Archive for ‘Education’

October 30, 2011

10/30 – New America Media – Latino College Enrollment Skyrockets, But Will Upward Mobility Follow? – New America Media

Latino College Enrollment Skyrockets, But Will Upward Mobility Follow? – New America Media.

Latino College Enrollment Skyrockets, But Will Upward Mobility Follow?

Jacob Simas and Vivian Po, Posted: Oct 30, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO — Maricruz Cabrera, a 17-year-old high school senior from Thermal, Calif., a rural community in the east Coachella valley that stretches from Indio to the Salton Sea on the southern edge of Riverside County, knows what it’s like to pick grapes under a hot desert sun. It’s back breaking. It pays little. In a nutshell, it’s hard physical labor for minimal return. Which is why Cabrera, the daughter of migrant workers, has her sights set on the one thing she believes will create job opportunities that her parents never had: a college degree.

Cabrera moved to the United States from Mexico with her parents and older siblings in 2000, and in the ensuing years all of the family members, including Cabrera herself, have had to rely heavily on farm work to make ends meet. Only recently were Cabrera’s parents able to find less physically demanding, yet still low-paying jobs — her mother as a home-care worker and her father as a groundskeeper at a golf resort catering to tourists in plush Palm Springs.

“Getting a [college] education is sort of a necessary thing to do, in order to repay my parents for all they’ve had to [sacrifice],” said Cabrera.

She’s not alone in her thinking. In fact, it is the hope of upward mobility that she embodies — the classic immigrant dream of a better life – as well as the economic recession, which experts say is the reason Latino college enrollment numbers have spiked to unprecedented levels across California and the nation.

According to recent data compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center [URL: http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=146%5D, the number of Latinos aged 18-24 attending college in the United States increased by an incredible 24 percent over a one-year period, from 2009 to 2010. That increase represents a spike of nearly 350,000 students and brings the total number of college-aged Latinos enrolled to 1.8 million nationwide, or roughly 15 percent of all young adults enrolled in college. Those figures include students at both two- and four-year colleges.

“People come to the U.S. because they’re hopeful for a brighter future,” said Lisa Garcia Bedolla, a professor at the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley and chair of Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research. “And some of that immigrant work ethic and hopefulness carries through and is evident in their kids. I can say that in my own family, and I would imagine in other families also, the immigrant generation has always been motivated because they remember what the conditions were like wherever they came from.”

In California – home to more immigrants than any other state in the nation – the overall numbers hold true but also reveal a huge gap between community colleges and four-year universities.

Within the Cal State University system of 23 college campuses, Latino enrollment grew by 3,418 students between 2009 and 2010, and those gains were most apparent on campuses located in rural counties, such as CSU Bakersfield (11 percent increase), Humboldt (32 percent), Monterey Bay (17 percent), Sonoma (18 percent) and Stanislaus (9 percent).

Even in the UC system, where four of the nine campuses actually downsized their student bodies last year, Latino enrollment increased university-wide by a modest 2,410 students between the 2009 and 2010 academic year, although Latino enrollment at the system’s most prestigious schools – Berkeley and Los Angeles – either decreased or was stagnant.

Without question, however, Latino enrollment numbers in California have increased the most in the community college system, which gained more than 40,000 Latino students between the 2009 and 2010 academic year.

Although that number only represents about a 3.5 percent increase, it’s a huge gain when compared to other ethnic groups. No other single ethnicity saw their numbers at the city college level increase by more than 0.36 percent (African Americans) over the same time period.

So while experts point to second-generation Latinos – the sons and daughters of immigrants – as the students most likely to be driving the enrollment numbers up, there remains the question: Why are they choosing to go to school now?

Certainly, population increases alone cannot account for such a dramatic increase over a one-year period, said Bedolla.

“Some of it can be attributed to shifts in educational attainment (at the high school level) in the Latino community, and some can be attributed to there being fewer opportunities for employment,” said Bedolla. “I would assume that the bad economy has something to do with [the increasing enrollment numbers].”

Professor Hugh Mehan, a sociologist at UC San Diego, agreed.

“People who can’t get a job are enrolling in community college to increase their skills so they’ll be better equipped when the economy improves,” he said.

But what looks like a positive trend on the surface – more Latinos going to college – could have unintended consequences down the line if other issues of equity are not addressed. The spike in Latino enrollees at community colleges, in tandem with budget cuts and higher fees at the state’s public universities, has Mehan concerned that the academic gains being enjoyed now by young Latinos may not automatically translate into upward mobility or a better life than what their parents had.

“A two-year degree is an important step up, but it’s not the same as a four-year degree, which can open more (professional) doors for a student,” said Mehan, who also suggests that failing to create more equity across all levels of higher education could well result in nothing less than the shattering of the American dream for a whole generation of youth born of immigrant families.

“The first-generation of immigrants have that enthusiasm and optimism, that carries into the next generation. But if those hopes and aspirations are not fulfilled, then the idea of working hard to get ahead in school diminishes.”

Mehan believes the disproportionate number of Latinos going to community college is a byproduct of rising costs at four-year public universities.

Miroslava De Leon, 17, a senior at Golden Valley High School in Greenfield, a small agricultural town outside of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley, said increasing tuition fees are the main reason she’ll have to begin her college career at a local community college, despite getting good grades in high school.

“There is a financial challenge with tuition, especially in California with the (fee hikes) at CSU and UC. I have great parents and ever since I was a freshman they started a college savings account for me. But it’s not much, so I plan to stay local at Bakersfield College and then transfer,” she said. “UC Berkeley would be my dream school.”

De Leon sees her own situation mirrored by other second-generation youth in her community.

“I see it everywhere. People are saying, ‘I got in, but now how do I pay for my tuition?’ It’s a recession, and the biggest challenge is how to get through it.”

Yet for students like De Leon and Cabrera, earning a college degree is no longer a surefire ticket to success that it once was for second-generation children of immigrant parents from previous generations, said Mehan.

“The economy has shifted, so the kinds of jobs that enabled people to have upward mobility decades ago are shrinking,” he said. “Since positions are being sent offshore, jobs for people with those entry level skills don’t exist.”

The combination of economic recession and immigration policies that discourage immigrants from building a life in the United States, said Mehan, should at the very least temper any blind enthusiasm people may derive from the promising college enrollment statistics.

“The economic downturn is turning immigrants into victims. They’re being blamed for the economy. Look at Arizona, Georgia and Alabama. States are punishing Latino students for going to school, punishing immigrants for living and getting jobs. Those two factors (the recession and immigration policy) operate against the optimism that’s found in the immigrant communities.”

Despite it all, De Leon remains positive and driven to accomplish what her parents could not.

“My dad left school when he was 13 years old, after his mom passed. And my mom had to drop out of nursing school when she was (a young woman) living in Mexico. They’re my biggest inspiration, and I want to (go to college) to set an example for future generations. I want to be that change.”

October 28, 2011

10/28 – Daily Report – Immigration laws harm students – Daily Report

Immigration laws harm students – Daily Report.

Friday, October 28, 2011
Immigration laws harm students

Alabama law seeking children’s status rejected by 11th Circuit, but danger to school access persists

(File photo)
Daniel Altschuler has written extensively on immigration politics and holds a doctorate in politics from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
(Zachary D. Porter)
Azadeh Shahshahani is the director for the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.
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True or false: No child in this country can be denied a public education.The answer is true, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 1982 Plyler v. Doe decision, which held that schools could not exclude children based on their immigration status. This is settled law, but not for Alabama legislators, who passed an anti-immigrant law (HB 56) with a provision requiring elementary and secondary schools to determine students’ and parents’ citizenship status. With a federal district court refusing to enjoin this provision, families with an undocumented family member are already keeping their children, including U.S. citizens, out of school. Though an appellate court this month temporarily blocked the K-12 reporting requirement, the right to primary education access for all in our country remains in jeopardy.This summer, civil and immigrant rights groups, religious institutions, and the Department of Justice challenged HB 56 in federal court. Alabama’s law contains many troubling provisions found in anti-immigrant laws in other states, such as Arizona and Georgia, which were blocked by federal courts. But it goes much further, including the requirement in Section 28 that K-12 school officials track immigration status. The court allowed this section of the law to stand.As with Georgia’s HB 87, proponents of HB 56 claim they are removing the drain on state resources. But, in truth, officials like Gov. Robert Bentley are scapegoating immigrants for political gain at a time of economic insecurity. They have confessed their desire to expel undocumented immigrants from the state. HB 56 sponsor Mickey Hammon asserted, “This [bill] attacks every aspect of an illegal immigrant’s life. … [T]his bill is designed to make it difficult for them to live here so they will deport themselves.” The law is so extreme that Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, concluded that Alabama’s “draconian initiative is so oppressive that Bull Connor himself would be impressed.” Birmingham’s former sheriff, you may recall, once used attack dogs and fire hoses on African-American children.Even those skeptical of immigration’s well-documented economic benefits should be appalled by Alabama officials’ willingness to target children. In addition to violating the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, Section 28 is morally repugnant. It uses state power to keep immigrant children, who bear no responsibility for their status, out of school. Moreover, while so many Alabama public schools are failing, the law unconscionably redirects scarce education resources toward immigration policing. Finally, as the court held in Plyler, “It is difficult to understand precisely what the State hopes to achieve by promoting the creation and perpetuation of a subclass of illiterates within our boundaries, surely adding to the problems and costs of unemployment, welfare, and crime.”Sadly, HB 56 may reflect a larger national trend. In May, the Department of Justice issued a memo re-affirming the illegality of asking students about their immigration status. This followed illegal reporting requirements and efforts in other states to pass education provisions similar to HB 56. Recent reports by the American Civil Liberties Union, for instance, found that roughly 20 percent of New York and New Jersey public school districts requested information from students that would indicate their immigration status. Similar practices abound in Arizona, where fully half of school districts surveyed by the ACLU sought such information. The Department of Justice was right to issue its memo, but, in the wake of HB 56’s passage, it must be even more vigilant about illegal school reporting policies, which may rise as restrictionist officials seek to copy HB 56.It is encouraging that the appellate court temporarily blocked the education provision of HB 56. But beating Section 28 in court, while essential, will not by itself ensure that all American children can go to school without fear. Legislators and education officials around the country must take heed: our classrooms are no place for the refrain, “Papers, please.”

Daniel Altschuler and Azadeh Shahshahani, Special to the Daily Report

October 23, 2011

10/23 – Online Athens – Lawyers say immigration law hurts state’s economy | Athens Banner Herald Mobile

Lawyers say immigration law hurts state’s economy | Athens Banner Herald Mobile.

Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011

By BLAKE AUED

blake.aued@onlineathens.com

State and federal immigration laws are making it hard for international companies to do business in Georgia, a panel of legal experts said Saturday at the University of Georgia.

“We literally have companies saying ‘I don’t want to do business in this
state,’ ” Atlanta immigration lawyer Sharon Cook Poorak said.

A UGA law school symposium Saturday included a discussion on the impact of House Bill 87, the new state immigration law that is among the most strict in the nation.

The law affects not only migrant farm workers in South Georgia, but also millionaire European CEOs who want to do business in the U.S., panelists said.

“Georgia is really shooting themselves in the foot right now, to pass these laws that hurt us economically,” Poorak said.

She noted that the state’s unemployment rate is still above 10 percent since the law took effect in July, so jobs held by illegal immigrants aren’t being filled by Americans.

It’s impossible for unskilled workers like dishwashers to immigrate legally because they can’t get visas, said another immigration lawyer, Teri Simmons.

And visas for skilled workers like scientists are hard to get, she said.

“America has one of the toughest, strictest immigration systems in the entire world,” Simmons said.

In addition to discouraging corporations from coming to Georgia, apartments are sitting vacant and small businesses are closing up shop, immigration lawyer Carolina Antonini said.

Her clients are reluctant to go to the hospital if they’re sick or call the police if they’re victims of crime because they fear being deported, she said.

“We’re seeing people flee the state, whole families flee the state,” Antonini said.

Vidalia onion farmers are suffering from a labor shortage because of the law, Toombs County Solicitor Paul Threlkeld said.

“We’ve built an economy on the backs of these folks, and no one wants to treat them like second-class citizens,” he said.

State Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, said he understands why people come to the U.S. illegally.

“If I could make $10 an hour rather than $10 a week, believe me, I’d come across the border and do the same thing,” he said.

But since the federal government won’t reform its immigration program to allow more workers into the country legally, the state had to act, Murphy said.

Simply asking for identification, “I don’t think that’s unreasonable,” he said.

Threlkeld said he’s glad a federal judge has halted enforcement of some of the laws provisions, such as one empowering police to check the immigration status of people they pull over or arrest, while he rules on the law’s constitutionality.

Toombs County doesn’t have the resources to enforce the law, he said.

Neither do many cities, which will be required to verify employees’, public works contractors’ and business owners’ immigration status, said Rusi Patel, counsel for the Georgia Municipal Association.

The law may be thrown out because it conflicts with federal law, said Neil Kinkopf, a Georgia State University constitutional law professor and advisor to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

State and local police can only enforce federal law if the attorney general certifies them to do so, but HB 87 allows them to enforce immigration law without any training or oversight from the federal government, he said.

October 18, 2011

10/17 – GPB – The Nation: The High Cost Of Anti-Immigrant Laws : NPR

The Nation: The High Cost Of Anti-Immigrant Laws : NPR.

Mexican migrant workers harvest organic spinach at Grant Family Farms on Oct. 11, 2011 in Wellington, Colorado. Many farmers nationwide say they have found it nearly impossible to hire American citizens for labor-intensive seasonal farm work.

Enlarge John Moore/Getty ImagesMexican migrant workers harvest organic spinach at Grant Family Farms on Oct. 11, 2011 in Wellington, Colorado. Many farmers nationwide say they have found it nearly impossible to hire American citizens for labor-intensive seasonal farm work.

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October 17, 2011

Sean Sellers, a former Kellogg Food & Society Fellow, and Greg Asbed, co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, have harvested watermelons in Florida, Georgia, and Missouri.

This past summer, the Econo Lodge off Interstate 75 in Tifton, Georgia, where we and other watermelon harvesters from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) have stayed on and off since 1997, was eerily quiet. Gone were the sweat-soaked shoes piled outside motel rooms, and gone were the workers hanging out during their evening downtime, chatting casually or talking to their families on pay-as-you-go cellphones. In their place, a phone card salesman at the hotel’s front desk told anyone who would listen that his sales had dropped by at least 50 percent this year.

It was mid-June, and we were in town for the watermelon harvest, but we might as well have walked into a ghost town, thanks to Georgia’s recently signed Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act, otherwise known as House Bill 87. And thanks to HB 87, a copycat law of Arizona’s infamous SB 1070, millions of pounds of watermelons were left to rot in the fields this summer—along with peaches, blackberries and cucumbers—as many of the most dependable and experienced farmworkers steered clear of Georgia and headed north for friendlier states, prompting an epic farm labor shortage in Georgia and desperate howls from its planters.

A similar story is unfolding in neighboring Alabama, where a federal judge recently upheld most provisions of an even more draconian bill, championed by Governor Robert Bentley as “the strongest immigration law in the country.” The ruling spurred frantic midnight evacuations, as immigrants fled rural towns across the state, leaving a trail of abandoned homes and businesses. Alabama tomato growers, among others, have decried the law’s swift and deleterious impact on the farm labor market.

The Alabama law makes it a crime for immigrants to not carry proper documents and forces public schools to determine students’ legal status. It also broadens the power of local police to investigate people’s immigration status during routine stops. In Georgia similar provisions were designed to target people suspected of a crime, including simple traffic violations, and who cannot produce proper identification.

Under both states’ laws, starting next year, employers will be required to use the federal E-Verify system—an online tool provided by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration—to determine their employees’ legal status. In Georgia any worker who uses false documents to get a job could face up to fifteen years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Businesses that don’t comply risk losing their license.

But states considering similar legislation should look at what happened this past summer in Georgia as a cautionary tale. Even before it took effect, in July, Georgia’s harsh new law prompted workers to avoid the state just as its summer crops were coming ripe. Bryan Tolar, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, described it as “the equivalent of a giant scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.” This continued even as its most controversial provisions—including a section allowing police to investigate the immigration status of people who have not been arrested—were put on hold by a federal judge while a lawsuit challenging the bill’s constitutionality made its way through court. Replacement workers proved scarce, and those locals who showed up for duty lacked the hard-earned skills for the job. The result: an estimated $300 million in lost crops, with potential losses of
$1 billion for the season for the state’s agricultural sector.

How did Georgia come to suffer such a painful, self-inflicted wound? The proximate cause is the intoxicating power of spreading anti-immigrant sentiment, fanned by incendiary Tea Party–style politics, which have found fertile ground throughout much of the South. HB 87 played an important role in Georgia’s gubernatorial election and was strongly supported by the Republican candidate, Nathan Deal; as Georgia’s new governor, he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Many Georgia farmers supported the law as well. Sixth-generation blackberry farmer Gary Paulk was chair of Deal’s gubernatorial campaign in Irwin County, next door to Tifton. He told Time magazine in June that he stood to lose $250,000 for the summer because of the labor shortage, adding, with no apparent self-awareness, that he finds the law “appalling, because they didn’t think through the implications, at the farm level.”

But like most things in the South, the roots of this particular problem run deep, into a long regional history of undervaluing agricultural labor. Georgia’s leaders (and much of its agricultural industry) were confident that replacement workers could be hired without a hiccup in the harvest. This particular confederacy of dunces believed their own rhetoric and are now paying the price. And from the look of things, it really hurts when you shoot yourself in the foot.

Continue reading at The Nation.

September 14, 2011

9/13 – CBSAtlanta TV 46 – Students protest Ga. university system immigration policy – CBS Atlanta 46

http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/15448808/students-to-protest-ga-university-system-immigration-policy

Posted: Sep 13, 2011 8:34 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 13, 2011 3:02 PM EDT

By Blake Clancy
By Mandi Milligan

ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) –

Students protested against a policy Tuesday that would require students to prove they are in the country legally before enrolling in schools within Georgia’s university system.

The group known as Georgia Students for Public Higher Education rallied at Georgia State University’s courtyard area and then march to the Board of Regents.

Part of the mission on the group’s website states: “We believe that all people deserve affordable, quality education and secure employment, from the student who studies to the person who cleans. We are opposed to all attacks on undocumented students and believe that no student is illegal.”

The Board said only one person has been denied admission because of their immigration status.

via Students protest Ga. university system immigration policy – CBS Atlanta 46.

August 22, 2011

8/22/2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Georgia Undocumented Youth Determined to Graduate Despite Board of Regents Ban

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Georgina Perez 678-389-1226

gaundocumentedyouthalliance@gmail.com


Georgia Undocumented Youth Determined to Graduate Despite Board of Regents Ban

Undocumented students will hold a graduation ceremony against the Board of Regents ban at University of Georgia


Athens, Georgia— Today, Undocumented youth from Athens will conduct a graduation ceremony of resistance as a protest against the Board of Regents’ decision to ban academically qualified students from attending Georgia’s top 5 public universities solely based on their immigration status. “I , just as many other students, was always told that I had potential, and with education I could do whatever I wanted when I grew up,” said Alejandro Galeana, a junior from Cedar Shoals High School, “and now, I am having to fight for my rights to be allowed to receive higher education,”

 

WHAT:              Undocumented youth stage graduation of resistance

WHO:               Undocumented Youth from around the state of Georgia

WHEN:             Tuesday, August 23rd at 12:00pm at the University of GA “Arch”

WHERE:           In front of the “Arch” – Corner of College and Broad

 

“I am having to fight for my education now, and Failure is NOT an option,” Galeano stated, and understanding the issue within his society Alejandro goes on, “This is the Athens community, not the Athens-white, Athens-black or Athens-anything. It is Athens, and all the people here are equal. Once you start targeting a certain subgroup, such as the immigrant community, it becomes racism and prejudice”

 

Tuesday’s action is in the spirit of supporting youth like Galeano, whose dreams and hard work are being shattered by the BOR ban

 

In addition to the rally, GUYA will be announcing its support of Freedom University, a local project that will offer a rigorous college-level course to all academically qualified students regardless of immigration status or socio-economic background, without fees or tuition. One of the scholars involved in the project, Dr. Pamela Voekel, states that “The Regents ban contravenes this country’s most cherished values of liberty and justices for all. Freedom University is designed to serve the students adversely affected by the Board of Regent’s misguided ban.”

 

Freedom University is governed by a advisory board consisting nationally recognized scholars including Pulitzer Prize winning author, Junot Díaz, representing growing educators voice on the issue of immigration.

###

Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) is an Undocumented Youth-led organization which seeks dignity and justice for its immigrant youth community in the state of Georgia. GUYA believes all persons should have equal access to education and a life free from persecution regardless of their legal status


Georgina Perez

August 18, 2011

8/18 – WSB (AP) – Top Ga. Schools Check Immigration Students’ Status – News Story – WSB Atlanta

Top Ga. Schools Check Immigration Students’ Status – News Story – WSB Atlanta.

Georgia’s five most competitive state colleges and universities are checking students’ immigration status before enrolling them in fall semester classes.The checks are part of a new policy adopted by the Board of Regents last fall to ensure that illegal immigrants don’t take the place of citizens and those here legally. It bars any school that has rejected academically qualified applicants in the prior two years from accepting illegal immigrants.One of the more than 10,000 students granted preliminary acceptance has been stopped from enrolling due to immigration status, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. That case was at Georgia State University.The other four schools affected by the policy are Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Georgia College & State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.

August 18, 2011

8/18 – Huffington Post – New Policy On Deportations Allows Some Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants To Stay

New Policy On Deportations Allows Some Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants To Stay.

Obama

First Posted: 8/18/11 03:11 PM ET Updated: 8/18/11 07:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced on Thursday it will do a case-by-case review of deportations, allowing many undocumented immigrants without criminal records to stay in the United States indefinitely and apply for work permits.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will send a letter on Thursday to Senate members who had asked for details on how the agency would prioritize its immigration enforcement. The policy change is meant as a framework to help prevent non-priority undocumented immigrants from “clogging the system,” senior administration officials said on a conference call with reporters Thursday.

First, the agency will look at its pending immigration cases and close the low-priority cases, so immigration courts can focus on the most serious ones, administration officials said. The low-priority cases can be reopened if circumstances require. Next, guidance will be given to immigration enforcement agents to help them better detect serious criminals and other high-priority undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants whose cases are closed will be allowed to apply for work permits, but will not be given them automatically, officials said.

The move was perhaps meant to combat harsh criticism from Latino groups and immigration reform advocates, who have rebuked President Obama for continuing to deport undocumented people at record rates, while at the same time insisting he supports immigration reform.

Although the Obama administration has repeatedly said its deportation policies focus on the “worst of the worst,” immigrant rights groups say enforcement agents still net a large number of non-criminal undocumented people.

The administration had earlier attempted to defend its record on Tuesday, with a blog post meant to “set the record straight” on the Secure Communities enforcement program.

Cecilia Munoz, White House director of Intergovernmental Affairs, wrote that more than half of all removals are of people with criminal records. Among non-criminals, most of those removed were apprehended crossing the border, had recently arrived in the United States or had been previously deported, she wrote.

“Those statistics matter,” Munoz wrote. “While we have more work to do, the statistics demonstrate that the strategy DHS put in place is working.”

The administration earlier tried to clarify its immigration enforcement policies in a June memo, which specifically recommended prosecutorial discretion. That memo cited the possibility of considering whether a person under removal proceedings would otherwise be eligible for the DREAM Act, an un-passed bill that would allow some undocumented young people to gain legal status in exchange for two years of college or military service.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the key supporters of the DREAM Act, applauded the administration’s decision Thursday.

“The Obama Administration has made the right decision in changing the way they handle deportations of DREAM Act students,” Durbin said. “These students are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and, maybe, senators, who will make America stronger. We need to be doing all we can to keep these talented, dedicated, American students here, not wasting increasingly precious resources sending them away to countries they barely remember.

Durbin pledged to “closely monitor DHS” to ensure the new policy would be implemented.

But increased discretion on the part of administration prosecutors may not be enough to please advocacy groups, many of which argue the administration should abolish certain enforcement programs altogether.

“In order to fulfill its promises, the administration must end policies like Secure Communities that result in the criminalization of innocent immigrants who are Americans in Waiting like those who came before them,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, in an email statement. “The administration has pursued policies that are sowing fear and devastation among immigrant communities, and it must reverse course to stop the Arizonification of the country,” he added, referencing Arizona’s strict immigration enforcement policies.

August 10, 2011

8/10 – USAToday – Census tracks 20 years of sweeping change – USATODAY.com

Census tracks 20 years of sweeping change – USATODAY.com.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/census/2011-08-10-census-20-years-change_n.htm

The USA is bigger, older, more Hispanic and Asian and less wedded to marriage and traditional families than it was in 1990. It also is less enamored of kids, more embracing of several generations living under one roof, more inclusive of same-sex couples, more cognizant of multiracial identities, more suburban, less rural and leaning more to the South and West.

Results of the 2010 Census have been pouring out all year, an avalanche of statistics detailing the population characteristics of states, counties and cities. But the Census represents more than just a current snapshot.

The end of the first decade of the 21st century marks a turning point in the nation’s social, cultural, geographic, racial and ethnic fabric. It’s a shift so profound that it reveals an America that seemed unlikely a mere 20 years ago — one that will influence the nation for years to come in everything from who is elected to run the country, states and cities to what type of houses will be built and where.

The metamorphosis over just two decades stuns even demographers and social observers.

“It was always predicted that we would be diverse, but it’s happened faster than anyone predicted,” says Cheryl Russell, former editor in chief of American Demographics magazine, now editorial director of New Strategist Publications, publisher of reference tools. “Diversity and the rapid growth in diversity is one of the reasons we have a black president today. That’s one thing that would never have been predicted.”

2010 photo by Todd Plitt for USA TODAY

Marketers can customize sales pitches for more age niches now as groups such as “tweens,” “starting adults” and “oldest old” have found their way onto the life-stages continuum.

The black-white racial dynamics that have dominated much of the nation’s history have been scrambled by the explosive growth of Hispanics. In most southern states where the black-white legacy has deep roots, Hispanics have accounted for most of the population gains during the past decade.

“An entire Venezuela’s worth of Hispanics was added in just those two decades,” says Robert Lang, an urban sociologist at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. That’s about 30 million, or half of the nation’s growth since 1990.

“Everything about America now has to do with diversity that we could hardly recognize in 1990,” says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution. The change will be felt for years to come as whites and blacks age and young Hispanics dominate in more places.

“By 2050, Americans will look back at the controversies around immigration, controversies about diversity and wonder what the big deal was,” Lang says.

The starkest evidence of the cultural revolution the nation has undergone in two decades lies in the first government reporting of same-sex households.

“That is huge,” Russell says. “Usually, attitudinal change occurs as one generation replaces another” but this happened faster.

“In 1990, people were still thinking of family as what you saw on TV sitcoms,” Frey says — mainly mom and dad and two kids. “It still stuck in people’s minds as the norm.”

The facts behind the new norm:

Who’s home

The traditional nuclear family — one or two adults and their young children — continues to ebb. In its place, a grab bag of alternatives has appeared or begun growing after decades of decline:

Among families. Various forms of three generations under one roof; adult children returning to their parents’ home, sometimes with a spouse and their own children or both; blended families that include stepparents or stepchildren; and extended families that include a parent, a child, cousins and others, related or not.

Among unrelated people. A wide variety of living arrangements have flourished among all ages: unmarried partner couples, both same-sex or opposite sex, sometimes with their own or related children or adult roommates.

Living solo. The share of one-person households continues to grow, up from 25% in 1990 to 27%. The recession has slowed the trend by forcing some young adults to live with parents or roommates. But as Baby Boomers flood into their empty-nesting years and beyond, the trend could accelerate. In many Western European countries, more than one-third of households consist of just one person.

Multigenerational households. At the other end of the spectrum, a growing share of homes includes more than one generation of a family. The average household size has stopped shrinking and begun to grow for the first time in a half-century, partly buoyed by the influx of immigrant famlies.

Immigrants are more likely to have young children and live with siblings, parents or other relatives. By one broad definition, 16% of U.S. households are multigenerational (two or more), up from 14% in 1990, according to the Pew Research Center. The Census defines multigenerational as three or more generations of the same family. In 2010, they made up 4% of households.

Fewer kids. Only one-third of households now have children, and the share of households that have kids under age 18 dropped in 95% of counties, changing the flavor of neighborhoods in cities and suburbs.

The opposite is happening in areas populated predominantly by immigrants. The 1.9 million-person gain in the under-18 population since 2000 was fueled completely by racial and ethnic minorities. Hispanic fertility is at 2.9 births per woman, much higher than the national average of 2.1.

At 24%, the proportion of residents who are 18 and under is at an all-time low, according to the Population Reference Bureau. It was 25.6% in 1990. Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C., lost 10% or more of their child populations just in the last decade.

Having children increasingly has become detached from marriage. The share of births by unmarried women has risen from 26% to 41% since 1990 and could be headed higher. Among Hispanics, it’s 53%; among blacks, it’s 73%. In several European countries, half to two-thirds of all children are born to unmarried women.

Remix

One of the most significant demographic trends of the past 20 years is the explosive growth of Hispanics. Now at 50 million — almost one in six Americans — Hispanics have more than doubled their numbers in 1990.

The Hispanic boom has spread far beyond traditional immigrant gateways such as California and Florida, altering the American landscape in states such as Kansas and North Carolina.

Just more than 1% of North Carolina 6.6 million residents were Hispanic in 1990. In 2010: Almost 7% of 9.5 million people were.

Asians grew at a similarly rapid rate but they still account for a small share of the population (4.7%). Since 2000, more Asians were added (4.3 million) to the population than blacks (3.7 million).

Hispanics surpassed blacks in 2003. African Americans’ presence in some traditional strongholds is shrinking. They are leaving cities and heading for the suburbs or returning to the South.

Fifty-seven percent of the USA’s blacks live in the South, the highest since 1960. Some are retirees settling in Florida and North Carolina; others are professionals lured by thriving metropolitan areas in Texas and Georgia.

Most of Chicago’s population declines since 2000 were due to a loss of more than 181,000 black residents. There were declines in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta. The black population in Washington, D.C., is slipping below 50%.

The USA’s racial and ethnic balance has been further upset by the growing number of Americans who claim more than one race.

The change happened in 2000, when the government first allowed people to pick two or more races on Census forms. The 9 million who did make up almost 2% of the population, up from 1.6% in 2000.

One in seven new marriages include spouses of different racial or ethnic backgrounds, according to the Population Reference Bureau. In 2010, 5.6% of children under age 18 reported two or more races compared with 2.1% of adults.

The Census projects that less than half of the U.S. population will be white and not Hispanic by 2042 — a moving target that will be influenced by future immigration and fertility patterns.

Gender evolution

Gender roles have been redefined.

One of the biggest changes is the delay and eclipse of marriage. Half of women who marry wait until 26 to do so, up from 24 in 1990. For men, half don’t marry until they are older than 28, up from 26.

Part of the delay may stem from higher education levels. Women have made such giant leaps that they now dominate men at every level of higher education in earning degrees. The most recent Department of Education statistics show that 51% of doctoral degrees went to women in 2007-08, up from 42% in just 10 years.

“For a lot of women, marriage is a disadvantage,” Russell says. “Women would end up supporting the men.”

The educational gender gap is widening, but men’s life expectancy, still lagging women’s, is rising at a faster rate.

Since 1990, life expectancy for men who make it to retirement has grown at almost three times the rate that it has for women, according to preliminary 2009 data from the National Center on Health Statistics.

A 65-year-old man today is expected to live another 17.3 years, women 20 years — up 15% for men and just 6% for women.

In 1990, a 65-year-old man was expected to live an extra 15.1 years and women 18.9.

The same is happening for those who reach the age of 75: Men’s life expectancy has gained 14%, women’s 4%.

Much of the gain for men is the result of lower lung cancer rates (men smoked more before the anti-smoking crusade began a generation ago) and better heart disease treatment and prevention.

Men have shown steady annual gains of 0.2 years in life expectancy in recent years while the rate for women gained less or stayed flat.

Where we live

•The pull of suburbia did not let up despite an urban renaissance fueled by empty nesters and the young and childless. More than half of Americans — about 158 million — are suburbanites. In 1990, just over 48% were. In just 20 years, almost 40 million more people lived in suburbs.

•Rural areas continued their decline, their population remaining stagnant over 20 years at 50 million. Rural residents now make up only 16% of total population, down from 20% in 1990.

“Remote rural counties grew the least and the outer suburbs of large metro areas grew the most during the 20-year period,” says Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute. “In rural areas, farm counties grew the least and retirement counties grew the most.”

•The nation is tipping south and west. The allure of Sun Belt states such as California and Florida was in full bloom 20 years ago, but no one saw the population explosion that hit states throughout the region, from North Carolina to Nevada.

“We knew people were moving to the Sun Belt but we didn’t know people were moving to the interior part of the Sun Belt,” Frey says. “This time, California didn’t even gain a seat in Congress but Nevada, Arizona and Utah all gained seats. These are the new pioneering areas of the U.S.”

At the same time, growth slowed in the Northeast and Midwest, where less than 40% of the U.S. population lives now compared with more than 44% in 1990. More than 37% now live in the South and 23% in the West. For the first time, more people live in the West than the Midwest. Twenty years ago, the West first surpassed the Northeast.

“It’s not something we would have foreseen, this emptying out of the industrial Midwest,” Frey says. “This decade has made that much more permanent, much more dramatic.”

•Because of suburbanization, cities that were mere specks on the map 20 years ago are major urban centers today. Frisco, Texas, for example, a northern suburb of Dallas, was a hamlet of 6,141 in 1990. In 2010: 116,989.

“It’s the newest city in America with more than 100,000 people,” says Lang, who coined the term “boomburbs.”

Life stages for Americans

Tweens? twentysomethings? Young professionals? Oldest old?

Partly because of longevity, largely because of economic and cultural influences, life stages are stretching far beyond the five traditional categories — kids, teens, young adults, middle-aged and old. That gives marketers more sales pitches to customize for age niches.

Children go from being children to the in-between stage of tweenhood that precedes teenage years. Young adults, staying in college longer and many moving back home after they graduate, are in a new stage of delayed adulthood.

“It’s partly the extension of childhood to about age 30 at this point,” Russell says. “Because of education, the time it takes to establish a career and marry, people are about 30. That’s when, interestingly, voting rates rise.”

In 2010, 24 million adult children lived at home, she says, many of them because they can’t find jobs or can’t afford housing.

“That’s one of the surprises,” Russell says. “Who knew in 1990, when boomers were young adults, that they would be so family-oriented? … First, they were family-oriented by choice and now it’s by necessity.”

People are living longer and older people are working longer, creating new degrees of aging.

The 85-plus population climbed from about 3 million in 1990 (1.2% of the population), to 5.5 million — 1.8% —in 2010.

“We didn’t appreciate how old the white population would get in 20 years,” Frey says, and how diverse the younger population would get. “The future is people of all races and ethnicities.”

July 31, 2011

7/29 – Scientific American – What Causes Prejudice against Immigrants, and How Can It Be Tamed?: Scientific American

What Causes Prejudice against Immigrants, and How Can It Be Tamed?: Scientific American.

What Causes Prejudice against Immigrants, and How Can It Be Tamed?

Hostility toward others can explode into senseless violence. Reciprocal relationships and trust are keys to preventing such tragedies

Anders Behring Breivik Image: Wikimedia Commons

In the wake of the bombing in Oslo and the shooting on Utoya Island in Norway, the spotlight has focused on confessed perpetrator Anders Behring Breivik. What drove the Norwegian citizen with extremist right-wing views to these mass killings? Although one of the terrorist’s driving motives was anti-immigrant sentiment, he also killed fellow Norwegians belonging to his own ethnic group.

Why do human beings develop this kind of prejudice, and what makes it sometimes erupt into violence? Scientific American spoke with Steven Neuberg, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University in Tempe, about the psychology of anti-immigrant prejudice.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

How would you define prejudice in psychological terms?
Prejudice is traditionally defined in social psychology as a negative feeling towards a particular group and its members. It turns out, though, that there are different kinds of prejudices and different prejudices towards different groups—and these prejudices have very different emotional components to them. For instance, towards some groups, the prejudice is characterized by disgust, others by anger, yet others by fear.

What underlies prejudice against foreigners?

We’re highly dependent on people in our own groups. In fact, one could argue that our highly ultrasocial, interdependent form of group living may be the most important human adaptation. People tend to be invested in members of their groups, to have ongoing histories of fair exchanges and reciprocal relations, to treat one another reasonably well, to create and follow a set of agreed-upon norms, and thereby build up trust. Outsiders aren’t going to have that same built-up investment in us or our group. Because of this, we tend to believe that people who are foreign to us are more likely to pose certain kinds of threats: We believe they may be more interested in taking our resources, more likely to cheat us in exchanges, to violate our norms and values, to take more than their fair share, and the like. These perceptions of threats are linked to negative emotions such as anger and moral disgust that contribute to anti-immigrant prejudices.

My colleague Mark Schaller at the University of British Columbia has explored an additional threat that people are likely to see in foreigners: People who come from faraway places, who live in somewhat different ecologies, carry different pathogens within their bodies—pathogens that their immune systems have had an opportunity to adapt to but that ours have not. Schaller’s work shows that people perceived as being foreign—perhaps because they look different than us, speak different languages, eat different foods—automatically activate perceptions of disease threat. And groups who are perceived to pose disease threats activate prejudices characterized by physical disgust.

The alleged attacker in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, had strong anti-immigrant prejudices. What was he feeling?
I can’t tell you exactly what he was thinking, but as I mentioned, foreign groups coming into one’s own society—immigrants—activate perceptions of a wide range of threats and elicit accompanying negative emotions such as anger, disgust and fear, which increases the likelihood of discrimination. If the perceived threats and emotions are strong enough, an individual may believe that he needs to rid his country of those who pose them. Moreover, anger and disgust, together, contribute to feelings of contempt, which we feel towards others we believe to be “less” than us, and can serve to motivate extreme actions.

It’s useful to note a couple of things here. First, because immigrants are perceived to pose multiple kinds of threats, they are likely to be on the receiving end of especially pernicious prejudices and acts of discrimination. Second, such reactions to immigrants are nothing new—and we can look not only to current anti-immigrant sentiments throughout the world, but also to our own history in the U.S. Whether it was Italians or Irish, Poles, Jews, Germans, Chinese or whomever, each of these groups were initially perceived to pose a wide range of threats and consequently evoked powerful prejudices. It was only once people came to see these groups as nonthreatening, usually as they were seen to adopt “American” norms, that they were perceived as Americans.

Given his prejudice against immigrants, why did Breivik target ethnic Norwegians, his own people?
I haven’t read his writings, but I hypothesize he was going after members of his group he saw as responsible for allowing the immigrant threat to exist. I think he saw the liberal politicians and government bureaucracy—whom he perceived as supporting Muslim immigration, cultural diversity and overall tolerance—as betraying the Norwegian people. Indeed, he attacked the liberal political class: The bomb was set off in a government center and the shootings took place at a camp for teenagers being educated in liberal politics. To Breivik, these folks may have been traitors because, to his mind, they were allowing immigrant Muslims to adulterate and contaminate his country. People seen as traitors are universally despised and stigmatized. Given how much humans, as social animals, invest in and depend upon their groups, betrayal of one’s group is seen as one of the worst things one can possibly do. My guess is that Breivik saw the liberal politics of his country as a betrayal of his people, and so he attacked those politics and those engaged in them.

What makes someone like Breivik break and decide to use violence?
It’s normal for people to over-perceive threats; our mind is designed to err in that direction. It’s also normal for people, when confronted with the kinds of threats we’ve been discussing, to experience emotions like anger, disgust and fear. But just because we stereotype groups as posing certain threats, and hold certain prejudices against them, doesn’t mean that we act on these stereotypes and prejudices in extreme ways. It just doesn’t make sense to do so, and the normal mind typically weighs the consequences of engaging in such planned, extreme actions. I suspect that Breivik, and other extremists like him, possess a much lower threshold for perceiving others as threats and perhaps also a much more intense emotional reaction to those perceptions. Moreover, for someone like him, the ability to dive deeply into media that’s like-minded, on the Web or otherwise, and to spend time with like-minded others, may significantly reinforce his sense of threat and his belief that something needs to be done about it. Like most rare, extreme behaviors, it takes a perfect storm—a psychological disposition shaped by genes and environment, in concert with current experiences, circumstances and opportunities.

What are some ways we can combat this kind of prejudice?

Prejudice against new immigrant groups is a natural aspect of our psychology. What’s natural, however, isn’t always good, and we can try to reduce inclinations to those prejudices we find morally problematic. Throughout history, immigrant groups that were once stigmatized very often end up accepted into society, because people come to understand that they aren’t actually posing the threats they were once thought to pose. It helps when immigrant groups begin to adopt the norms and practices of their new homes, and the reduction of threat perceptions is furthered as people begin to form friendships across group lines.

How do friendships help?

Friendship entails interacting interdependently with another—sharing, taking turns, self-disclosing, and the like—and such actions reveal that many of the threats initially expected to exist may not be there after all. With friendship also comes a sense of “we,” a sense that the person is like me and that we share something important and can trust them. Having a close friend that’s a member of another group then provides a model that the group may not actually be as threatening as initially believed. As members of groups come to interact with one another more, the likelihood that they’ll form friendships increases, and this will accelerate the reduction of prejudices.

Can we prevent prejudice from turning into violence?

I’m not very confident that we’ll ever be able to eliminate the kinds of rare acts of violence we saw in Norway. I am, however, somewhat more optimistic that we’ll be able to develop the behavioral and political “technologies” to reduce, or at least to manage, the more typical intergroup prejudices that characterize all of our everyday lives.

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