforcement increase, interior. As I said there’s renewed
vigor among the ranks. There are going to
be more collateral arrests and detentions. There’s been reports
of ICE actions at courthouses, health
clinics, and schools. Now, there was a policy– not courthouses– but
there was a policy that health clinics,
schools, and churches were labeled sensitive localities
that they wouldn’t go to. Well, they have
definitely been reports that they’ve shown up at
courthouses when they think somebody might be an immigrant
who is undocumented and/or was being– facing a crime. But there’s also been
reports that they’ve been outside of schools and clinics. And so that would be a violation
of sensitive locations. And also, at least there had
been conversation up until now about comprehensive
immigration reform. And that’s not happening. You know, and so,
what’s this all about? Well, you know, I think it’s
a lot about who’s the target. Obviously, we know who
the travel bans are. If you just go to the newspapers
and see who being arrested, there’s a lot of Latino’s
names, OK, Spanish surnames of people that have been
arrested and deported. We know that what
he’s implementing, these Secure Communities, the
287(g) agreements, the results are people from Latin
American countries. And that’s just a fact. Just a couple of
weeks ago, I was sitting in the waiting room
of a car wash in Redwood City. And there were– it
was about 7 o’clock. It was long after closing time. And there were about
50 car wash workers that were gathered in the room. And I was looking
around the room. I actually didn’t do
anything that night. I had trained students who speak
a lot better Spanish than me to do the training. And they were
doing the training. I was looking around the room. And these folks were
taking it seriously. And they asked very
hard questions. There was a little
bit of laughing at some of the role plays
that my students were doing. But when they asked
the questions, it was clear that they
had been paying attention. And they wanted to know
everything about what they can and cannot do, what they should
and shouldn’t carry on the job or at their kid’s
school or at– you know, walking on the street. And it’s not that complex. Trump wants to disrupt
the lives of these workers and their families. And I really do think that
he wants to create confusion. He wants people to be afraid. He wants people to, in the words
of Mitt Romney, to self-deport. And I think that
that’s intentional. We can stop some of these
costs unconstitutional actions. They can’t racially profile. There will be evidence
of racially profiling. There will be courts that
say you can’t do that. They will lose some
monetary judgments when they arrest citizens. But the point will
have been made. We’ve seen this before,
as you could tell. And I think that he has– back 20 years ago
in California when Prop 187 passed
which was the kids couldn’t go to school if
they were undocumented or if their parents were
undocumented that they couldn’t access public assistance. We’ve seen this
before when there was a lot of support
for anti-immigrant stuff in California. I don’t think Prop 187 would
pass today in California. But I worry about the
rest of the country. Because 3/4 of Trump’s
support during the primaries were pro-deportation,
anti-refugee voters. And today, almost half
of Republican voters favor deporting all
undocumented immigrants and barring Syrian refugees. So I just think that even
though his shenanigans indicate that we think
that they’re tripping over themselves. They have the time. And they’ve been
doing enough that they can cause this kind of harm. And it’s a shame that so
much publicity gets played, for example, about the wall. I had a debate with a
former student of mine a couple of weeks
ago about the wall. He said it was no big
deal kind of thing. And I said, you
know, I really think it is a big deal if
they built that wall. Because the walls are
just such bad symbols. And the wall sends
a message, actually. Even though, it’s kind of silly,
but if you saw the request for proposals, it’s got to
be aesthetically pleasing, but only from the US side. They don’t give a damn what it
looks like from the other side. But I think the
wall sends a message to immigrant communities
on both sides of the border that they’re not wanted. And so the United States
is more diverse than ever. And this increased
diversity is something that has occurred over
the last 150 years. And it, of course, began with
what we did to Native Americans and what we did
to African slaves. And then when Mexicans
started coming in large numbers in the
1950s and Asian immigrants after 1965, the
phrase, we are a nation of immigrants still captured
the essence of largely a Euro-centric society. But what I classify
what’s going on today as is this vigilante
type of racism that is emblematic of what’s occurred
in the various anti-immigrant movements that have gone on. And it’s a message. It’s a message of
othering that is really about de-Americanizing folks. I don’t know exactly
what it takes. But I know when I’m looking at
you, you’re not an American. And so the nation’s
public relations position is that we are a proud
nation of immigrants and multiculturalism
and inclusive of all. But unfortunately, we take
steps sometimes in the direction of inclusiveness,
but other times we take steps backwards
in that regard as well. And we learn and we
unlearn in the process. The bad behavior
of vigilante racism is reinforced in
times like this. Because it’s times like this
that this de-Americanization process attacking
communities of color perpetuate this image
as immigrants or folks that they’re partial
Americans and that they’re not full Americans
that are deserving of their place in the country. And that’s when,
whatever the data shows, if there is a majority of
Republicans that favor what’s going on, I choose to
believe that that’s not a majority of Americans. And if I’m wrong,
then I’m still going to fight until they understand
that we all belong here as Americans. Thanks. [APPLAUSE] YALIDY MATOS: Do you want to
take your own questions or– BILL ONG HING: Why
don’t we– yeah. YALIDY MATOS: We
have some questions. And let’s see, we
have this little– what is this called again? AUDIENCE: Cube. YALIDY MATOS: Cube. And you can ask your question. And you can pass it along. BILL ONG HING:
Wow, that is cool. I’ve never seen that. YALIDY MATOS: Right? You can pass it along
to other people as well. You can also stand
up if you’d like. But you can pass the cube along. AUDIENCE: You can even throw it. YALIDY MATOS: Yeah,
you can even throw it. AUDIENCE: So I have– BILL ONG HING: That, to me,
every school needs that. YALIDY MATOS: You can
ask a question, yes. AUDIENCE: Plyler versus Doe
that prohibits public schools from asking parents
for immigration status, are you seeing a lot
of violations of that? And are you worried
that the Supreme Court might overturn that? BILL ONG HING: Right. So Plyler versus Doe
was a case against Texas for passing a law that
undocumented children could not attend K through 12. And the Supreme Court in a
narrow decision, five to four, written by– well, I’m not sure if it was
written by O’Connor, come to think of it, but it was
a five to four opinion, I know O’Connor was
in the majority– that that was unconstitutional,
that Texas could not stop undocumented children
from attending K through 12. California tried
that in Prop 187. Plyler was in the 1980s. And when Prop 187 was
challenged successfully, the federal judge
cited Plyer versus Doe. Alabama’s HB56 56 attempted
that through sleight of hand by saying, we’re
just gathering data. We just want to know what
kids’ parents’ place of birth was or something like that. But that was also thrown
out, Alabama’s attempt. Do I think that there
are some folks that are thinking of
ways of preventing undocumented children from
going to public K through 12? Yeah, people were
probably thinking of ways. There’s not been another
proposal yet that’s passed that hasn’t been upheld. I worry about the
Supreme Court, for sure. Because it was five to four. It was in the 1980s. It included O’Connor. Again, without getting too
hyper-technical legally, it surprised– the outcome
surprised many legal scholars. Because the children were
undocumented and the right to education was involved. I’m going to say two things
that may surprise you. The right to education is
not a fundamental right under the United
States Constitution. Because it’s not a
fundamental right, it doesn’t trigger what the
Supreme Court would ordinarily do when it’s a fundamental
right, which is apply strict scrutiny of the law. And then when it comes
to undocumented folks, they’re not considered– they’re not considered
what’s called a suspect classification. When there’s a suspect
classification, the Supreme Court also
applies strict scrutiny. But undocumented
immigration has never been categorized as a
suspect classification. Lawful permanent
residents, you can’t discriminate against
lawful permanent residents. That’s a suspect
classification, but undocumented immigrants, no. So the fact that the Supreme
Court was not required to apply the strictest
scrutiny surprised– there’s a lot of law review
articles written on why the Supreme Court did that,
it was wrong or it was right, why it was right– because it was muddled. And so because of that,
the Supreme Court, the wrong Supreme Court,
the wrong five people could overturn it. Yeah, so I do worry about it. Just back there. You want to throw
this thing at him? AUDIENCE: Uh. I feel like I’d hit somebody. I will like throw
it from mid-way. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] or I
just hold onto it– oh, it’s a microphone. Oh, I get it. It’s a microphone. BILL ONG HING: That’s
why we’re doing it. Sorry, we didn’t explain. AUDIENCE: Oh, no. I thought it was like a box
you put the questions in. I was like, why do
I have to write? Right. So going along
with that question, are there any
specific court cases you’ve seen at the district
or the circuit court level that you are actively worried
about with the new makeup of the Supreme Court? BILL ONG HING: Yeah, it’s
kind of interesting that– so DACA is an acronym
for deferred action for childhood arrivals. It’s for people that
were called dreamers, kids that came here undocumented
when they were small and went to high school here
and are going to college or joining the military. And so Obama felt because
he couldn’t deliver comprehensive
immigration reform, that he would at
least grant them permission to stay here
for a couple of years and get employment permission
and then get extensions of that for every two years. It’s been a surprise that Trump
didn’t cancel that program. Because he had promised to
cancel the DACA program. But so far so good, OK? It’s business as usual. But one of the other things
that Obama tried to do was something called
a DAPA program, which is deferred action for
Parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. And that got hung up in court. And it never got implemented. He would have granted employment
permission and no deportation for parents of US
citizens under DAPA. That got hung up in court. And it’s supposed to
be go into trial in DC. But it got hung up because
the Supreme Court was asked to allow it to go forward. But they tied four to four, OK? And so presumably, Gorsuch
would make a difference. What’s surprising is that Trump
has not canceled the DAPA memo. Because we’re not
sure, politically, why he hasn’t canceled that memo. Because it never
went into effect. And so it’s going
to go to trial. We don’t think he’s
going to defend it. So it’s a puzzle. But if somehow, miraculously,
the judge in Texas rules that DAPA
was constitutional and it gets to the
Supreme Court again, then Gorsuch would
make a difference. So that’s one thing. There’s always
issues with respect to asylum interpretation. There’s always
issues with respect to something called
cancellation of removal, which is that you have to show
extraordinary hardship if you’re on documented to
get relief from deportation. Yeah, there are
potential cases that will end up in the
Supreme Court that are going to be problematic, yeah. YALIDY MATOS: I actually
have a question– BILL ONG HING: Sure. YALIDY MATOS: –for you. I have two questions. So I’ll ask them both. And then you can answer both
or decide on one or the other. My first question, some
of the way that you maybe talked about Obama, for example,
expanding certain things, I wondered what
would look different without those expansions that
Obama made that sort of laid the groundwork for
some of the things that are actually
going on now, right? So if we had somebody else who
did something different, right, who didn’t expand as much as
Obama did, who didn’t have, actually, this legacy of
deporting as many people as he did, what would it
look different maybe legally or maybe socially? And then the second question
was about fear, right, and about how much
brashly contributing, some allies are actually
contributing to fear. So my question is, so
what’s an alternative? What’s the alternative
to immigration? BILL ONG HING: Let me take up
first, the last question first. That’s what I keep on racking
my brain about and talking to not just my students,
but other allies. We’re doing the
right thing, right? We’re doing the right thing by
doing these know your rights presentations? We’re not scaring people? And the thing is, we’ve
seen these know your rights presentations work. In the Bay Area,
there was a visit by an ICE officer in San Mateo a
couple of weeks ago of a group. And the woman whose
door was knocked on happened to be at a training
at Catholic Charities. And she went through the
whole routine and said, I don’t need to talk to you. I know I don’t need
to talk to you. And that person that you’re
asking for isn’t here. And after 15 minutes, which is
a long time, ICE went away, OK? So, and I’ve heard it work
in other contexts, not recently, but in years past. I think that if we explain to
people that the chances are small that you’re going
to be deported, but here’s some insurance, including– we’re handing out red cards. Which, if you go to the
Immigrant Legal Resource Center web site, you can order
red cards, actually, for free where do
you distribute. It must be more than
Spanish and English now. But it says, I know I have
a right to remain silent. I’m exercising that right. Please go away. I know I can talk to an
attorney kind of thing. And so people carry those around
in their wallets with them. And if we explain to
them that the chances are you won’t need this,
but this is, I’d say, it’s kind of like an insurance
company policy, that’s the best I can come
up with in terms of I don’t think we’re
scaring people. I mean, there’s some folks– again, my allies that are
worried that some folks are using this to get
more funding too, that they’re going to
funders and saying things are so bad, people
are scared, you’ve got to give us more
money to do services and that kind of stuff. I’m exaggerating a little bit. But, you know, that’s part
of every funding proposal now that immigrant rights
organizations are doing is that we’re in
a different era, there’s threats of
mass deportation, look at this example
that happened, so that. Your first question
is really a good one. I actually think
that the answer is that there would have been
more of a social difference. For example, if Secure
Communities had not been expanded under Obama or
if credible fear stuff at the– oh gosh, I mean, If they had not
expanded these family detention centers in Texas, for example,
I just really think that– I’m just thinking of the lives
of those women and children in the detention centers– and you can read about the
conditions in those places– would have been so much better. There are reports of
people who were removed that have been killed upon
return to especially the three countries, Honduras,
Guatemala, and El Salvador. I just was so
disappointed that– you know, we were
in trouble when summer 2014, the big surge of
Central Americans coming in. And the Klan said, we should
shoot some of those folks, and they’ll get the message
that they shouldn’t be coming. Obama was also
criticized for creating the problem because of DACA. Stop and understand what
that criticism was, OK? Somebody was saying,
OK, because you’re giving deferred action to
dreamers who have lived here all their lives,
basically, you’re sending a message to
unaccompanied kids from those countries. You know, it doesn’t
make any sense, right? He actually knuckled
under to that pressure. So we were in trouble when
the Klan gets that platform. And then Obama looks
like he’s giving in to that kind of criticism
by treating them differently in his enforcement memos too. His enforcement
memos specifically excluded people who were
coming now to the border. And I’m still going to
finish this book attacking the treatment of
unaccompanied children. Because I still
think that that was a mistake on the part
of his administration. And it’s been very
harmful to those kids and to those women and
children that came and continue to come at a high rate
because of the violence in those countries. YALIDY MATOS: Yeah. BILL ONG HING: Yeah. YALIDY MATOS: Are there
any other questions? BILL ONG HING: Laura? Yeah. AUDIENCE: Thank you so much. Can you tell us a
little bit about what rebellious lawyering
is and how it’s different in a Trump regime? BILL ONG HING: Yeah, I get
a lot of chuckles sometimes when people read that I
teach rebellious lawyering. It’s not what many people think. Many people think that
rebellious lawyering is about rebelling against
Trump or rebelling against ICE and rebelling against
the government. A lot of people who practice
rebellious lawyering do that. Rebellious learning is rebelling
against conventional lawyering. And so you may have other
names for it in your fields. But it’s practicing in a way
where you respect the community and you respect the client. You look for allies
because you realize that you are not a
knight in shining armor and that other people
can help solve– it’s about problem solving and
figuring out a way to problem solve with the client
and with allies. For example, when you
have an immigration case, it’s making sure the client
understands every single aspect of why you’re doing
what you’re doing, every single
requirement for asylum, and why you’re doing what
you’re doing, why you’re– whether or not the
client can actually help you gather evidence. Because some clients are
better at it than you are. And who in their community might
be able to come and testify? Who do they think can
corroborate some of this? Who else knows
about what happened in your village that could
help in the case against us? And so it’s more that. Specifically in
terms of Trump, I’ll tell you we are so
concerned with his craziness and his ideas that, yeah, we’re
doing what I just described, including working with
litigators who don’t always work in a rebellious manner, OK? Many litigators who
are my best friends, they just say give me the issue. I don’t need to talk
to the client, OK? And many litigators
never talk to the client. And they win big
and important cases. I won’t tell you this,
but, you know, the attorney who won Doe versus Plyler
is infamous for not being a rebellious lawyer. OK, you can go look it up. He’s still around. And so now when we’re working
with those litigators– which we do, we have to, even
with the travel ban stuff– we make sure that those
litigators are sitting down with us and helping to explain
to folks what’s going on and why and what the
strategy is and why. And also, we’re
looking for allies. We’re actually looking for
people who can influence Trump. Because that’s what we did with
Obama and Bush and Clinton. We always look for people
to work on the inside. And we haven’t found
any good ones yet, but we’re still hoping. Yeah. AUDIENCE: Thank you. During the election,
there was a lot of talk on both sides,
Republican and Democrat, about immigration reform. And basically, in
this administration, we’ve heard about
walls and bans. But we’ve heard nothing
about actual reform. And it seemed for a while
there like both parties were both looking for reform. And it looked like
there might be a place for some collaboration
there to make some changes. And I’m just wondering if
it’s really dead in the water or if there is some behind
the scenes negotiation that’s going on that could give
us a little glimmer of hope. BILL ONG HING: Right. The only behind
the scenes– there is behind the scenes stuff going
on the Dream Act for dreamers. Because there are a number
of moderate Republicans, Jeff Flake from Arizona, Lindsey
Graham from South Carolina– where’s he from– and a couple of other
folks that really believe in the Dream Act, Marco Rubio. And so there is
conversation going on. And perhaps that’s why
Trump hasn’t canceled DACA. We don’t know for sure. But everything
else, I don’t think there’s anything else, rather,
is on the table with respect to that, which is very
different from when– if Hillary had won, I think
it would have been a lot. Because right after Barack
Obama won his second term, as you may recall, the
Republicans were so down, they thought the
only way we can ever win the White House is by
passing immigration reform, by getting the Latino
vote, remember that? Right? And so within months– I didn’t like the final bill–
but within months, the Senate passed comprehensive
immigration reform after in the spring of 2013. And it died because of the
Tea Party and John Boehner not being able to rally people
in the House kind of thing. And I was so looking
forward, for so many reasons, for Hillary to win
because it would force the Republicans
again to try for comprehensive immigration. But now that they won, they
don’t need the Latino vote or at least they think for now. Because they won
without the Latino vote this time and
without the black vote and without the Asian vote. YALIDY MATOS: All righty. Thank you so much, everyone
for those questions. And let’s give Professor
Hing a round of applause. [APPLAUSE] BILL ONG HING: Thank you. YALIDY MATOS: Thank you. We’re going to take a
quick 10 minute break. And then we will be back at 4:40
for our roundtable panelists where you get to
ask more questions. And also, Professor Hing will
also join but the panelists towards the end, during
Q&A, so you can get to ask more questions as well. AUDIENCE: All good? YALIDY MATOS: Yes, thank you. All righty. I hope break was good. It was definitely needed. We’re going to move on now
to our roundtable panelist discussion. And the way that it
will work is each of our three panelists will come
up, one at a time, of course. And they’ll give a brief
15, 20 minutes presentation. And then we’ll have an open
discussion, Q&A with the three panelists and Professor Hing
as well between the audience and the panelists and
also between the panelists themselves as well,
if they would like to ask each other questions. It is with great pleasure that
I introduce to you our expert panelists this afternoon. And I ask that you hold the
applause till the very end. Lilia Fernandez is the Henry
Rutgers Term Chair Associate Professor in Latino
and Caribbean Studies in the Department of History
at Rutgers University New Brunswick. Lilia Fernandez obtained
her PhD in ethnic studies from UC San Diego. Her research interests include
US Latino history, immigration, race and identity, urban
renewal and gentrification, women’s history,
and urban education. Her groundbreaking book,
Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto
Ricans in Postwar Chicago was released in 2012. And it is the first
history to examine the migration of these two
ethnic groups to Chicago. In her work, she discusses the
social and economic changes that took place
in the urban north in the mid 20th century such as
declining industrial employment and massive urban
renewal projects and how Mexicans
in Puerto Ricans navigated these
dynamics to claim their own geographic and
racial space in the city. Fernandez is currently working
on two edited projects, an interdisciplinary
volume on Mexican-Americans outside the US Southwest, and
an encyclopedia, 50 Events That Shaped Latino History. Fernandez serves on a number of
editorial and advisory boards for journals like Aztlan,
Latino Studies, and the Journal of American Ethnic History. In 2015, she joined
the editorial board for the Historical Studies
and Urban America Series at the University
of Chicago Press. Laura Barraclough is associate
professor of American Studies and ethnicity,
race, and migration where she teaches courses
about cities, geography, race, and ethnicity and immigration. She received her PhD in
American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of
Southern California. Her scholarship
integrates archival, ethnographic, and
spatial analyses of urban life and culture. She is the author of Making
the San Fernando Valley: Rural landscapes,
Urban Development, and White Privilege,
which is the first history of LA’s iconic suburb. And with Laura Pulido
and Wendy Chang, Barraclough authors
a People’s Guide to Los Angeles, an
alternative tourist guidebook that highlights sites
of racial, gender, sexual, labor, and environmental
struggle in LA’s vernacular landscapes. She has also been working
on several shorter projects related to race,
immigration, and urbanization across the American West. And she engages in public
history initiatives on these same themes,
notably as co-editor of the New People’s Guide
book series with UC Press. She is currently working on a
book project that investigates the production of ethnic
Mexican masculinity and immigrant illegality
through charreada Mexican rodeo in the US Southwest. Articles from that
project have recently been published in Aztlan, a
journal of Chicano studies, and Ethnic and Racial Studies. Leah Perry is assistant
professor of cultural studies at SUNY Empire State College. Perry receives her PhD from
George Mason University cultural studies
program, a Master’s of Arts from New York
University in humanities and social thought, and a second
Master’s of Arts and religion from Yale Divinity School. Her research and
teaching interests encompass gender and
sexuality, American studies, immigration, race and ethnicity,
and media and popular culture. Perry is the author of
The Cultural Politics of US Immigration:
Gender, Race and Media, where she argues that 1980s
immigration discourse in law and popular media was
a crucial ingredient in the cohesion of the
neoliberal idea of democracy. Examining the relationship
between law and culture, Perry’s book weaves questions
of legal status and gender into existing discussions
about race and ethnicity to revise our understanding
of both neoliberalism and immigration. Her work can also
be seen in journals, such as Cultural Studies and– I’m sorry, I lost my place. Her work can also be seen in
journals, such as Cultural Studies and Lateral and in book
collections, Cultural Studies and the Juridicual Turn:
Culture, Law, and Legitimacy in the Era of
Neoliberal Capitalism, and American Shame: Stigma
and the Body Politic. She currently serves the
American Studies Association as co-chair of the Committee on
Gender and Sexuality Studies. Perry has recently received
a Fulbright Scholar Award to teach in
Hungary in 2017, 2018. And with that, please help
me introduce our panelists this afternoon. [APPLAUSE] LILIA FERNANDEZ: OK. Good afternoon, everyone. I want to thank Yalidy
Matos, Professor Tricia Rose, the Center for the Study of Race
and Ethnicity in the Americas, and all the staff and
sponsors that helped to make this event possible. So, thank you very much. It’s really wonderful
to be here today. So when I was
contacted and asked to speak on this panel on
the 1965 Immigration Act, I thought that what I would
do is talk a little bit about the ’65 Immigration
Act and placing it in historical context. So I’m not going to be talking
about my own research today, but thinking about
how the ’65 law really can be seen as a starting
point for understanding our modern immigration system. There are various
landmark laws or policies that historians point to as the
founding moment of the modern– the immigration
system that we’ve lived with for the
last several decades. But the ’65 law,
I would say, is as good as any, as the
1924 Johnson-Reed Act, the bracero program, or
subsequent laws after ’65 to explain the dynamics that
we see in the country today. So I should mention that
Laura Barraclough and I were on a panel together on this very
same topic at the Urban History Association’s conference
this past fall in October in Chicago. Although our focus there was
on the 1965 law and cities, how the immigration act had
an impact on urban areas, the metropolis in the US. So as we discussed there, and
as a number of scholars note, the ’65 law was in many
ways a liberalizing policy because it did away
with the national origin quotas that had been in place
since 1921 and then since 1924. However, it was
liberalizing only in regards to
European immigrants and to Asian immigrants. In the case of immigrants
from the Western hemisphere– that is from Mexico,
Latin America, and we could say
Canada as well– the law, actually, for
the very first time established numerical
quotas for immigrants coming from these countries. So we need to think about
it in different terms when we think about
Mexican immigration and, particularly,
immigration from Latin America and the Caribbean. It appeared, of course, at the
end of the bracero program, which had already conditioned
Mexican labor to circulate through a temporary migrant
laborers circuit to the US and back to Mexico. And it also appeared
in the midst of an ongoing illegal
immigration crisis, as it was being
described at that time. So I point this out to remind
us that the fear, the anxiety that we’re seeing today, the
nativism, the xenophobia, and, of course, our
reaction to it is not new. We’ve seen waves of
this before in the past. I was glad to see Professor
Hing mention the Palmer raids, for example, the
deportation of Mexicans during the Great
Depression and, again, during the mid-1950s in
the midst of the bracero program which
actually had increased unauthorized immigration
to a great extent. So one of the dangers of
talking about these issues or bringing together a
roundtable on immigration issues is that we often end up
preaching to the choir, right? We all seem to tend to
have a general agreement about our opposition to
anti-immigrant politics. We all understand the need
that people have in the coming the United States. So I thought that what I would
do today in the few minutes I have is to get down
to the nitty gritty and look at some of
the statistics and data to help us understand what,
in fact, has been going on and why. Before I get to some
of that, however, let me provide a little bit
more context here in terms of how this immigration act– when it appeared and what
it did and didn’t do. We know, of course, because
of the bracero program, because of the ongoing
circulation of Mexican labor during the 1940s,
50s, and 60s to the US that there was a high demand
for labor in the country. And we have to remember as
well that part of the decision to end the bracero
program included the creation of the border
industrialization program on the Mexican side
of the border meant to address economic need
and the demand for migration from Mexican workers. This, however, would not
be an effective policy. Essentially, the border
industrialization program summoned the wage labor of a
segment of the population that had not participated in paid
labor outside of the home traditionally at
very high rates– women. Maquiladoras that were
created along the border employed primarily
young women and, thus, did not address the need
at all for male employment in the Mexican labor market. Although it did, if we wanted to
look at this in positive terms, did open up industrial
employment for women, right, something that had been
foreclosed in the past. And this, of course,
occurred at the same time that runaway plants,
manufacturing plants and industry were
leaving the urban north, going south, both in the US
and then overseas, but also a period when manufacturing
began to undergo automation and mass mechanization. So in other words, the
demand for that kind of industrial labor
was declining anyway at the same time. And apart from Mexico and
the border industrialization program there, of
course, Latin America would see similar economic
development strategies during this time. Political conditions in
Latin America, the very ones that would achieve the
economic objectives of US and multinational
corporations to create similar
industrialization schemes in the Caribbean
and Central America– think here export processing
zones or EPZ’s that were created in the
Dominican Republic and many other places– again, drawing on women’s
labor, but at wages that did not do much to raise
families out of poverty, created social turmoil,
dislocations, and other forms of unrest that exacerbated
conditions and economic need in these countries
and therefore prompted increasing flows of migrants
at this very moment, OK, after the ’65 law. Now, as Yalidy mentioned
in the introduction, I’ve been working on
this encyclopedia project and have a number of
authors who have been submitting their entries to me. And I’ve been learning a whole
lot about a lot of these laws and these policies in much more
detail than I had known before. And in reading the entry on
the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, I discovered
that, in fact, some scholars have argued that one of the
provisions of the 1965 law, which was to establish
a preference for family reunification, is, in fact,
blamed by– some scholars point to that as the cause for
increased backlogs in visa application processing today. In other words, this has
exacerbated the problem of undocumented
immigration by making it more difficult for
immigrants from Mexico, specifically, but also
from India and China to immigrate legally. So I wanted to turn to that
first and take you to a website that an immigration lawyer
taught me about some years ago as I taught immigration
history courses at Ohio State. And that is the– you know, when people
talk about immigration, about illegal
immigration and say, why don’t they just get
to the back of the line and immigrate legally
like everyone else does? Why can’t these people
just follow the rules and do what they’re supposed to? Well, what is rather
interesting and what I did not realize, you know, exactly
until I was introduced to this is that that line
is incredibly long. Most Americans don’t
really understand how long that line is. So if you go to the US
Department of State’s travel web site, you can
get per diem rates if you’re looking
for reimbursement from your University, learn
about how to get your passport. But if you’re
someone who’s trying to enter the United
States and get a visa, you might go here to
the visa bulletins. They’re asking for my feedback. No, thank you. You might go to the visa
bulletin page and find this. Every month, the State
Department issues visa bulletins which
tell you, give you some detail about the
visa processing schedule. So if you scroll down, this
here gives you an explanation about statutory numbers. And Professor Hing probably is
much more familiar with this than I am and knows all
of the inner-workings. But I wanted to take us to this
section on family sponsored preferences, which
again, was one of the provisions of the ’65
law that family members of US citizens and legal
permanent residents would get priority as potential
immigrants into the country. So if you fall into one of
these preferential categories– unmarried sons and
daughters of US citizens, that’s category F1, remember
that; F2A spouses and children of permanent residents; F2B,
unmarried sons and daughters who are 21 or older, 21
years of age or older; and then F3, married sons
and daughters of US citizens; F4, brothers and
sisters of US citizens. All right so those are
the different categories. Now, if you go down
to the table and see– look at the schedule
here, what this tells us is for all
areas of the world, with the exception of
these four countries– China, India, Mexico,
and the Philippines– if you want to qualified
to enter the United States under an F1
category, you need to have applied by
October 10, 2015, so about a year and a
half backlog, right, to get your
application processed. However, you notice
over here that if you’re coming from Mexico and you fall
into this preferential category of F1 or F2B or F3, for example,
you need to have applied– oh, I apologize. Let me go back. I misread this. This, I think, is 2010
for all other areas. So there is a longer
backlog there. But for Mexico, it goes
all the way back to 1995. When I show my students this,
they’re completely stunned. This explains why so many people
come without authorization. Because in order to get in– I mean the line
is 22 years long. In order get legal visa
or some kind of permit to come to the
United States, you need to have applied
22 years ago. And this, again,
is only if you fall into one of these
preferential categories. If you don’t have
family who are already US citizens or permanent
resident aliens in the US, then your chances
are even slimmer. So that’s the back of
the line, essentially. And that helps to explain why
so many people essentially come without papers. Now, we know that Mexicans
constitute about 65%, I think– maybe some
estimates are higher– of the undocumented population. However, one of the things
that we tend to overlook is the fact that
they have primarily been the focus of deportation,
of immigration regulation much more than immigrants
from other countries. And one of the things that
I think the ’65 law helps us to talk about and
understand is the way in which this
modern-day deportation apparatus has really grown
over the 20th century. So if we look, for
example, at data from the yearbook of
immigration statistics from ICE, Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, or the INS before the
agency’s name change, you see the number
of deportable aliens that were located by Immigration
Services over the 20th century beginning in 1925. Now, if you look decade
by decade, however– and I’m going to bring up
these little red squares so you can read this
a little more clearly. From 1941 to 1950, for example,
1.3 million, almost 1.4 million deportable aliens were
located; from 1951 to ’60, the decade
before the ’65 law was passed, almost 3.6 million;
from ’61 to ’70, 1.6 million. Look at the numbers
prior to this and you see that they
were much, much smaller, from 25 to 30, 31 to 40. Now, if we continue
from 1971 to 1980 after the supposed liberal
Immigration Act of ’65, you see that number
skyrockets to 8.3 million. From in the 80s it went
up to 11.8 million; in the 90s, 14.7
million just about; and then in the first four
decades of the new millennium, 4.7 million. If we focus just on the
data from that 2004 year, you see the total number of
deportable aliens located, which was about 1.2 million. And then you see the
breakdown by country. And I don’t expect you to
be able to read any of this. But you can just get a
sense that these figures are pretty small, right? They’re single
digits, double digits coming from places like Belarus,
Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia,
Serbia, et cetera. But– let me go
back for a second. So that total number
was 1.2 million. If you look at the figures for
North America, specifically Mexico, you see that almost
that entire number is deportable aliens from Mexico. So in other words, ICE
is focusing on immigrants specifically from Mexico,
and to a lesser extent other Latin American regions
like Central America, 62,000 people. If we look at aliens returned
by region and country– now, these numbers
are from 2009 to 2014. Again, here are
the total numbers– 582,000 in 2009, a
decline after that to 2014 about 162,000
people who were returned. But once again, if we look
at North America knowing that the majority of those are
from Mexico– not Canada, which is the only other
North American country– again, you see that it’s
Mexican immigrants who are bearing the brunt of this
kind of regulation and removal. Now, the good news,
I think, in all of this or one of the
things that I think we need to take
into consideration is that at moments of tremendous
anti-immigrant rhetoric, of nativism and
xenophobia, we see that legal immigrants in the
US respond by naturalizing at much higher rates. So you remember back in
2006, the Sensenbrenner bill, the immigrant rights marches,
all the talk about immigration reform that never, in
fact, came to pass, well, if we look at the numbers
of people that filed petitions to naturalize in
those years, you see that they rose
dramatically– from 2006, 730,000 to
2007, nearly doubling. 1.3 million people applied
to become US citizens. So I share this
with you to offer us some hope that those who do
have a pathway to citizenship, those who do have
access to becoming US citizens do take it up. Unfortunately, it’s often
at moments of crisis. And, you know, there are
many, many people who get left out of this process. But nonetheless, it’s
important for us to consider. And I’m just about
of time, right? So let me just end
with two final things. I want to give credit
where it’s due. This comes from Professor
Doug Massey, who many of you know is one of the leading
experts in immigration, particularly from Mexico, who
presented this a few years ago when he came to visit
at Ohio State, which is where I was previously
before going to Rutgers. That really revealed
I think why it is that illegal immigration
becomes such a rallying point for anti-immigrant
rhetoric, why it becomes such a hot topic
and draws so much attention, so much anger. And he starts this feedback–
what he calls the immigration feedback loop– on the far
left with unauthorized entries. We know that people enter
the country without papers, without documentation. Although we know also that
only 40% of illegal immigration comes across the
US-Mexico border. Nonetheless, those people
that come, some of them get apprehended, right? When this is in the
public’s view, when it’s caught on television, on
the news feeds, on web sites, et cetera, social media, this
creates a tremendous amount of anti-immigrant reaction. So what does that do then? Well that leads to people
contacting their congressmen, complaining about all
these alleles entering the country, et cetera,
and ultimately leads to restrictive legislation and
more restrictive operations. In other words, the border
patrol gets beefed up. There’s a lot of talk
about cracking down on illegal immigrants
and, you know, dealing with this problem. So this leads to more border
patrol agents, more funding for the Border Patrol. And that, of course, results
in increased line watch hours, as they’re called, more people
at the front lines watching and looking for
undocumented immigrants. So it’s not surprising,
then, that if there are more people that
are monitoring, if we’ve got militarized
equipment in this process as well that then adds those
unauthorized entries continue, more of them are apprehended. And this continues this
loop over and over again. So I think that we
need to talk as well, as we talk about the issue of
what is happening now in this Trump era, under this new
administration and all of the anti-immigrant sentiment
that he has mobilized– although, I will remind us
that, as someone mentioned the other day at a presentation
that I attended, only 26% of eligible voters in the United
States voted for Donald Trump. So as much as he likes to
think that he has gotten this mandate from the nation,
that Americans are all riled up about illegal immigration
and want him to do something about it, only 26% of
all eligible voters put him into office. Nonetheless, I want to end
with a tangible example. You know, as Professor Hing
was talking about the fear and whether or not we are
fomenting too much of it in having these
conversations about Trump and about the impact that his
potential policies might have, I think it’s important
to historicize these moments in the past. But I think we do see some
very real concrete examples of the effect this is having and
so I wanted to share something with you, if I could get– something that I came across
this morning at 5:00 AM when I woke up and
checked my Facebook feed, which I haven’t been
doing a lot of lately but which, nonetheless,
I think was very timely and heartbreaking too. And this points to the
link between the issue of undocumented immigration
and the whole health care issue that’s been going on right
now with the Affordable Care Act and all of that. This is the sister of
a dear friend of mine who posted this, actually
from yesterday morning. She said, today is a sad day. My father-in-law will
be transported to Mexico from Chicago by the hospital. He is undocumented
and uninsured. He had a brain injury that
left him unable to function. There is no justice. There is no peace. Health care continues to be
for those that can afford it. The struggle is real. The struggle continues. Heart broken. When I read this, it really
touched me because, you know, I haven’t met this
woman’s father-in-law. And yet, she captures, for us
right now at this very moment, what is so urgent
about the impact that these policies
are having and that this rhetoric is having for
people like her father-in-law. But it also gives us
more reason to continue to strategize and
think of ways to combat the nativism and the xenophobia
and what may be coming ahead, and hopefully also
energizes us to continue teaching our students
and talking to one another about these issues. So thank you. [APPLAUSE] LAURA BARRACLOUGH: Hello. How is everyone doing? Thank you for being here. It’s the cranky hour, as
my five-year-old would say. So I’m glad that
you all are here. Thanks to everyone for
putting this event together. I want to start by
situating myself– I should put that like on. Thank you. I’ve got it. It’s that one. Thank you for doing that. I want to start by situate
myself in relationship to our conversation. I’m trained primarily
as an urbanist and a historical and
cultural geographer. And so what that means is that
in my research and teaching, I’m really interested in
the spatiality of inequality and how the kinds of– so for today, I’ll
be thinking about how questions of citizenship
and belonging around race, migration status,
ethnicity, gender, and class are negotiated in the ways that
people organize physical space and are constantly producing
and transforming the landscapes and, in particular, the ordinary
landscapes and the vernacular landscapes that we pass through
and are producing everyday. So I’m going to start
today by outlining some of the broad trends that
scholars have been talking about in both urban history
and cultural geography and highlighting some of the
areas of research and practice that I think are really
exciting and innovative. And then I’ll, in the
second part of my comments, share with you some of the
research that I’ve been doing, which is about how
Mexican migrants remember the rural past in order
to exercise belonging and agency in the city. Oh, and I should say too that
my expertise is primarily in Los Angeles
and the Southwest, cities like San Antonio,
Denver, Puebla, Colorado, etc. So I’ll be driving most of
my examples from that region. So as a result of
transformations in the 1965 Immigration Act, as
well as the broad policy changes that Lilia
outlined for us, contemporary migrants are
continuing, as we know, to arrive in the nation’s
traditional immigrant gateway cities– New York, Los Angeles,
San Francisco, et cetera– just as they
have been doing for decades. And, of course,
they’re maintaining complex dynamic, but also
complicated, communities there. What’s unique about the urban
existence in this moment, again, as Lilia
are referred to, is that immigrants have, in
fact, been staving off the very worst of economic
restructuring in these places and contributing
to and facilitating urban and regional
economic restructuring. So migrants have been
especially important presences in places that have experienced
the kind of the twin dynamos of deindustrialization or
the decline of manufacturing and mass suburbanization
of people and capital and other kinds of fiscal and
human resources to the suburbs. And so that’s of course
pretty much all cities in the United States. And so migrants have been
really, really important in these places in
injecting their labor power, their financial
investments– small and large– and their cultural practices,
as well as the way that they are producing space. So this fact has
led some analysts to focus on Latino migrants
to refer to this phenomenon that some of you may have
heard of called the Latino new urbanism. So briefly, the idea is that
Latinos and especially Latin American migrants are
said to use and experience neighborhoods and public spaces
in ways that revitalize cities. How do I make this move forward? Can I just do that? OK. So for example,
many immigrants tend to live close to
where they work. They tend to walk and bike
at disproportionate rates rather than drive, and take
the bus, of course, too. They buy and sell
informally on the street. They make ample use of
front porches, sidewalks, public parks and plazas,
and other public spaces. So much of this activity has
revitalized formerly declining urban neighborhoods, of course,
in ways that also have paved the way for gentrification. A lot of analysts say that
this kind of spatial practice draws, in some way, upon
migrants’ previous origins in Latin American
countries which tend to have a more
robust public sphere in many place in many
cases than in Los Angeles. But other critics have noted
that this Latino new urbanism, to the extent that it
exists, is not really a pure feature of
Latin American culture. Instead, in the United
States, these patterns in the use of urban
space are better seen as the result of poverty
and structural discrimination in the labor market as well
as the exclusionary policies adopted in many states and
localities that prohibit undocumented migrants from
obtaining driver’s license or residing in public housing. And so those kinds of
structural features are a major reason
why we end up having these kinds of spatial dynamics
present in our landscape. Nor have Latin American migrants
alleged new urbanist practices gone uncontested. In her study of Latino
migration to Northwest Arkansas, and specifically the
small city of Fort Smith– there’s a very cute
small child out there– Bella Guerrero, my friend– see, two of them,
there’s two; OK, sorry– has found that
Latino ways of using space, the same kinds of
practices that I’ve just described and that you can
see in these images here, have provoked immense
resistance and hostility from white neighbors who
complain about how Latino migrants are allegedly
too loud invite too many people to their
parties, too active in their use of the front
porch instead of the backyard like normal people. This is a quote from
Guerrero’s work. These are the very
practices that are allegedly revitalizing cities. And yet, white neighbors
in these places often call upon
the police to call these practices into question. And Guerrero is referring to
this process and these acts of policing as spatial
illegality, the marking of Latinos as
threatening subjects who lacked rights and do not belong,
in this case, because of how, when, and where they’re
using physical space. Despite all of this debate
about gentrification, the Latino new urbanism, and
spatial illegality, the migrant presence has not
been wholly or even primarily an urban one. In fact, one of the
most impactful effects of our current immigration
policy since ’65 is its impacts on
suburban space. This is in large part due to
the 1965 Hart-Celler Act’s prioritization of highly skilled
and well-capitalized migrants who can either fill labor
shortages at the top levels of the US economy or can
create new jobs and investment opportunities. This is the second
set of priorities in addition to the family
reunification categories that Lilia Fernandez
highlighted for us. So this class of migrants
include people with capital to invest and the cultural
and spatial tastes to match. So these people don’t want
to live in ethnic enclaves. And they don’t. They want to live
in elite suburbs. They drive Mercedes and
BMW’s instead of riding bikes or taking the bus. And these folks have been
creating what geographer Wei Li is referring to
as the ethnoburb, a globally-connected,
ethnically-identified suburb inhabited by highly
educated, upper middle class, and wealthy migrants. The identities of these people–
and it has tended so far to be most often Chinese– becomes widely visible in
the commercial landscape, for example, through
the proliferation of high end restaurants, luxury
auto dealers, upscale retail, and professional offices
like some of those that you see here. But one notable feature
of the ethnoburb is that it continues
to be inhabited by other ethnic and racial
groups, including white folks. Because the Chinese migrants
are wealthy and influential, the fact of their presence
hasn’t necessarily spurred white flight
to the same degree. And as a result, the
politics of belonging in ethnoburbs and other
ethnically integrating suburbs tend to focus on
questions of culture that are negotiated, in large
part, through the landscape. For example, for white US
born citizen homeowners who have lived disproportionately
in suburban neighborhoods and those same
neighborhoods are now experiencing ethnic
or racial change, efforts to preserve historically
exclusive landscapes have really abounded
since the 1960s. And of course, this is a
broad area of scholarship. But some of the things
that I would highlight include efforts to pass
English-only ordinances in commercial signage so that
these kinds of characters, the Chinese characters,
would be outlawed. Other things that have been
used are environmental laws and policies and historic
preservation zoning ordinances, which seem on their
face to be progressive, but which, in fact, have had the
effect of curtailing migration by large numbers of middle
class or upper middle migrants to these places. Nonetheless, migrants
find creative ways to negotiate those
kinds of restrictions and to claim belonging. James Zarsadiaz who is a scholar
of Asian-American studies and urban studies at the
University of San Francisco has shown that Chinese migrants
to wealthy and exclusive suburbs often engage in what
he calls design assimilation in an article that he
coauthored with Becky Nicolaides last year. So in other words, these
wealthy Chinese migrants are not producing these kinds of
landscapes but instead, are engaging in highly strenuous
efforts to uphold the existing landscapes of white
exclusivity– hold on– whether that’s the
rustic, ranch-style homes of country living suburbs
or the Tudor manners and English gardens of
elite places like suburbia, like San Marino in California. So both of these places
are Asian-majority suburbs. And you wouldn’t
necessarily know it. These are very different kinds
of places than the ethnoburb. White homeowners are not
always convinced, however. And they have, in
fact, continued to geographically reshuffle
themselves in response. More bluntly, white flight– which I think we
need to think up as a spatial reorganization
of whiteness– is continuing. Throughout the 1980s and
90s, demographer William Frey found that large numbers of
working class and middle class whites left immigrant
gateway cities on the coasts in large numbers. Overwhelmingly, they settled
in the interior of the country which they referred to in
ethnographic and journalistic accounts as the
heartland of America, places that were
imagined to retain traditional American values
and didn’t seem as directly threatened by migration. And in some cases,
these white migrants, especially those
from California who left at the height
of Prop 187, went on to establish anti-immigrant
organizations in their new rural Midwestern
and Southern locales. And they claimed
leadership roles through their experiences
of dealing with immigrants in places like California,
New York, New Jersey, et cetera, and Florida. So this is a demographic
that’s not often talked about, probably, in all the discourse
on rural voters in Trump’s America. But I think we should remember
that not all of these people have always been rural. Some of them are
urban in origin. And some of them claim to
have a lot of experience on that basis. Whether or not these
white heartland migrants have gotten involved in
immigration politics or not, their very presence has also
been transforming rural America in some unexpected ways. Frequently, these folks are
middle class information and tech workers who
are working remotely through innovations in Skype
and cheap airfare, et cetera. But because they come from
these immigrant gateway cities, they actually expect urban
and cosmopolitan amenities, which soon propels migration
by the very people they were trying to escape– low wage, low skill
service workers who work in coffee
shops, et cetera. So geographer Lise
Nelson, who has been studying these
dual migration streams, refers to this as
rural gentrification. And following her
lead, I think it’s productive to consider how these
macro scale economic changes intersect with
immigration policy to also restructure urban,
suburban, and rural spaces simultaneously and in
relationship to each other. And so here I’m going
to switch to talk about my current research which
is trying to do just that. In all of my research,
I am considering how ideas, fantasies, and
historical experiences with rural land affect
the way that people engage with cities, with urban
landscapes, and urban culture. And today I want to speak from
my current book project, which I’m currently wrapping up. It’s called Charro City:
Mexican-American Urbanism Beyond the Barrio. And it’ll be published by the
University of California Press next year. So the book that I’m
going to finish any day looks at how Mexican migrants
and Mexican-Americans in the Southwest have
organized around the figure of the charro, which translates
roughly as gentleman cowboy. And he’s most
visible, this figure, in the suits worn by mariachis. But he’s much more than that. He’s a deeply Mexican
nationalist figure who brings together colonial
histories of Spanish ranching and the hacienda with
independent Mexican nationalism and performances of elite
masculinity, all of which coheres in this suit, in these
performances of Mexican rodeo events, and in the
physical landscapes and memories attached to both
the hacienda and the rancho. For Mexican migrants
in the United States as early as the 1930s but
really taking off in the 1970s, performing as charros has
been a really important way in which they’ve been claiming
urban rights and belonging. This happens in a number of
ways that I analyze in the book. One way is through
the establishment of charro associations. These are formal
organizations of 10 to 20 men who train and compete with
each other in the Mexican rodeo circuit across the
United States and Mexico. These groups are
made overwhelmingly of Mexican migrant men and
their US born sons and nephews. Since the 1900s, literally
hundreds of these associations have been established
in the United States, mostly in the Southwest but also
in Chicago, Washington State, Iowa, and other places. This is an early photo
of the Charro Association in Denver in 1972. And there’s many, many more now. The associations host
weekly competitions on Sundays, which are usually
preceded by a Catholic mass and followed by a concert
if banda or ranchera music. The events are attended by
family members, friends, neighbors, and other spectators. And they’re really notable for
their mixed migrant statuses. A more temporary use of the
landscape for similar purposes occurs through the staging
of jaripeos or bull riding events, which are often
sponsored by entrepreneurial, but often very poorly
capitalized– hold on; oh yeah, there’s a contemporary
competition– very poorly capitalized Latin-themed
entertainment companies that are run by middle
class migrants who also own some other
kind of small business like a restaurant. So this is an advertisement from
a company called Rodeo Tierra Caliente, which is run by
a Mexican migrant named Miguel Guzman, who
lives in the Bronx and founded this
promoting company in 1995. He runs a traveling circuit of
bull riding events and concerts all throughout the
Northeast region, including right here in Rhode
Island, as well as in New Haven where I live. These performances
and competitions require appropriate
physical space. And it’s here where charros
and event promoters like Guzman have led the remaking of
the urban, and sometimes suburban, landscape. So charro associations have
built lienzos or complexes of arenas and stables
that are deliberately meant to house the specific
events of the Mexican rodeo in cities and suburbs
all across the US, like this one in San Antonio. Some of these are
privately owned in cases where middle class Mexican
migrants have acquired a bit of land and
then have constructed facilities like this
through their own labor. But in other cases,
ethnic Mexican men have worked closely with
municipal governments to finance, construct,
lease and use lienzos as part of a regional or
transnational economic development strategy. And the best case of this is
the Pico Rivera Sports Arena in eastern LA County,
which is known across California
and in Mexico as one of the premier facilities
for charro competitions, but also for concerts and other
public events like swamp meets. The landscapes are established
for the jaripeo events that people like Guzman
host are temporary. But they are no
less interesting. So promoters set up these
makeshift landscapes. I’m not sure if you
can see it in the back. But this is a pipe rail that’s
tied together with twine. And people are sitting
on folding chairs. I’m not sure what this lot is. This is in Maryland. And so in this way,
this is– you know, they’ll haul in
some rented bulls or steers, set them up
in some pipe corrals, and then haul them back out
in trailers for the afternoon. And so these are
temporary places. And yet, they’re often set up
on industrial or post-industrial spaces in otherwise abandoned
or unused urban areas. So there’s many
other ways in which the charros and ideas about
the rural Mexican ranching past more broadly are
serving as resources for belonging for migrants
in American cities. So the charro is the subject
of innumerable short stories, poems, songs authored
by Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans. He’s the subject of a reality
TV show called Los Cowboys. Has anybody seen that show? It’s actually pretty good. It was on Hulu. It debuted on Hulu in 2015. It was bought by Univision and
is now in its third season. So it seems to be doing well. And the charro has also
informed many efforts to shape urban public
art, especially statuary. So, most recently,
this is a statue of Antonio Aguilar who’s a
performer, singer, artist, activist– I’m sorry, not
activist– actor who is most known for his
corridos and folk songs that was just installed
at Olvera Street in Los Angeles, which has been
a kind of a tourist trap selling exotic
ideas of ethnic Mexican the kind of stereotypes
and caricatures. And yet, we have this
nationalist figure who has been installed
here as a statue. And that the creation
of this statue is especially significant
when we consider that other efforts in
other Southwestern cities have been really contested. So for example, Gerry
Cadava has written about all of the debate and
consternation that surrounded the creation of this
statue of Pancho Villa atop a horse in
Tucson in the 1980s where city leaders got so upset
that they constructed another statue of a Spanish
missionary, Kino, which is meant to dominate
the Villa statue. And in my own
research, there’s now this statue of a
Mexican-American war veteran, Joe Martinez, in
the Denver Civic Center, but this exact same spot
was originally proposed for a charro statue to be
outside of the Colorado State legislature building
by two Chicano Congresspeople in the 1980s. That effort totally failed. And so we got a war
veteran instead, which I think tells
us a lot about what kinds of images and
icons of Mexican identity are considered acceptable,
at least in that kind of civic landscape. So as this last effort shows us
and the struggle around that, the use of the charro and
the rural imaginary as a way to claim belonging
and shape landscapes has never been uncontested. And yet, migrants’
ongoing performances as charros, their
building of lienzos, their hosting of jaripeos,
and their occasional successes in influencing public art
are all important ways in which they’re using
ideas about the rural past to affect landscapes and
to transform the landscapes in the name of
reterritorializing a Mexican presence
in the United States. And in that case,
I think it’s just one more example of the ways
that the landscape can really be thought of productively as
the ordinary and everyday ways that people are engaging with
the same kinds of discourses that we hear so
often in the media. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] LEAH PERRY: Hi. Now for something
kind of different. I’m going to talk a lot about
the 1986 immigration law and pop culture. And so I’m just
going to go for it. Although he may seem like
an over-the-top anomaly, Trump’s racist, sexist, violent
anti-immigration rhetoric and policy actually developed
from bipartisan immigration discourse established
in the 1980s. So I’m arguing that it’s the
80s is– although ’65 is also important and all. But I’m saying that the
80s is the moment where we see these particularities
that he’s engaged in or some of these particularities. So Trump’s racist,
sexist violent anti-immigration rhetoric
and policy actually developed from bipartisan
immigration discourse established in the
1980s in response to the civil rights and second
wave feminist movements. That immigration discourse is
integral to the neoliberal idea of democracy. I talk about the various
threads of this in my book. Today, I’m going to focus on
the criminalization thread. So the 1983 Genesis song and
video for Illegal Alien– and these are stills
from that video– with its refrain, “it’s no
fun being an illegal alien,” supposedly a light satire
about the struggles of undocumented immigrants,
flagrantly played up stereotypes of Mexicans. Even the popular press–
and this was in the 1980s. The popular press in the 80s
said that it was racist– in the 80s. It’s rarely played on radio. The lyrics delivered by
white vocalist Phil Collins in a Mexican accent describe
Mexican laziness, drinking tequila, of course, smoking,
use of illegal economies for documentation,
and sordid women. In the video set in
a barrio in Mexico, Collins and his white
bandmates are coded as Mexican. They drink, oversleep,
play mariachi music, and dance with produce– that’s what’s happening there– fight at the passport office,
and commit passport fraud. In the final stanza,
the speaker appeals directly to nation of immigrants
ideology– that is, the notion that the United States is
an exceptionally diverse, inclusive, and
abundant nation that is made of immigrants
from all over the world. But the striving immigrant’s
plead for compassion is de-legitimized by
his criminal tendencies. There is the promise
of gendered crime if he makes it into
the promised land. His assumption that America
will take care of him is a proxy for nativist
fears that the undocumented exploit the welfare system. The couplet about exchanging
his sister’s sexual favors for passage over the
border is a proxy for fears that the undocumented are
amoral enemies of family values. It was so controversial that
it was edited out of the song. Collin’s Mexican is the
wrong kind of immigrant for the nation of immigrants. Many celebrate the Reagan
era as a great time when America was
prosperous and abundant. In truth, neoliberalism
solidified in the 1980s with the dismantling
of the welfare state. Neoliberalism’s
simultaneous appropriation of multicultural and feminist
discourses and deployment of ostensibly color
and gender blind appeals to protect
certain citizens from crime and criminals either
concealed or rationalized its inherent violence. Grace Hong pointed
out that neoliberalism is a structure of disavowal. It claims that protected
life is available to all and that premature
death comes only to those whose criminal
actions and poor choices make them deserve it. Affect is which tells us– is what tells us which lives
should not be protected. So I argue that legal status and
the gendered, racialized affect mobilized around it
negated, circumscribed, and, for a select few,
facilitated immigrant homemaking in the US. This analysis shows how
the nexus of gender, race, and legal status
structure neoliberalism. Now, some context, when Genesis
released “Illegal Alien,” Congress was in the middle
of a heated five year debate over immigration
reform that culminated with the passing of the
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which IRCA. These are the four major
things that it did– or five. Pundits claimed the country was
having an illegal immigration crisis, but demographics
were just shifting. US policies such
as INA’s loosening of direct racial
restrictions and emphasis on family reunification, a
new Western hemisphere quota, austerity measures in Latin
America and Central America that necessitated migration
despite that new quota, and more domestic
and service sector jobs led to
increased immigration and the increased
immigration of women from Central and Latin America,
Asia, and the Caribbean. With these variables
and against the backdrop of an economic depression
and widespread unemployment in the 1970s, the
term illegal alien became affixed to Mexicans
and extended to Latinos. The criminalization
of immigrants has always been
gendered and racialized in relation to the demands of
capital and political context. Reagan era crimmigration,
a term which points to how– and this is
a quote– immigration control was increasingly
adopting the practices and priorities of the
criminal justice system, responded to the gains
of multiculturalism and second wave feminism
and changing immigration demographics with an
intensified policing of the nation and
the neighborhood as the exclusive home
of certain groups who played by gendered
and racialized rules. Persons of Latin
American descent were cast as guilty of what Lisa
Cacho calls a de facto status crime. That is, under neoliberalism
race and racialized spaces makes certain bodies and actions
legible as criminal and crimes. The person’s status is
itself the offense, carrying the assumption of future crime. Collins’ Mexican and
his salacious sister, always already illegal, did not
deserve to be protected life. But in the 1980s, sentiment over
immigration was not unified. Free market economists
supported immigration, not for humanitarian
reasons like some Democrats and activist groups, but because
cheap immigrant labor was profitable. Organized labor worried
about labor competition. And nativists charged
that immigrants threaten the economy, culture,
complexion, and safety of the United States. The Mariel Boatlift
added a layer of urgency. At the same time, a new
nation of immigrants’ national imaginary that
recast white ethnic immigrants as ideal, self-sufficient,
hardworking, family-oriented Americans
was becoming hegemonic. This supposedly
inclusive narrative, part of the mainstreaming of
multiculturalism and feminism, was crucial to the
United States’ appearance as a humanitarian haven in
the context of the Cold War. It also incorporated
a few people of color, model minorities,
who contributed to the economy and had proper family values. Moreover, the nation
of immigrants narrative is entirely predicated
on the erasure of slavery and indigenous
genocide and people. The US is a settler
colonial nation. And many immigrants
themselves became settlers. Now, some people in the room may
remember some of these shows. But all these shows with these
lovable immigrant characters were proliferating. And more often than not,
the lovable character was white ethnic from
eastern or southern European and then these very highly
respectable immigrants of color, the model
minorities, also was a thing that
was proliferating. So there’s that. Reagan’s conservative
supporters also wanted to get tough
on crime, particularly through the war on
drugs, another piece of this neoliberal puzzle. From its official start in 1982,
which happens to be the same year that IRCA was first
proposed– how about that– international intervention,
stricter criminal penalties, and increased incarceration
were presented as urgent and necessary. Reagan blamed the war on
drugs on communist governments in Latin America and
poor people of color in inner city communities. The combination of the
neoconservative trumpeting of family values and the notion
of a racialized crime epidemic provided the effective
support for the backlash against civil rights
and feminist gains and underscoring the dismantling
of the welfare state. America was allegedly
in moral decline, epitomized by the breakdown
of the nuclear family. This rearticulation
of racism and sexism translated seamlessly
into immigration policy and pop culture. What emerged was a
discordant combination of gatekeeping and welcoming
that made immigration crucial to neoliberalism. These two concepts
of immigration, the nation of immigrants
and immigration emergency, surfaced repeatedly in
relation to Latinos, Asians, and white ethnics beginning
in the Reagan years and continued to be the dominant
modes of thought and expression about immigration until
September 11th brought terror and Islamophobia to
the forefront of immigration politics. Though, things have not changed
all that much as we have seen. Comparing how Latinos,
Asians and white ethnics were represented in
immigration discourse shows that even while
multicultural immigrants were embraced in some ways,
they were disciplined through gendered discourses
of respectability that became central to neoliberalism. So, in navigating
all these variables, IRCA established this paradigm
for neoliberal immigration. Amnesty was dressed
up as Reagan era nation of immigrants
exceptional inclusivity. But this new program for
temporary labor importation was what Mae Ngai has
called imported colonialism. The punitive provisions
were framed as necessary for the safety of Americans
and to avoid making the US– and this is a quote– “the sugar daddy of the world,”
as Republican Senator Alan Simpson, IRCA’s primary
sponsor, eloquently put it. He also lobbied very hard in
the first two iterations of IRCA to eliminate the family
vacation provisions that allowed more Latino and
Asian immigrants to come in. He wanted those gone. And it didn’t pass. But he lobbied hard. And if you’re wondering just how
racist and sexist America is, look at the
congressional record. It makes it abundantly clear. Because that is a quote from the
congressional record directly. And that’s one of his more
milder things that he said. So part of neoliberal
restructuring is an increasing militarism
and securitization at national borders as
they become more permeable with capital and labor. This is what IRCA did. Accordingly, the number of
crossing-related deaths grew. In 1994, 23 migrants died. After Operation Gate Keeper,
there were 61 deaths in 1995, 89 in 1997, and 145 in 1998. And Dr. Hing can probably
talk about that as well and probably elaborate on it. Like the Texas Rangers,
the newly beefed up border control used gendered
brutality and rape as a means of
immigration control. Studies undertaken in the 90s
found that the sexual abuse and assault of women was rampant
and rarely reported, let alone prosecuted. Women were routinely
pressured to remain silent and accused of lying when
they did come forward. As feminist scholars
have observed, casting a woman as sexually
deviant because of her race, her profession, behavior, legal
status, what she is wearing renders her unrapable,
a logic that erases the systemic,
intersectional nature of violence. Being a illegal, likewise, makes
violence against one invisible or rationalizes it. Also central to the
criminalization of undocumented immigrants was the
casting of Latino– and that is immigrant
or citizen– family and gender arrangements
as not only dysfunctional, but dangerous deviations
from family values. So enter in pop culture again. In the 1980s, border films,
crime dramas, and music videos worked in tandem with
immigration policy and policing. Hollywood neoliberalized
the stereotype of Latino criminality with
stereotypes of narcotraficantes and drug dealers, criminals,
bandits, gang members, and undocumented workers. Latinas found themselves as
prostitutes in cantineras. North of the border, Latinos
were cast as the help– waiter, maid, bellhop,
valet, or as criminal. Clara E. Rodriguez notes
that the Hollywood staple of the Latino criminal began
with the bandidos and silent film and then in westerns
then moved to urban settings in the 1960s and 1970s with
images of juvenile delinquents and continued in
the 1980s and 1990s with gangs, criminals,
and drug lords. The foreignness of the
immigrant and Latino citizen, often collapsed in the
public imaginary end of the execution of policy
and police procedure, was conveyed via their
threats to family values. So I’m going to give
you a quick example. Colors, has anyone seen Colors? OK. So, Colors, a 1998 crime drama
directed by Dennis Hopper– and that’s Dennis Hopper doing
something terrible with some of the actors from the film– was described
favorably by viewers as a representation of the
poisonous flowering of gang culture amid ghetto life, which
captures a climate of fear and the helplessness
of the police. That’s a quote. Experienced police
officer Bob Hodges, who was played by Robert Duvall,
and novice Danny McGavin, played by Sean Penn, fight
gang crime in LA Barrios and are obvious Reaganite
emblems of law and order and family values. Loving husband and
new father Hodges is level-headed
and compassionate while single hot-headed
McGavin simmers down to fit the image of a
benevolent patriarch. The gang members,
all Black or Latino, are economic and moral aliens. A Latino member of the Blood
gang who is high on drugs senselessly kills Hodges
after the police apprehended the Bloods without force. Gangbangers mortally
threaten the American values of law abiding and
familial responsibility that Hodges embodies. McGavin’s failed
romance with a Latina likewise links
Latinas to criminality through family values discourse. They are the support system,
sexual objects, and accomplices of male gangbangers. Roger Ebert said that the gang
was a perverted family that, given the lack of a traditional
family, cared for members and was willing to die for them. Yet, the product of their
family is, of course, tragic. Their gang deals in
drugs, defends its turf, and murders to
enforce its authority. This framing is always
already racialized. Whites who commit crimes tend
to be judged individually on the basis of their acts
rather than as representatives of an entire race. And like McGavin, who
becomes the new moral of the compass film,
whites can evidently easily change for the better
without rehabilitation or incarceration. But the people of color in
the film and in real life are cast as intrinsically
corrupt and beyond redemption. Latinos’ true colors reaffirm
the gendered colored line. An invading foreign
force violently threatens American
reproductive respectability. But all ethnic crime films
were not created equal. In US cinema, white ethnics and
especially Italian Americans have long been stereotyped and
glamorized as mafia criminals. This gangster genre
complements backlash against civil rights
and feminist movements by idealizing white patriarchy. White ethnic men are depicted
as members of a crime family who become involved with organized
crime, a business venture, in order to provide their
immigrant family with a better life. Here is that racist, sexist,
settler, nation of immigrants mythology. This is common sense
reasoning for mobster activity that Reganite
America understood. The 1980s discourse
repackaged paradigms of gendered racialized
immigrant crime to conceal or justify
neoliberal violence, establishing an enduring model
for policy in popular media. And this is just some stuff came
from IRCA or that drew on IRCA. And by some stuff, I
mean immigration law. In conclusion, under
neoliberal governance, punitive policies
create a climate in which legal status widens the
gaps between segments of the US population so that the
undocumented immigrant becomes an affront to conventional
notions of citizenship, which equate political, social, and
civic rights with the criterion of legal residence. Racialized and gendered
criminalization devalues certain immigrant
and citizen lives. Furthermore, this narrow view
of valuable immigrant life is prevalent in liberal and
even progressive discourse that has taken up the nation
of immigrants narrative to counter the
immigration emergency. DREAM Act rhetoric asserts
that immigrants deserve a path to legalization because they
are law-abiding, especially hardworking members of
heteronormative families, students, or have
served in the military. Much opposition to the Muslim
ban and ICE raids hinges on the nation of
immigrants imaginary– this makes me so
uncomfortable, this hat; I don’t know about anybody else– as with the immigrants
make America great slogan. So much opposition to
the Muslim ban and ICE raids hinges on the
nation of immigrants imaginary, as with
the immigrants make America great
slogan, recourse to the Statue of Liberty as
the welcoming mother of exiles, the framing of welcoming
immigrants as a national value, and the focus on the separation
of hardworking families as an especially urgent
reason to end the ban and deportations. These well-meaning
narratives restrict the field for valuable immigrant life
to reproductively respectable immigrants who contribute
to the economy. Once again, this country’s
history and present of settler colonialism
is erased as are the racialized and gendered
exclusions underpinning the nation of
immigrants narrative. So swing back to the
immigration emergency, racialized anti-family
behavior was the linchpin of
the criminalization of the undocumented and Latinos. It was highly effective
because of its affective appeal in the Reagan era when
the gains of feminism and multiculturalism
threatened white supremacy and heteropatriarchy. Trump’s successful xenophobic
presidential campaign platform, his call to build a wall
at the Mexican border because they’re rapists,
despite the fact that he has sexually
assaulted multiple women and bragged about it on tape,
and current anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim policy and
sentiment is the karmic fruit of 1980s immigration discourse. This is a direct
pipeline, not an anomaly. The paradigm of
neoliberal crimmigration has certainly proven
profitable far beyond its playful and
incarnation in Genesis’ Illegal Alien. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] YALIDY MATOS: All righty. So this is Q&A time. So if you have any
questions– panelists, if you can sit up here. Questions– and
I believe we have at these 15 minutes, after which
we’ll have a closing reception. Questions? TRICIA ROSE: There we go. This is just my excuse to
try this cool new thing. Thank you all very much, very
dynamic range of presentations. I wanted to sort of
just get us going with the very last presentation,
especially, the question about the role of this nation
of immigrants narrative. I’m wondering if you can
say a little bit more about, you know, both, you know,
how it’s been playing out– I mean my experience–
is echoing a lot? See, I had to mess
up the cube, right? OK, let’s see. All right, how is this? Is that better? God, that was weird. OK. You know, I’ve been I’ve been
struck by it as this really strong rallying cry
in this, you know, post-Trump election
period but I’ve been, as an African-American
and an African-Americanist, as a bit concerned about
the way in which it frames appropriate belonging, not
only for Native Americans, but for African-American. So I guess I’m
interested in that. And then I’m
wondering, you know, what kinds of progressive,
non-neoliberal ways might we be able to
think about alliances discursively that would,
you know, transform that, or if there’s anyone
who’s doing that. Yeah, thank you. That is my concern. Like, it has been
this rallying point that, well, no, we’re
this nation of immigrants or like the hashtag,
#heretostay, immigrants make America great, you
know, all those slogans. And it’s brought people
together, but it’s– there’s the exclusions that
are already underpinning. And we look at who is
that ideal immigrant, it’s the white ethnic immigrant. And you know, how that happened
is a complicated process. But it’s a white
ethnic immigrant. And it’s also not true because
those white ethnic immigrants got an enormous amount
of federal welfare through the GI bill, the
housing bills, things like that, redlining. White ethnic immigrants,
while some of them surely did work very hard
got a lot of federal aid and the aid of whiteness. And so this is this ideal. And then it was
used in the 1980s to rationalize cutting welfare. And if someone was poor,
you know, the argument went that they– basically the neoliberal
argument is that like, well, you just didn’t
work hard enough. You deserved it. So there’s that within
immigration discourses. And then the model minority
discourse builds on that. And the only valuable
immigrant is the immigrant who is a part of the
heteronormative family and is working really
hard, so contributing to the capitalist economy. So that’s immigration piece. But then, of course,
that whole discourse completely erases slavery
and African-American. And it completely erases like,
here to stay on whose land? And so my current
work I’m bringing indigeneity and
indigenous studies into conversation with this. And I’m actually
writing about this right now and what’s erased by it
and that history of settler colonialism. And I was at, I’ve been
at many of the protests in New York City. And the Statue of Liberty
was all over the place and this idea of her as
the mother of exiles. And, ironically,
in the 1980s, it was immigrant mothers of color
that were really attacked with immigration policy. And Prop 187 had its
federal kind of comeuppance with the Personal
Responsibility in Work Act. So there’s that. There’s that piece of it. And then so what do we do? Some of the more
progressive groups that I follow on social media
and that I’m involved with have more– no bans on stolen land. That, to me, is more nuanced
and brings these two things together. And you know, there’s so many
questions that come from too. Like, what does it
mean to be a colonizer if you’re part of an– you know, are you a
colonizer if you’re a part of another
historically disenfranchised oppressed group? But what I’m
learning as I become more and more familiar
with indigenous studies and settled colonial studies
is that these questions aren’t resolved, that they’re part
of nuanced conversations, and that– and, again, like I’m new
to that field very much– but that place– it has to be place-based. It has to acknowledge the land. You and I were talking
about this before. You know, there has to be an
acknowledgement of the land if we’re going to talk about
solidarity with native people. I mean, you know this happened,
the Muslim ban happened right after the Dakota Access
Pipeline protest brought Native American visibility
and ongoing violence at the hands of the state
to mainstream media. And it was like it was
forgotten immediately. And all of the sudden
it’s nation of immigrants everywhere. And so, you know, what
does social justice look like for both groups? I wish I had a more
concrete answer. Yeah, no, I think on
the ground the Dakota Pipeline for a moment actually
represented a bringing together of kind of all of
these issues, including immigrant rights folks were
there as well as Black Lives Matter, et cetera. And I understand the theory
that you’re advancing which is– I’m all for. But what I consider
as a bringing together continues to recognize that
there are separate issues that are very deeply important
to different groups in the country. But what the groups are
looking for are allies. They are looking to show up
for other issues, but wanting, in exchange, quite
understandably, that others show up for their
issues as well. And again, I live in a bubble. You know, because that actually
does happen in the Bay Area. But the Bay Area went to Dakota
as well, to the pipeline. And it’s just constantly
part of the conversation. And an organization that’s
kind of emblematic of bringing at least the African-American
issue of overpolicing, et cetera, and
immigration is BAJI– Black Alliance for
Just Immigration– which I think they moved the
headquarters to San Francisco even though it
started in Oakland. And the person who is
the current executive director is actually one
of the founders of Black Lives Matters as well. And so I think that it’s kind
of a strategic alliance that’s being demanded on all fronts. And I think people are
wanting to follow through on putting their effort
where their mouth is. YALIDY MATOS: One
of my questions was actually about coalition
and coalition-building. And I wondered, Lilia, if you
might sort of talk a little bit about what you learned
about Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago and that
kind of coalition building and dynamic in that
particular geographic space and maybe what you’ve learned
that we can sort of apply today. Yeah, well, you know,
I think the reason that it’s important to
historicize what’s going on now and to understand the
longer tradition of nativism and xenophobia and the
anti-immigrant rhetoric is precisely because there
have been other moments of this in the past, including in
Chicago in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. So one of the most interesting
things that I came across in looking at the experience
of Mexican-Americans in the 1960s in Chicago was that
Puerto Ricans, who, as we all know, are US citizens
would get caught up in the kinds of, you know,
the raids, the assaults on undocumented immigrants,
or the search for suspected undocumented immigrants. And so they talk about,
in some cases, how they are just as implicated
as anyone else when a police officer or immigration
official can’t distinguish between someone who’s
Mexican or someone from, you know, who is Puerto Rican. So that, I think, opens up, for
some folks, the possibilities for solidarities and alliances,
for recognition of common cause or, you know, facing similar
kinds of circumstances. At the same time
though, for others I think it also motivates
them to distance themselves from Mexican immigrants
precisely because they don’t want to be associated with
that kind of suspicion cast upon them as, you know,
as illegitimate people in the society. SO there are a lot of other
examples of these moments when these two populations
have encountered one another, have had to reckon
with each other. That’s actually that the focus
of my current book project, looking at Latino
pan-ethnic politics, moments when Mexicans, Puerto
Ricans, and other Latinos– Cubans, Central Americans,
South Americans– began to express and articulate
solidarities and alliances with each other
and come together for a variety of different
political, but also social reasons as well. Yeah, but actually, I
wanted to make a comment to go back to Professor Rose’s
question about the immigrants make America great issue. One of the ways that I think
of getting at this or the way that I approach this
way when talking about immigration
with my students is to invoke a kind
of hemispheric sense of Americanness, that
America is not just the United States of America,
as Latin Americans will tell you all the time, right, that we’ve
simply monopolized that term. And, you know,
I’ve come into this by thinking about the
indigeneity of many of these immigrants from
Latin America today, the fact that many of them are
coming from Mayan communities, from Zapotec communities,
and the fact that there are people who have roots here
in this part of the world. Now, of course, that works only
for Latino immigrants, right, for people from Latin America. We can’t use that language to
talk about immigrants from Asia or from Africa, for example. But I think the
way that we can use it is in thinking about how
we’ve all made our way to this, you know, moment in
time and this place where we are now through
different histories, whether that was the
history of enslaved labor, whether it was a history of
the expropriation of our land, or a history of
settler colonialism. And so I think one possible
way or one alternative to this whole, I mean,
immigrants make America great or, you know, we’re an
immigrant nation type of motif is to acknowledge what are
often very painful histories of different groups in the US,
as Professor Hing was pointing to, and to simply
say, regardless of how we came to
be here, you know, we need to think about
what kind of stance we take today vis a vis others
who are still just arriving. LAURA BARRACLOUGH: Can I add
on something to that too? That was a really
wonderful question and I think something
that a lot of us have been thinking
and talking about. So I was also talking with my
students about this discourse around the nation of
immigrants last week after reading Lisa Cocho’s book. And in that book, she
briefly makes the point that documentation is
so central to personhood in the Republican democracy. And so my students
and I were thinking about how organizing
could happen on the basis, not of identity categories,
but on relationships to the state that are
structured by documents and that all kinds of groups
can mobilize around documents and their failures in ways
that could pose some really interesting possibilities for
organizing– so people coming out of prison who
struggle to get a birth certificate, homeless people
who often don’t have a lease, right? So that this idea– so that’s
just one example of how shifting away from an
identity-based category like immigrants broadly speaking
or the undocumented, more particularly– and there’s
legal scholars, I believe, who are writing about
this– the limits of identity-based
and status categories and instead thinking about
processes in relationship to, in this case, paperwork. BILL ONG HING: You’ve seen that? LAURA BARRACLOUGH:
I’ve seen this one. LEAH PERRY: Yeah,
I’ve also seen– LAURA BARRACLOUGH: It’s the
make America Mexico again hat. LEAH PERRY: –make
America brown again. BILL ONG HING: I
haven’t seen that. But you know, organizing around
documents, I understand that. I don’t mean to poo poo it. I’ll just talk about
a different issue. Organizing around family,
I think, is a possibility. Because there have been
various iterations of Simpson’s attack on family. It’s like a sport
in Washington, DC. Every couple of years, there’s
an attack on family immigration that puts us in a position
of somehow we’re supposed to– we’re weak on immigration
because we favor immigration– I mean, family. It’s kind of weird. But one of the biggest
allies of family immigration, actually, that I’ve found when
I’ve testified and lobbied is the Black Congressional
Caucus, actually. Because they actually
have made correlations between what happened
during slavery and the breakup of families with
the attempt immigrant families today. [INAUDIBLE] AUDIENCE: Hi so I have
a question for Laura in regards to the
dual migration streams and the spatial
organization of whiteness. So I’m wondering,
what’s planning design’s impact on Latino
populations in suburbia? Can they rebuild in the
city in the same ways that you explained
in your presentation? LAURA BARRACLOUGH: Can
you repeat the first part of what you said? Planned design? AUDIENCE: Sure. LAURA BARRACLOUGH: Is
that what you said? AUDIENCE: Yeah, like
planning design. LAURA BARRACLOUGH: Can they
rebuild these communities? The jury’s out. Most people believe
probably not. So are you referring to
the kinds of design schemes that are building on the
things that people are already doing to propose these
new kinds of developments? Is that what you’re thinking of? AUDIENCE: I’m
thinking more about like from an urban and
regional planning perspective, the design of a suburb. What may be the
challenges and limitations of creating these spaces
in this spatial identity? LAURA BARRACLOUGH:
Yeah, definitely. In terms of creating places that
are more inclusive for Latinos? AUDIENCE: Yes. LAURA BARRACLOUGH: So I showed
a picture of the Pico Rivera Sports Arena. And it seems, on
the one hand, to be a really internationally known
and influential physical space. And yet, this place
is totally precarious. You know, it’s constantly
at risk of bankruptcy. It has never been in the black. I always get those
confused, in the black. And that has everything
to do with the ways that Latino migration to
suburbia since the 1960s, but especially since
the 1980s, has coincided with de-industrialization. So William Fulton
who is, I believe, a political scientist
and a planner has written about this in
an article in his book. And he refers to this as
suburbs of extraction. So there was an
interesting phenomenon that happened in
Los Angeles County where Latinos start moving
into deindustrialized places because they were cheap. And so they become
demographic majorities. And they start electing
representatives. And so you have
majority Latino cities at the same moment in which
there are almost no resources to control. And so in those contexts, Latino
elected officials, in theory, have a lot of political power. And these are suburbs, right? They have a lot of
political power, but almost no material
basis to distribute, right? So what they have done,
as Fulton documented, was created pawnshops,
they’ve tried to lure casinos,
racetracks, other kinds of exploitative industries. So the Pico Rivera Sports
Arena actually emerges out of a context like that. Pico Rivera, at the time
that this was created, was something like 65% Latino. It had three Latino city council
members out of a board of five. And yet, the lease of this
thing– from the moment it was constructed, there
were design flaws. And, again, it remains– because of the tax base in
the area, it remains really, really always threatened. That’s not a residential or a
mixed use kind of community. But that does, I think, point to
the larger structural contexts that make exercising cultural
citizenship in suburban space really hard. And it’s always framed around
the larger context of where the resources have gone. In this case, they’re often
not in the suburbs anymore. They’re in the central
cities now again because of gentrification. And there in new– in the exurbs, far flung
suburbs outside of even suburbs, and in rural areas
of the country. So the suburbs
have become, oddly, some of the hardest places
to do those things even when they do become accessible. AUDIENCE: Thank you. LAURA BARRACLOUGH: Thank you. AUDIENCE: I had a quick
question [INAUDIBLE].. Hi. Thank you all. [FEEDBACK] OK. Better? OK. [FEEDBACK] First, thank you
all for your talks. So, actually, I wanted to follow
up on a question with Laura. What is the populations which
are that you are identifying as having a sort of
charro masculinity, what is their political rhetoric? What are they thinking about? Are they also people who
are attending immigrant sort of rights rallies? Do you know anything
about them in that term? LAURA BARRACLOUGH: Yeah, so
my study is mostly historical. And historically, they have been
moderates, not left-wingers. One of the things that my
book looks at in the 1970s is how charros explicitly
identified themselves as the more moderate political
Latinos in comparison to Chicanos. Often, they were coming
from the same families. And so charros tend to be
a little older, actually, like 30s, 40s. And so often they would
have like college-age sons. And so there are family tensions
around political ideology. As a class, they have
tended to be homeowners. They can be socially
liberal on some issues, but tend to be
economically conservative. And so they’re kind
of a moderate class, but complex within that. Yeah. YALIDY MATOS: And that’ll
be our last question. Emma, you are our last question. AUDIENCE: Where are you? I don’t see you. Oh, there you are. Thank you so much to all of
you for such a wonderful panel. I feel like I learned
a lot this afternoon. And I have kind of a
generalized question that I think a lot of you
have touched on already. But I was curious to
hear more about what you think of this
particular moment as a time of race-making, both
through the legal policies that Professor Hing talked
about that are being enacted as far as thinking of if we are in
a moment when America is more diverse than ever before
and coming out of a time when there was a lot of
talk about color blindness or going beyond race,
we’re definitely now in a moment where racial
categories are very much in the media and
hardening in certain ways. And I’m just curious
about whether, going back to what [? Lia ?]
had mentioned before, about whether this is a
moment of the possibility of racial coalition building
or it’s a time of closing doors and closing ranks
in certain ways around race making
and racial identities. I’m just curious to hear
you reflect upon that. LILIA FERNANDEZ: I can start. Yeah, that’s a great
question, Emma. I think that in some
ways, the bright side of, you know, what’s going
on right now is that I think we are seeing a lot
more solidarity work and coalition building, even if
it’s temporary, even if it only comes together around,
you know, the airports after the Muslim
ban or other crises, the Dakota Access
Pipeline, et cetera. But what I have found
really remarkable is the way in which people who
support the Dakota Access Pipeline also understand
what the problems are with the Muslim
immigration ban, also are sympathetic to
the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBT rights and
all sorts of other issues that I think, you know,
we would associate with progressives or the left. So I see a lot of
possibility there. You know, I want
to be optimistic. And I would take
us back to the fact that I think the folks
who have, you know, been able to unleash their
xenophobia, their racism, their misogyny, and, you
know, their transphobia or homophobia at this
particular moment have been emboldened with
the election of the occupant of the White House. But although they’ve gotten
the microphone right now, I think, and are able to feel
perhaps empowered or validated in their feelings and their
anxieties and their angst, they’re still a
minority, I think, you know, the folks who
support that kind of politics. And you can’t change– I mean, you can’t stop
the demographic changes that are coming in
now and in the future. So I think that we have to seize
upon this moment to figure out what we will look like
in 10, 20, 30 years and how we will
continue to support the rights of anyone who is
marginalized or oppressed in our society. BILL ONG HING: I’ll go. You know, I am repeating
myself from what I said a little while ago. But, yeah, I mean this
is a special time. This is a special challenge
to communities of color to come together. And again, I’m about
to say something that is not of my creation. It’s other people smarter
than me have come up with it including people on this panel. Donald Trump was created
by the Republican Party. His attack is not on immigrants. His attacks are on Blacks,
his attacks are on women. He and the Republican
Party have been trying to put Blacks in their place. They have been
totally unsympathetic to the overpolicing of the
black community and buying into the broken windows
theory of policing, et cetera. And that’s something
they’ve been talking about for generations. And the anti-immigrant stuff
goes even further back. And when the Republicans were
surprised that somehow he– this monster appeared, it
was their Frankenstein. Because he just glommed
onto all the stuff that he learned
from them that was going to make him sellable
to the Republican base. And we found out there
is a huge, a much bigger Republican base out there
and than we all thought. And so, yeah, I mean
it’s a challenge to us. We better stand up
together on this. Because it’s not looking good. And if he sticks to
this anti-Syrian thing, he’s going to be a
president during wartime. And his popularity
going to rise. And I’m really
concerned about that. YALIDY MATOS: All righty. Well, thank you so much. Thank you, Professor Hing,
Fernandez, Barraclough, and Perry for taking the
time for being here today. And thank you everybody
who stayed all the way. And I hope that
today you’ve not only learned more about the
US immigration regime and the politics of belonging. And it seems that
belonging is part of what’s at stake here
in our country today. Thank you so much for your time
and your pointed questions. And we welcome you to
join us across the street at the closing ceremony– or closing reception,
not ceremony. There will be food. And it’s at the Center
for Race and Ethnicity. And it is the building
across the street. It has a purple door. It’s 96 Waterman Street. Thank you again. And please help me applaud our
keynote and panelist speakers. [APPLAUSE]

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