Law professor busts myths about U.S. immigration policy
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Law professor busts myths about U.S. immigration policy


[ MUSIC ] Denise Gilman
My name is Denise Gilman. I’m a clinical professor of law, here at the University of Texas Law School. I teach the Immigration Clinic, which is both a classroom experience for the students, as well as a practical experience. We deal with a range of cases, individuals seeking asylum in this country, who are fleeing persecution in their home countries. We handle matters of individuals who have lived for many, many years in the United States, but who have not been able to achieve any regularized status here. We handle cases, even of persons who were born abroad, but who have claims to the United States citizenship through United States citizen parents, and they may not even realize that when they come into contact initially with immigration authorities. We also deal a lot with individuals who are detained by the immigration authorities. Many of them, especially women, at a facility just 45 minutes from Austin, here in Taylor, Texas, the T. Don Hutto facility. We help them try to achieve release from detention and also represent them sometimes in the merits of their cases. These are all cases, for the most part, that are being heard by an immigration court in San Antonio, Texas, and the students actually do the hearings before the immigration court, again, under the supervision of the faculty. [ MUSIC ] Of course there’s a long history of migration in the United States. Initially, in our country, there really were no immigration laws. If you could arrive here, you had arrived and were an immigrant to this country. Over time, some laws were put into place, but those were mostly laws of exclusion. Prostitutes and drunkards, at various times in our history, had been categories of people who would not be allowed to immigrate. Now the case is that you have to, for the most part, be a very close relative of somebody who already has permanent resident or citizenship status here, or if you fit into the small group of people who can claim asylum, who are fleeing persecution. Or you may come if you are a particular type of laborer, of worker, who can immigrate through an employer seeking to have you come to the United States, and then there is a small category of people who are allowed to come through what is called “The Lottery.” Only a very few people have the ability to immigrate through work or through family, and even then, the wait times are extremely long. For the average case of an individual from Mexico, who has even a United States citizen child living in the United States or a close family member, we’re talking 10 years, because there are quotas on the number of migrants in each group who can come legally each year. And for the larger countries like Mexico, there’s a huge backlog. Many anti-immigrant advocates ask why people don’t just get back to the back of the line, and why they don’t just immigrate through lawful means. And what is very important to understand is that there are not any lawful avenues for many, many immigrants, including those, for example, who have some family here. This idea that people just come here to have anchor babies, and then to get their own status in that way and just bring their entire family. Well, in fact, even if you have a baby here who is a United States citizen, that child cannot petition for their parents until they’re 21 years old. So it’s not a very effective and quick way of immigrating, if that were the intention. [ MUSIC ] People immigrate to the United States because they’re fleeing persecution in their home countries. They are fearful for their lives and for their well-being. Some people come as young immigrants, as children, and the decision there is really made by their parents. People come for work. They come to make a life for themselves, fleeing extreme poverty often and sometimes natural disaster. And also many people come to the United States, seeking to reunite with family members. In the world, the statistics say that only about 2 percent of our world’s population migrates. Now, that’s not to say that the U.S. isn’t a large receiving country, and that there aren’t countries that are larger sending countries than others. It’s not an equal distribution across the world. But the point is that people don’t leave their home countries at the drop of a hat. This is a very important decision that people make, and it’s usually made only for very serious reasons and at great risk to the individuals involved. [ MUSIC ] Corporations want migrants in this country. That is clear because they are a crucial source of labor, and it seems that largely who’s advantaged are the corporations who can depend on the cheap labor, who can keep their production costs low, pass some of that along to the consumer, but also reap a lot of that in terms of profits. Most corporations are in favor of a relatively liberal immigration policy for that reason. They’re not the ones, interestingly, who are suggesting that immigration flows should be decreased. Food, our clothing, might be more expensive if it weren’t for immigrant labor, so long as the law is set up in a way that makes that labor very cheap, which is by making it unlawful. And so you’re talking about a handful, at most, of employers who are sanctioned or even brought up for possible sanctions in any particular year. Meanwhile, for migrants, what it means is that they are not authorized to work. They will still often find employers who will hire them. But they are placed in an extreme situation of disadvantage, in terms of advocating for their labor rights or even for a lawful wage, because of their vulnerability as individuals who don’t have authorization to work and who could be deported. There’s a very strong argument that if migrant workers were granted more rights and more visibility and more protection in the workplace, it would really be to everybody’s benefit, because wages would increase both for American workers and for migrant workers. Might it mean some rise in the price of food? Perhaps. And perhaps that’s the cost of making sure that American workers are protected. [ MUSIC ] The walls around the world have been shown largely to be ineffective at the goals they claim they are set up to promote, which is usually goals of impeding unlawful, irregular immigration and impeding terrorism, national security. It’s not that they’re ineffective in the sense that they don’t have effects. They have huge impacts on people, both people living in those areas where walls go up, whose land may be forfeited to the government for construction of a wall, who may be separated from the other half of their community, which ends up on the other side of the wall. The walls also have huge impacts, particularly in the United States, in shifting migration flows in a way that does not prevent irregular migration, but instead forces migrants to go over increasingly difficult and dangerous pathways. So, in the United States, for example, those segments of the wall that have been built up have forced migrants to go through extremely difficult desert terrain to cross. They’re not refusing to cross. They’re not declining in numbers, at least not because of the border wall. But they’re just going through more dangerous areas, and hundreds of migrants have died crossing. The border wall is actually just small segments of wall, intermittent segments of wall, so in addition to the fact that it has been and can be easily breached, it really, by merit of its design could never serve its purpose. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, who supervised much of the construction of the wall acknowledged, in fact, that at most it would prevent migrants from crossing for a couple of minutes. Probably the main kind of central reason the wall is ineffective is that migration flows don’t have to do with walls and physical barriers. They have to do with opportunities or lack of opportunities. And so government numbers do actually show that irregular migration has decreased in the last two or three years, some of which period predates the border wall, and the government report suggests that it’s probably because of the economy. We’ve spent already $2.6 billion just to construct these little segments of border wall. Of course, that leads one to wonder whether our immigration policy is best served by putting up walls and deporting people, or if it’s best served by thinking about the situations that people are facing in their home countries. [ MUSIC ]

52 Comments

  • Goru Minosyan

    The AZ law is just another ineffective way of dealing with our broken immigration system!

    The only way we can fix out immigration System is through Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

  • haitipi

    Gilman ,makes her fame and fortune helping others get around the law. It took me 7 years to get my lawful wife, mother of our 3 American born children her green card. While waiting, she did not work, drive, collect benefits in accordance with US Law. So why couldn't we just cheat? No liberal treasonous groups to lobby for us.

  • BoxGuy1951

    @Strider395 – Yes I think that whatever profession that YOU are in is the only profession that any ILLEGAL ALIEN should be allowed to take and only until YOU are dead from starvation , your family seperated form lack of finances due to unemployment and have watched as your house and belongings are foreclosed upon and sold off and until you are imprisoned from being a vagrant. That should do it for me .

  • kmg501

    Yeah all those hundreds of thousands of American workers who see their jobs first hand lost to illegals must all be lying and this fine upstanding liberal telling the truth.

    /sarcasm

  • Antitheist98

    @kmg501 Look up lump of labour fallacy.
    We aren't liberals. Far from it. We are economically literate (which is why we aren't liberals) people who are familiar with immigration laws.

  • PacificCircle1

    @SpeedOfDark186Kmps Ever here of the 'Great recession'? How about job exported to China?
    My situation is from bad weather for crops, and a popped housing bubble!

  • PacificCircle1

    My dad's parents were working the Texas ag field due to the international 'Great depression', when my dad was born. Not buy design, but the sponsoring of family was taken advatage of. The 'anchor baby' myth is semi-true. Legal by the law!

  • PacificCircle1

    More grave demenor will carry more weight – got's to reach those uninformed on the 'fence' – I know how the Right thinks – used to be one.

  • Kerthialfad Baru

    gilman claims immigration to the US is very hard, but all other counties are harder. So what is it? Seems like the US is the most tolerant nation of immigrants.

  • MikieDaC

    "Comments may be held for uploader approval."
    It's rather un-american to censor responses on a public posting…don't you think?
    Very well, since critical thinking skills aren't allowed…Have a Nice Day!

  • ibringthereals

    Corporations exploit cheap labor, so why would average citizens support such a thing? Corporations lobby to destroy unions for better wages, and hire indentured employees. Voters are responding to getting RIPPED OFF by a labor scam, a common scheme or plan to lower everyone's living standard, except corporate profiteers.

    Defending a liberal immigration policy that amounts to minting second class of citizens is profoundly wrong and immoral. Equal rights or none!

  • EebstertheGreat

    @ibringthereals
    You clearly completely misunderstand the argument. She made two points regarding corporations. The first is that most corporations benefit from a larger population in general (she makes the point that there are more workers, and of course there are also more consumers). The second is that for a few companies, the opposite is true (prices would go up), because they currently exploit ILLEGAL labor to pay far under minimum wage and entrap employees through blackmail.

  • Henrik Fischbeck

    I want to know how i can bring my wife into the us, as an US citizen (born in Norway) i have never lived in the USA, Im 20 year old, and studing, so I can not support my wife while we move to the USA.. I want to live in the USA, how can i get around the income-problem?

  • warlord801

    In 1952, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, which expressly authorized the president to suspend the immigration of any person, class of people or group of people into the United States for public health, public safety or national security reasons… 1965 immigration and nationality act DO NOT over ride this!!

  • Peter Miller

    lies and propaganda from the left. ask those in silicon valley who lost their jobs to immigrants. ask those who worked at disney that were replaced by immigrants and forced to train them in order to receive their severance packages. ask the millions who work in the trades who have been replaced by immigrants and it goes on and on. this man is either a liar or a fool.

  • Trevor Sedis

    Can any man enter Denise's body…inviting his buddies to do the same…if he is human, loves children, seeks a family, and is willing to do what most Americans won't?

  • Thad Horner

    Prof. Gilman makes it sound like only a few legal immigrants make it here each year due to the various hurdles that legal immigrants have to deal with. Actually the US takes in well over a million legal immigrants each year. And here's what happens if we adopt her "Surrenderist" policy: your grandchildren will live in a nation of 600 MILLION. Watch this video from Numbers USA to find out the details:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-IsingvI_I

  • Red Pilled Artist

    The Hungarian wall has cut immigration almost completely. She is an immigration lawyer seeking clients….why are American taxpayers and workers responsible for conditions in other countries? It's not like we can control what our government does overseas these days.

  • Leslie Lang

    Children are not coming to work. Children are not high skilled workers. So Why are parents sending their small children unaccompanied to the border? Of course corporations want illegals. They can pay much less. Many of them get paid under the table. If you want to live in someone else's country then you have to do it legally. That's it.

  • Chuck Rosenthal

    Regarding the anti-ICE protests: "Congress shall make no law……………or abridging the freedom off speech, or of the press, or the right of the people PEACEABLY to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," Notice anything that's a little off here? Like the word PEACEABLY? When anti-ICE, AntiFa, BLM, etc., get violent, it's time for three hots and a cot.

  • MrRoadster100

    (1) The reason the waiting list is so long for Mexican petitioners is that they are already vastly over-represented from so many years of heavy immigrating. She knows that but purposely didn't say it.
    (2) True, the child cannot petition for its parents until adulthood but the family also cannot be forcibly removed because their child is an American citizen.

  • X X

    IF there is no lawful method, THEN they don’t belong here. And if they want to be with their offspring, take them with when they go home.

  • X X

    This woman representing the university of Texas has left out one important thing all of the criminals and drugs that come across the border with the migrants

  • Kelly Owens

    We allow more legal immigration than the rest of the world COMBINED every year, and over the history of this country. She is a propagandist, and apologist for illegal-aliens. She doesn't give a sh*t, about the 100,000 americans who have been killed violently, by criminal ILLEGAL ALIENS (with no legal right to even be in the US) since the year 2,000, ALONEl. She's too busy telling sob stories about, and painting happy faces on greedy economic migrants, and selfish foreign nationals, who have forced their way into our country, against our wishes. The rampant anti-americanism in the left is cruel, and a disgusting evidence,
    of the worst form of entitlement. This COUNTRY, the USA, does not belong to the radical open borders LEFTISTS, and pro-illegal-alien zealots. IT is NOT theirs to just give away.

    KOut

  • Paul Rice

    Just close the border, lock 🔐 it down. The only thing that should cross that boarder should be butterflies 🦋 and birds 🦅

  • Wynette Greer

    There are too many people here now,. Too many on welfare, then there’s health care, and education, our schools are crowded

  • Adelina Armas

    You never mention how many come and live on the tax payers of the us. There should be a law that when you migrate to the us you cannot ask for government assistance of any kind for the first 7 years this insures us citizens that you are here to make a better life for you and the us citizens

  • Rick Ashmore

    Hey Ms. self-righteous attorney, Until you get title to this country, then you have no right to give it away or sell it out. See "Gumballs" – Roy Beck, on Youtube. What will this country be in 2025 when we have 600 – 700 million people. I guess you think resources are unlimited. You are disgusting!

  • Japan Eternity77

    Never touches the consequences….and how wrong it is…the number that would have rights due to this and that is in the billions…so imigration is a lie that is pushed to solve poverty in the world…it only leads to replace the etnic people that experience it. .and that she is not interrested to point out..

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4FNM0tPm_U

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