Immigrant Justice Interest Group



Volume 51 Number 1 
Winter 2018

Immigrant Justice

Edited by Fabricio Balcazar and Kevin Ferreira

New Immigrant Justice Interest Group

Written by Fabricio Balcazar, University of Illinois at Chicago,

I am pleased to announce the creation of a new interest group on Immigrant Justice at SCRA. The group was created after the last biennial conference, where a group of SCRA members organized a symposium to discuss immigration issues and strategies for action. I am co-chairing the group with Kevin Ferreira, a graduate student from Boston College. The group addresses the interests of many members to become more proactive on issues related to immigrants here in the US and Europe. This is an opportunity to call for action at the national level (advocating for policy changes regarding immigration issues), and State and local levels (encouraging members to engage in pro-immigrant activities and/or services at the local level, offering a forum for members to share their activities).

The purpose of the interest group is to promote advocacy action related to immigration policies. Most of these policies are being supported by APA Public Interest Directorate and shared by the APA’s federal Action network and Public Interest Committee. We are concerned about the status of DACA individuals and their uncertain future. If their needs are not met, what are going to be the actions to protect them? How are we going to organize at the local, state and national levels? Similarly, recent decisions by the Office of Homeland Security and ICE to eliminate the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for thousands of families from Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan and possibly Honduras are going to generate similar needs to protect and/or shelter these families from deportation.

The US Department of Homeland Security reported a 45% increase in the number of family units from Central America (7,018) detained at the Mexican border in November compared with the previous month. The number of unaccompanied minors was up 26% that month too and there were a total of 39,000 immigrants detained at the Mexican border. For these reasons, they are now discussing proposals to separate families in detention from their children, and to arrest and deport the families of unaccompanied children arriving at the border. Migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala represent the majority of families and children detained at the border, with many telling agents they fear for their lives if returned to their home countries. These three nations have some of the highest rates of homicides and gang-related violence in the world. The proposed policy changes are placed as a deterrent to migrants considering coming to the United States.

These are just some of the current issues we are facing here in the US. Similar challenges are being presented in several European countries with the rise of extreme right-wing movements there. We do not have specific plans for action, but we want to collect input from the members of the group with regards to future actions and related activities. We hope to coordinate at least 3 webinars next year on immigration-related topics that will be open to all SCRA interested members to participate. We hope to remain in contact with the APA policy office with regards to future calls for action. We are also planning to develop a proposal for a SCRA policy statement with regards to DACA and are in the process of coordinating with a group of interested faculty and students. We will be sending announcements in the SCRA list serve about future conference calls and calls for action.