tv Immigration Reform Act and Latinos CSPAN July 3, 2016 1:10pm-1:50pm EDT
have a major role in supplying homeless shelters. riis believed private charities should take over that role in partnership with the municipality. with shared funds, both city and charitable funds, to open model lodging houses that would have to wash clothing and a real bed to sleep in and so on. the exhibition " jacob riis: revealing how the other half lives" can be viewed online. tv,ext on american history howard university law professor mariella olivares discusses the effects of the immigration act on latinas, specifically from
mexico, guatemala, el salvador, and honduras. she argues this supported cheap labor services, primarily benefited in, and indirectly caused a rise in illegal immigration. this 40-minute talk is part of a two-day symposium brought to you -- posted by the u.s. capitol historical society on the history of immigration. prof. finkelman: again, for those of you who are just joining us, my name is paul finkelman. i am the director of this symposium for the u.s. capitol historical society. i'm also the visiting professor of human rights law at the university of saskatchewan at the moment. it is a great pleasure to be here and to work with the capital historical society to put together this symposium in what is a very historic room.
yhere have been innumerable important hearings. the investigation of the sinking of the titanic took place in this room. probably for most of us, this is the room where the watergate hearings took place as well. there is a sign in the back of the room which lists all of the major events. kennedyw called the caucus room in honor of the three senators from massachusetts, all of whom were brothers. our next speaker is mariella oliveras. she is a professor at howard law school. she did her undergraduate degree at the university of texas at austin where she was a major. she then went on to michigan law school and did a masters of law at georgetown university. and she teaches immigration law here in washington at howard.
this is our local affiliation. prof. olivares: thank you and good afternoon. i have been marveling at being in this room today. dr. finkelman talking about what has happened in this room and how historical it is. very timely on this topic of immigration as well, i couldn't help to think about the mexican american daughter of a farm worker is speaking to you today. it's pretty remarkable. i don't know who's turning over in his grave from me being here, but i am honored to be here in the company of incredible teachers and scholars. thank you to the organizers, the capital historical society, for their incredible work in organizing this event which has been very interesting. i've learned quite a bit already today. but i'm here today to speak about something a bit more
contemporary than what we have heard so far. the 1986 simpson-mazolli act , otherwise known as the immigration reform and control at, the name i will use today. on the history and effects latino and latina immigrants in the united states. before i begin, i want to talk a little bit about terminology. latinorefer to immigrants today in the united states, i am speaking specifically about people from mexico and the central american countries that make up what is known as the northern triangle which includes honduras, el salvador, and guatemala. of course, there are other countries in central and south america who send latinos to the united states. but i concentrate today on migration and immigration patterns from those specific countries because immigrants from this country make up the vast majority of latino immigrants in the united states. as another preliminary note when
speaking about latino immigration to the united states it's important to acknowledge , the history of the latinos are is the history of the united states. as the united states expanded westward in the 19th century and acquired these territories by force or treaty agreement, the people of the geographic lands remained ethnicically and racially hispanic or the term i use, latino. when the united states federalized immigration law at the end of the 19th century setting the counter stone for the current stage of completely federal immigration law, borders became solidified and fortified. as a result, the latino populations native to this geography were forcibly deterred from the land and had to seek admission and membership in the united states as any other noncitizen would and continues to do. and that's through the
increasingly complex system of immigration law that we have today. imposition of formal borders has not stopped the flow of migrants from x igo and other central american countries. the ones i specifically mentioned earlier. in my forthcoming paper and this presentation today, i discussed the effects of erca on latino migration through a historical and critical legal studies lens. but first, i'll discuss the history of immigration law and policy and the important and undeniable intersections between immigration law and racial and ethnic formalized and informal discrimination. through this discussion it is , vital to provide a brief review of the history prior to passage of erca and its immediate effects on the millions of previously undocumented immigrants. while noting the gender implications of the legalization
program. in short, it set the stage for continued gender discrimination against women immigrants by favoring traditional male workforce working in the agricultural industries at the same time. next, i will provide a context for this historical perspective to more contemporary times by noting how migration trends are reflected in more recent numbers of central american migration and current political movements to legalize other sectors of undocumented immigrates like in the dream act. and the deferred action for childhood arrivals program and the deferred action for parentable accountability or dapa programs. so in discussing latino immigration, immigrant migration , it's important to recognize the critical intersection between immigration trends and racial discrimination that has
historically been a part of u.s. immigration law and policy. this system of first explicit and then informal, racist and ethnic discrimination in many ways set the stage for erca. the history is a history of racial and ethnic discrimination. at its earliest federal , immigration law developed in part as a reaction to chinese immigration with the intent to stop the flow of chinese people into the united states. as we've heard from several of our speakers today. , the u.s.9 case supreme court upheld congressional power to restrict the immigration of chinese immigrants to the united states. chinese immigrants were initially welcomed in the west or at least tolerated as they cheap or indentured labor for the railroad and gold-mining industries. but as their numbers increase
d and began to compete for jobs, as the court noted in the case, "a consequent irritation was followed by open conflict to the great disturbance of the public peace." the federalheld chinese exclusion act in part because of this presence of chinese laborers having a baneful effect about the -- upon the material interest of the state and morals. their immigration was in numbers approaching the numbers of an oriental invasion and was a menace to our civilization. so that would be shocking in comparison to contemporary mores. this immigration law continued through the 19th and into the 20th century targeting asian, latino and african-americans and other members of the "black race" while protectioning immigration from northern
europe. it attempted to stymie immigration of people of color. the immigration act of 1924 created a national origin quota system that restricted the annual immigration of people from any particular country to know more than 2% of the number of noncitizens from that country who were represented in the 1890 u.s. census. we have heard a bit about this already. to confinentended immigration as much as possible to western and northern european stock and to slow down the immigration from southern and eastern european countries. so this explicit preference for northern european and other white immigrants continued through much of the 20th century with a belief that white , immigrants would more easily assimilate into a dominant american culture. policies regarding immigration and naturalization were centered on prioritizing white people and ostracizing immigrants of color. so these pervasive efforts
to keep out immigrants of color manifested in various waves -- ways including the , targettings of latinos and especially mexicans who constitute the majority of latino immigrants. as one historical example during , the great depression mexican immigrants who had come to work in agricultural and other manual labor jobs left vacant i world war i were deported in record numbers. having received temporary lawful status for the sole purpose of providing cheap later to the united states through the program which operated from 1924 until the formal end in 1964, millions of mexican immigrants were forcibly removed at various points to the operation of the program and at the end. many deported were actually u.s. citizens. further, the fervor against latino immigration in the
1970's and particularly directed at mexicans at this was point emphasized by court decisions which constitutionally upheld checkpoint stops which targeted people based on apparent mexican ancestry and law provisions that targeted the employment of undocumented citizens. ofhough the immigration act 1965 finally repealed the national origin quota system which had effectively prohibited the immigration of people of color and replaced it with race neutral language, by that time immigration law and policy had already created a solid system of discrimination against immigrants of color. such that discriminatory effects continued. the end of the national origin quota changed the demographic makeup. as we have heard today, increasing the numbers of latino
immigrants. but examples of discriminatory policies abound in the historical record and more contemporary time. so for example, the i.n.a. restricted the number of people who could migrate from the western hemisphere to only 120,000 individuals per year. the emphasis of this limitation purposeful. it was part of a compromise to those who appeared a drastic upswing in latin american immigration. consequently congress coupled , more generous treatment of those outside with less generous treatment of latin american. moreovers the immigration act of 1965 and it's 19776 amendment limited the number of people from each country which affected immigrants of color from certain developing countries like mexico and india. as the feeling pertained to mexicans, the 20,000 limit worked to drastically reduce
mexican immigration at that time. select the time of the 1976 amendment president gerald ford , predicted ill effects on mexican migration. he said i am concerned about one aspect of the legislation which has the effect of reducing legal immigration from mexico. currently, about 40,000 legally immigrate to the united states each year. and this legislation would cut the number in half. johnson went on to state he would push for legislative reform to change this and increase the immigration ceiling for mexicans wishing to immigrate. he was not successful in getting any legislation through congress. so soon after in august 1977, president jimmy carter followed through with johnson's idea and supposed legislation to raise the ceiling of the number of mexican immigrants who could migrate and to establish a legalization program for undocumented immigrants already in the united states. congress did not legislate on a
proposal but the congress and his administration created what was called the select commission on immigration and refugee policy to study and evaluate the existing laws, policies, and procedures governing refugees. report totee gave the the newly elected president ronald regan. , the committee reported on the to 5 millionillion undocumented immigrants living and working in the united states which struck a chord with president reagan who apparently saw the problem of undocumented migration as one of the corrective power of labor demand. so in a 1977 radio address, he drew an analogy for the american people to illustrate the importance of regularizing the status of these millions of migrant workers stating it makes one wonder about the illegal aliens class.
our great numbers of unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion? work our owndoing people will not do? no regulation or law should be in cropsf it results rotting in the field for lack of harvesters. with this idea of opening up the labor market for an overall american prosperity, reagan pushed what would become erca. they co-authored the bill, the first iteration was introduced in 1982 and finally passed in 1986 with heavy bipartisan support. reagan applauded the new legislation and edit signing remarked future generations of americans will be thankful for our efforts. to be sure, the principal components continued to target latino immigrants. it sought to deter a new wave of undocumented immigrants, largely
from central american countries, who were fleeing violence and political turmoil and seeking employment in the low skilled service and agricultural industries in the united states which continued to flourish after the end of the brasero program. although it did three principal things, including creating strict prohibitions against employers hiring undocumented people, number two, increasing enforcement measures at the border, the precursor to this very strict border enforcement regime we have now. but three, recognizing the large number of undocumented workers already in the country who were in reagan's words doing the job , that most americans won't do. it also did something monumental that would have long spread the less long-term effects on latino migration. it provided legalization
programs, including one for undocumented agricultural workers. the legalization program is one of many historical examples of legalization. other people might call it amnesty, for undocumented immigrants. this as i'll touch on briefly in poignant particularly programs with other for parents of u.s. citizen children. of which was considered by the supreme court last month, which we should hear about soon. among other provisions, it dictated that the special agricultural workers who could qualify for legalization had to prove they resided in the united states for at least 90 days in seasonal, agricultural services, during the time between may 1985
and 1986. this legalization provision did not require the workers remain in the labor pool. but the proponents of the program anticipated many would do so, thereby guaranteeing a cheap labor force. it contained a more general legalization provision which stipulated certain undocumented immigrants who had been residing in the united states since january 1982 could petition for an 18-month-long lawful residential status. this put them in the lead to permanent status upon meeting certain eligibility requirements including lack of felony conviction and demonstration of a minimal understanding of the english language. this provision had incredible demographic effects. the new law allowed almost 3 million undocumented immigrants to become lawful, permanent residents.
it amounted to over 80% of the estimated total and document to some have it at about 60% to 80%. any broadscale reform program, especially one that provides emigration to the undocumented, had its share of critics. typical claims for these beneficiaries were skirting the traditional motive requiring lawful status and it usurped prior congressional mandates regarding how immigrants or should regularize their status. there were no provisions in the legalization program that extended this lawful status to family members of the beneficiaries who themselves motive and otherwise ineligible. status eligibility for dependents was a major critique of irca. it was due to benefit male
benefits and unfavored documented women. this proportionally benefited men who are more often employed in the agriculture industry at that time. undocumented women who work outside the home often held jobs in domestic industries and thus were in eligible for the irca provision for agricultural workers. -- no equivalent provision was available was available for nannies and house cleaners which are predominately female positions. she writes further about gender bias. the loss document requirements place the burdens of immigrant they had-- to prove resided in the united states continuously for the necessary time period. that works well for men who were more likely to work in steady
jobs of one agricultural boss. access to that proof was far less successful to women who may not afford continuously due to child-rearing or rich regular jobs under individual employers. the very access to information about the process was gendered as immigrants who work in isolation spend more time in the home, have less access information. the legal provisions themselves and the information and institutional access to utilize and where less available to immigrant woman into their male counterparts. the result was a law that is proportionally granted legalization demand and largely meant from central america. mail beneficiaries were followed by a huge wave of wives, girlfriends and families migrating to the united states for family reunification purposes. immigrant women dependent on
their male spouses and family members for their own lawful status was -- the lack of lawful status for beneficiary dependence was perhaps one reason why undocumented immigrants generally and specifically from mexico and central america continue to migrate to the united states. effect ofhe immediate granting broad legalization to roughly 3 million people, the undocumented immigrant population rose to medically in the 1990's and into the 2000's. i record number of undocumented immigrants continue to migrate to the united states with the highest estimate between 2005 and 2007. according to a pew research center report, the number of undocumented mexicans reese's highest in 2007 at a proximally 7 million people, an increase of
4 million people since the legalization program 20 years prior. although one purpose of irca was to stem unlawful migration of latinos, the opposite effect occurred. the lack of eligibility for beneficiary dependence within ir ,a was partly responsible family members said we joined beneficiaries in the united states living and working unlawfully. this community of beneficiaries joined the family based visa pool with their applications backloggan a long held that continues to this day. not as severe weight times that was in previous times. in effect, the lack of provisions for family members partly provoked this increase in undocumented population. others have noticed the increase in the undocumented population
was also in part to other issues, including the failure of subsequent immigration law reform to address u.s. labor demands. although it address the unauthorized implement of undocumented workers, there was not sufficient in suing implementing regulation to establish protocol for the identity verification system and employment documentation provisions of the law. it provided important legalization and work authorization for millions of workers, the majority who are latino. it also but in the motion decades of increased migration from those four countries. a trend that only recently has slowed. current latino migration trends and recent efforts of immigrant legalization programs illustrate the continuing of fax -- effects of irca. the numbers are held at a static number now and has declined since the height of about 12 million people in 2007.
that is what i just said. i'm sorry that you probably cannot see that the tales of this chart. this is a chart from the pew research center. just noting the pinnacle of undocumented immigrant population at 2007 and then holding static for the last two years. that number remains about the time in 2015 and has been declining. next chart, also from the pew research center, you can see pretty convincingly the migration of mexicans to the united states. again, it pentacles around early 2000 with some loss and then decline steadily in more recent years. number of drop in the
mexican immigrants to the united states, including those in the undocumented population at this time. since 2009, the research and reports and been an average of about 350,000 new unauthorized immigrants each year. of these, about about 100,000 are mexican. that is a much smaller share than in past years. up until about the mid to thousands, they represented about half of document immigrants. still the general demographic , data from 2012 for example suggests that 81% hail from countries with mexico accounting for a majority of that percentage and mexican immigrants continue to be the largest number of foreign-born people in the united states, both lawful and undocumented. what does that say about ircla legislation? it is clear that the undocumented immigrants currently in the west are less likely -- united states are less likely to be recent than in past decades.
instead many are likely those that joined the beneficiaries of the legalized population either the time of irca or in waves. again the pew research center , estimate indicates a number of undocumented immigrant adults that have lived in the u.s. release a decade has gone from 35% of the population of to 62% 2000 in 2012. only 50% of the undocumented population in 2012 with your for less than five years compared to less than 30% in 2000. they are here for decades. they become well established and children and family of their own. children who live they are born in the united states are united states citizens. estimates show that back in 2000, 30% of the undocumented adult population lived with u.s.-born children.
by 2012 the number was up to 38%. this is one example of the phenomenon of the next status family, meaning a family with some members having some sort of lawful status and others are in undocumented status. the obama administration's recent dacca program. -- would afford a measure of to parents of american citizen children that need eligibility requirements. this program it speaks to this issue of the mixed status family. to avoid deportation of parents who have been here for decades, likely working and eligible for dacca, the program would afford some measure of safety from immediate deportation. similarly for minor children who are here on undocumented status, perhaps they came for their undocumented parents are the trouble here to rejoin family,
or perhaps they came on their own. the obama administration created the dacca program, it would afford the children deferred action. that is not the same as permanent resident status but give the beneficiary is lawful status in the country and some at least temporary assurances of cash against deportation of long as they remained eligible. the program was an offshoot of the dream act. the dream act dream as it was proposed but never went anywhere. it failed for 11 years. the dream act would have provided a pathway to lawful status for certain young undocumented people. have they met certain areas of eligibility requirement. each of those programs that did rise to the level of legalization program of irca but
was born from the effects of irca and lack of subsequent provisions. in reviewing irca and going forward in creating possible new comprehensive immigration reform, it is imperative that long-term repercussions be considered. particular, the policy is not of the individual but often of the family. if we create pathways to open this golden door, which he spoke about last night and today we , need to make sure that the passage is wide enough or families and other beneficiaries. to quote reagan, "i have spoken of the shining city. i don't know if i ever quite communicated what i saw when i set it. but in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks
stronger than oceans. it was god blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with reports upon the commerce and creativity. if the head of the city walls, but walls had doors and they were open to anyone with the well and hard to get here." thank you [applause] >> you mentioned that the peak the undocumented number was 12 million and noticed that a 7 million. is that right? yes, now estimates are about 11 million. the peak of mexican immigrants was 7 million. just mexican undocumented. now it's estimated to be about 11 million. that is what it is now.
it is a hard number to necessarily know for sure because of the lack of documentation, but those of the current estimates. the trade-off for legalization was employer sanctions. it never worked. if you can explain why that program failed because it failed miserably. essentially it was the regulations and if limiting regulations were never fully borne out. it was a good idea but in practice nobody really thought through the details enough and that is a summary way to describe it. it became much more complicated to have -- had he verify identity -- how do you verify identity for example. they said it was simple to create fraudulent documents. there was no verification system
that can detect those things are happening. the idea was there but the limiting regulations were not. and he continued. we are still struggling with how to create some sort of documentation system that is effective. >> are there any statistics on the gender division between 11 million undocumented immigrants? >> that is a great question. i'm sure there are but i don't know the gender statistics at this point. i apologize. i don't want to give out an incorrect number. what i can say is that the people who are left undocumented
after irca, which was not that long ago, tended to be women. we have seen an increase in women. this is relevant in the agriculture industry in the last 30 years. if anybody remembers way back when in 2012 before senate bill that tried and tried but never did conference of immigration reform. it died in the house. it had something akin to irca , orl legalization programs at least this very complicated pathway to programs. some people say, although i read an article the critiques this some people say there was he that was paid -- head paid to women and this agricultural programming provision in 2012.
others said it wouldn't have done enough that women could qualify in the same way. >> i am taken with that marvelous quote of ronald reagan. could you tell the context and from the theme of the quote is -- did reagan continued to espouse an open immigration policy? >> he was a big champion of irca in 1986. he wanted that congress to pass it. he signed it with flourish and continued to talk about it up until the time he left office. it was a hallmark of his success of his administration. interesting for more contemporary times and people talk about what reagan meant.
over the with irca long-term effects we could quibble about. he was a champion of it. he was proud of having signs the provision. and of providing legalization to the 3 million undocumented people. yes? >> was in that statement wholly consistent with his speech before the berlin wall, for mr. gorbachev, tear down that wall, and politicians were not always consistent. >> there not? [laughter] >> this was strictly in line with his indignation of a wall preventing people, a population that wanted to cross the border from doing so. talking about if we had to have all, make sure they were consistent. -- major there were big enough.
i never thought about those two analogies. >> since you are talking about immigration of women, can you comment on the current numbers and some people say flaws of women and children who were crossing the border for the northern triangle right now? >> sure. it is interesting to use that word. my most recent article is coming out any day now hot off the presses. it talks about women and children and a particular have a government puts mothers and children in jail. immigrants in jail. and sort of this gender perspective of women. what i talk about, and i'm not sure there is a particular issue -- let me talk about what i talk about specifically. how our rhetoric of immigration
has changed so profoundly in the last 30 years. such that while we have whatever call perhaps the most rollable of people, mothers and children who are fleeing violence. and this is the way in which we respond to them. thefrankly they reach us in way they're supposed to be reaching us. that is what asylum law is all about. refugee law. it is interesting to note how even this sort of gender perspective of vulnerability doesn't say the person here. r the person here. thank you very much. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on