Current Issues in Immigration Law

Helewitz, Jeffrey, United States Immiqration Law, Pearson Publications Company, 1999.
Reading Packet

COURSE OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the basic issues underlying U.S. immigration law. Topics covered will include the history of immigration law; the law relating to admission, naturalization, removal, and removal procedures; and the legal issues concerning refugees, asylum seekers, illegal immigrants, and undocumented workers. However, since this is an IONA IN MISSION COURSE, most of the class will be conducted from various locations in Tucson, Arizona, Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico. It is expected that the immigration issues covered will be done in large part in the context of immigration from Mexico. In addition, since the course is also a SERVICE LEARNING COURSE, each student will have the opportunity, upon returning from Mexico, to do field work with a nonprofit organization that is concerned with immigration ssues .

At the conclusion of this course, the student should understand:
1. The primary legal sources for U.S. immigration and naturalization law—the U.S. Constitution, treaties, statutes, administration rules and regulations, and judicial decisions;
2. The historical events which shaped U.S. immigration law and policy (with special emphasis on the events relating to immigration from Mexico and Latin America);
3. The legal basis for federal regulation of immigration and naturalization;
4. The administrative structure of immigration law;
5.The different requirements for obtaining immigrant and nonlmmlgrant visas;
6. The process by which the government may refuse to admit or may remove immigrants from the United States
7. The requirements for applying for refugee or asylum status
8. The requirements for applying for citizenship and naturalization status;
9. The legal problems raised by illegal immigration and undocumented workers; and
10. How to apply immigration law to service learning activities.

This course is going to require the student to absorb a great deal of material in a relatively short period of time. Consequently it will be essential that the student read all assigned materials at the beginning of the sessions in which they are due. As always, the degree and quality of participation throughout the course (including the student·s openness to learning through immersion into a different context and culture) will be considered in the determination of the student·s final grade.

The course requirements will consist of:
1. a journal reflecting on your daily experiences in Arizona and Mexico; your reactions to the readings and specific immigration laws; and your own personal family immigration history;
2. a term paper on an issue relating to immigration law;
3. twenty hours of service at a placement site in the United States; and
4. a journal recording your activities at, and reactions to, your service placement site. Each requirement will be worth one-quarter of the final grade.

SESSION 1 – Orientation session to explain the scope of the course, the general requirements for living and studying in Tucson, Arizona and the squatters· village in Nogales, Mexico. Distribution of material on necessary travel gear and health concerns.

SESSION 2 – Background to U.S. immigration law: Early case law; restrictive statutes; quota laws; the Immigration and nationality Act of 1952 and later amendments; the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986; the Immigration Act of 1990; the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996; and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996. The operation of the federal agencies responsible for the administration of immigration law: The Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the United States Information Agency.
Ethical Discussion Issues: Moral issues in support of and in opposition to a policy of “open-door” admission. The global effects of an “open-door” policy.

SESSION 3 – Admissions: Availability of immigrant visas for family-sponsored immigrants, employment based immigrants, diversity immigrants, and refugees; availability of non-immigrant visas for students-scholars and business-entrepreneurial non-immigrants. Admission procedures for nonimmigrant admission, immigrant visas and visa petitions, adjustment of status, and parole.
Denial of Admission and Removal: Grounds for denial of admission and removal. Procedures and relief from denial of admission and removal.
Ethical Discussion Issues: Sham marriages and sham labor certifications.

SESSION 4 – Illegal Immigration and Undocumented Aliens: Reasons for, and impact of, illegal immigration; the Immigration Reform and Control Act (sanctions on employers of undocumented alien and antidiscrimination provisions).
Ethical Discussion Issues: Exploitation of undocumented workers.
SESSION 5 – Refugees and Political Asylum: Definition of “refugee” under U.S. law and international law; meaning of “nonrefoulement”; over-seas refugee programs; political asylum and the “well-founded fear of persecution” requirement; detention and interdiction of asylum seekers.
Ethical Discussion Issues: New asylum claims based on gender.

SESSION 6 – Conclusions: Community meal. Reflection on the Iona ln Mlsslon experience and preparation for the service placements. Viewing of movie, El Norte.

A distinctive feature of this Iona in Mission Service Learning course is the fact that most of the group experiential learning will take place in Nogales, Mexico. After our preliminary sessions on campus, we will fly to Phoenix, Arizona and travel by van to the Borderlinks house in Tucson, Arizona. Borderlinks is a nonprofit organization that is concerned with educating people about the problems of life along the U.S.Mexican border. Two members of the Borderlinks staff will accompany us throughout our week in Arizona and Mexico.

In Tucson, we will meet with people who have emigrated from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. We will also have an opportunity to talk with representatives of church groups involved in the Sanctuary Movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Finally, we will be given an overview of recent events in Mexico from a political and economic perspective.

The next day we will travel south to Nogales, Arizona where we will cross the border (for the first time) into m-exico. A major part of our experiential learning will come from our homestays in Nogales, Mexico. We will be the guests of a number of families living in one of the many squatters· villages which have sprung up in the hills overlooking the city. Our accommodations will range from extremely modest to rough. The homes that we will stay in will most likely be built out of a combination of cardboard, cinder blocks, tires, and metal sheeting. None of the homes will have running water or functioning toilets. Some will have only one room, others may have two, or perhaps, three rooms. Most families will include at least one member who works in a maquiladora. All families will know of people who have legally or illegally immigrated to the United States. Food will be prepared by our hosts and will primarily consist of beans and tortillas. In January, it can get very warm in Nogales during the daytime—and very cold at night. This will be especially meaningful for us since our nights will be spent in sleeping bags in homes without any central heating.

During our time in Mexico, we will have the opportunity to observe the conditions which explain the push/pull factors for immigration to the United States from Mexico. We will visit at least one foreign-owned maquiladora and speak with management representatives. Later in the week we will have an opportunity to talk with maquiladora workers about their working experiences. The president of the Nogales Chamber of Commerce will meet with us to discuss the less profitable Mexican owned businesses along the border. We will also have an opportunity to go to some of the local grocery stores to find out how far a maquiladora worker·s wages can go towards purchasing staple items. In addition, we will visit one of the many squatters· villages which are growing further out from the center of the city . . . where less crowded living space is exchanged for greater isolation and more danger at night. We will also meet with Mexican health workers to discuss the medical consequences of the environmental pollution in the region. Finally, we will have contact with union organizers and religious workers.

While in Nogales, Mexico, we will cross back over the border a number of times for meetings with officials of the United States government including representatives from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Customs, and the Border Patrol. They will talk about the responsibilities of their particular agencies and the concerns that they have in implementing the immigration and customs laws. We will also have an opportunity to discuss some of the problems involved in patrolling a border.

“Travels Into America·s
Future- – Mexico and the Southwest,” R. Kaplan, Atlantic Monthly, July 1998

“To Live in the Borderlands Means You . . . ,” by G. Anzaldua

“Snapshots from the Edge: A Report from the U.S./Mexican Border,” K. Clarke, Salt of the Earth, May/June 1997
Map of the U.S.-Mexican border region from The Troublesome Border, O. Martinez

“Useful Statistics on Mexico,” Human Rights Watch

“NAFTA·s Impact on Mexican Agriculture and Rural Life,” S. Suppan, Institute for Agriculture And Trade Policy

“Chiapas: An Uprising Born of Despair,” M. Renner, World Watch, Jan./Feb. 1997

SESSION 2 HELEWITZ: Chapter 1, History and Administration of U.S. Immigration Law, pp. 1-50.
SESSION 3 HELEWITZ: Chapter 2, Citizenship and Nationality;
Chapter 3, Immigrant Categories; Chapter 4, Nonimmigrant Categories; Chapter 5, Admission to the United States; and Chapter 6, Removal Prior toEntry into the United States, pp. 51-146.

“It·s a Secret: Economics Is All About Values,” E. Teninty, Equal Means, Winter 1991

“Clinton, NAFTA and the Politics of U.S. Trade,” K.· Hansen-Kuln, NACLA Report on Americas, Sept./Oct. 1997

“The Failed Experiment: ~NAFTA at Three Years,” Institute for Policy Studies, 1997

“The Border,” G. Smith and E. Malkin, Business Week, May 12, 1997

“The Gilded Cage: The Allure of Nogales Maquillas After the Peso Crash,” J.E. Reilly, The Tucson Weekly, Dec. 5-11, 1996

“Factory Tests for Pregnancy in Mexico Draw Criticism,” T. Steller, The Arizona Daily Star, Feb. 1, 1998

“Making Links Across the Border,” D. La Botz, Labor Notes, Aug. 1994

“Union Vote in Mexico Illustrates Abuses,” S. Dillon, New York Times International, Oct. 13, 1997

“Bridging the GAP: Exposing the Labour Behind the Label,” B. Jeffcott and L. Yanz, Our Times, Feb. 1997

“To Explore NAFTA·s Future, Visit Nogales,” National Catholic Reporter, Jan. 7, 1994

“Bashing Immigrants Won·t Save Environment,” Gomez, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 17, 1997

“Masters of the Game—How the U.S. Protects the Traffic in Cheap Mexican Labor,” W. Graham, Harpers Magazine, July 1996

“Baiting Immigrants—Women Bear the Brunt,” J. Light, The Proqressive, Sept. 22, 1996

“Who·s Killing the Women of Juarez?,” C. Bowden, Talk, Sept. 1999
SESSION 5 HELEWITZ: Chapter 8, Refugees and Asylum, pp.147-172.

SESSION 6 READING PACKET, “INS Bigger than FBI, Prisons Bureau,” I. Ibarra, The Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 27, 1998

“U.S. Border Patrol/Tucson Sector Productivity Recap 1991-1996;” U.S. Border Patrol, 1997

“America Puts Up Chain Links Along a Once Friendly Border,” H. La Franchi, The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 13, 1996

“Militarizing the Border,” Covert Action Ouarterly, Spring 1996

“Borderline Shootings: Two Cases This Year Raise Questions About Military·s Role on Rio Grande,” T. Herrick, Houston Chronicle, June 22, 1997

“Border Patrol Reinforcements to be Sent to Porous Sectors,” W. Branigin, The Washinaton Post, Oct. 8, 1997

“Churches· Call to ’Love the Stranger· Includes Illegal,” D. Ramirez, Arizona Daily Star, Feb. 17, 1995

“A Catholic Framework for Economic Life,” Bread for the World (1998)

“AFSC Perspectives on Immigration Policy,” American Friends Service Committee, July 1997

The service component of this course may be satisfied in a variety of ways. Possible placements will include:

1. Catholic Charities, Immigration Department, N.Y., N.Y.
Students interested in the legal processing of claims may assist staff attorneys by completing in-take applications for clients and by doing research on country specific claims for asylum.
2. Lawyers· Committee for Human Rights, N.Y., N.Y.
Students interested in issues involving refugee and asylum cases may volunteer to work on specific regional issues.
3. The Center for Immigration Rights, N.Y., N.Y.
Students interested in legal process issues may volunteer to be court watchers at removal hearings.
4. Bonita Springs Project, Bonita Springs, Fla.
Students interested in working with migrant workers may spend spring break working with the Christian Brothers· community in Florida.
5. Iona College After School Program, New Rochelle, N.Y.
Students interested in working with immigrant families (many of whom are from Mexico) may become involved in language and naturalization tutoring programs.

School: Iona College
Professor: Dr. J.L. Yranski Nasuti
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