Just in time for Fabio’s proclamation of April as race month, sociologist Jacqueline Olvera has just published an article in Sociology Compass that might interest those looking for a state-of-the-field review of the interrelations among the state, undocumented migration, and the workplace:
“The State, Unauthorized Mexican Migration, and Vulnerability in the Workplace“
For the last 20 years, migration scholars have generated a number of important empirical insights about the ways in which the state, through the enactment of immigration policies, creates workplace vulnerabilities such as discrimination, harassment, wage theft, workplace raids, and the threat of deportation. Recent studies of illegality also examine the role of the state but do so in a way that explores what legal status means and how it is experienced in everyday lives of migrants marked as “illegal” by the state. This article reviews recent research that shows that the state operates in a gray zone of enforcement that puts migrants in ambiguous social spaces and heightens their vulnerability at work. However, research also finds that migrants find ways to exert their agency in challenging work environments.
This truly entertaining video is by comedian Steve Gerben. He took a lot of the basic economic research on migration and wrote a 30 minute act. Except for one forgivable error (he reads a regression table wrong), it is a really great away to introduce people to the idea that immigration is good.
It is my pleasure to announce events for Open Borders Day 2016. This year, we will start a week early. On March 9, there were will be a discussion with Lant Pritchett and Jeffrey Miron about liberalizing migration. This talk will be held at the campus of Harvard University. On March 16, Tanya Golash Boza will discuss her new book Deported: Policing Immigrants, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism at The Green Arcade bookstore in San Francisco. In Washington, D.C., Bryan Caplan will discuss open borders with migration critic Mark Krikorian at an event hosted by the America’s Future Foundation. Theresa Brown of the Bipartisan Policy Center will moderate the discussion. You can register for the Caplan/Krikorian debate here. Please keep an eye out for other events.
These events are free and open to the public. Consult the Open Borders Day website for details about times and locations. If you are organizing your own Open Borders Day event and would like it listed on the website, please send me a message. And of course, please feel free to share this announcement or link to the Open Borders Day website.
As of 10:45 pm, Hillary Clinton maintains a slim lead over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Iowa Caucus. In terms of absolute performance, Sanders fans should be happy. When all votes are tallied, Sanders will either win the caucus or lose by a very slim margin. That means that Sanders will continue. He’ll win New Hampshire and make it to Super Tuesday and probably win a few more states.
However, in terms of winning the nomination, this is tough for Sanders. The reason is that Clinton is the party’s candidate and about 45% of voters in the Democratic party are extremely comfortable with her. They will only defect in sufficiently large numbers if they see that she is indeed crumbling and they need an unambiguous signal. If 2008 is any guide, Hilary can reliably depend on 40% – no matter what happens. Even after it was abundantly clear in 2008 that Clinton did not have a reasonable chance at catching Obama in the delegate count, she still kept winning big states like California, Pennsylvania and Ohio – by large margins (but not enough to make up for earlier losses).
Adding to the problem for Sanders is that Obama’s strategy – maxing out caucus states – only works once. Clinton’s campaign simply wasn’t prepared for it and they weren’t prepared for a campaign that went beyond Super Tuesday. They are prepared this time, poorly perhaps, but prepared. The close race in Iowa shows it.
Here’s the bottom line. When you fight the party’s candidate, you need to seriously knock them down to break the view that they are invincible. Obama did that with a completely unexpected 8% victory. A near miss or narrow victory by Sanders does not do that, so it will be very, very hard to trigger a mass migration that needs to happen over the next month for a Sanders win.
What do we learn if we examine the history of Black presidential candidates? By my count, we’ve had three serious Black GOP candidates and maybe four serious Black Democratic party candidates. Among the Republicans, we have Ben Carson (2016), Herman Cain (2012), and Alan Keyes (1996, 2000, 2008). On the Democratic side, Barack Obama (2008, 2012), Carol Mosley Braun (2000), Jesse Jackson (1988), and Shirley Chisholm (1972). By “serious,” I mean actually had their names on the ballot in at least one state. I toss in Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign before the Iowa caucus, because he attracted serious attention in polls.
The first thing to observe is that serious Black presidential candidates are incredibly serious people. We have multiple Harvard graduates, a world famous brain surgeon, a US ambassador, a major social movement leader, and a fairly successful business executive. This probably reflects a selection effect. Since running for president is extremely expensive, Black candidates probably need to pass a higher bar than majority candidates.
The second thing you notice is that the GOP and Democratic Black candidates differ wildly in their relationship to the American political system. GOP Black candidates have almost no experience in electoral politics and Alan Keys had only one electoral victory in his career, the 1992 GOP senate primary in Maryland. He has never held elected office in his career. In contrast, aside from the presidential elections, Democratic candidates have scored two senate wins, multiple state legislature wins, and multiple House wins.
The third thing you notice is that the GOP has never thrown its support behind its Black candidates to the same degree as the Democrats. No Black GOP candidate has a won a state and Alan Keyes peaked at about 5% in the 2000 GOP primary. In contrast, the Democrats have often supported Black candidates. Obviously, Obama won the 2008 nomination by taking 29 states. Jesse Jackson won nine states and a few additional contests. Chisholm did not win states outright, she did receive majority votes from a number of state delegations at the nominating convention and in a non-binding vote, won New Jersey. Carol Mosley Braun is the only “serious” candidate who did not receive much support, even polling fourth in the DC primary of 2000 and then dropping out quickly.
I draw two conclusions from this history. Although political scientists have described African Americans as a “captured” constituency within the Democratic party, they are also still very influential. Candidates can emerge from that constituency and they can compete. In contrast, Blacks are a very small portion of the GOP and seem disconnected from the routine work of the political party. The second conclusion is that the disconnect between minority voters and the mainstream of the GOP is not rigid. Latinos are a small faction of the GOP and yet they’ve managed to field to two serious candidates in this cycle. It shows, in my view, that while the GOP is currently the nativist party, their is some variation in how that plays out.