The 2008 Report Card, Fifth Anniversary Edition, attends to environmental amenities, and also pushes into social dimensions that seem increasingly to capture the spotlight in the eight states included in this report: the role of immigrants, the challenge of affordable housing, the need to restore degraded landscapes, the continuing controversies over wildland protection, and the prospect of creating a long-term regional renewable energy boom. Edited by David Havlick; Project Supervisor, Walter E. Hecox (CC professor of economics); Editor, Layout, Christopher B. Jackson (CC class of 2006); Contibutor, Matthew K. Reuer.
Mexican-American immigration is positively related to Mexico’s macro and micro economic conditions. Empirical evidence shows that the effects of NAFTA are mixed. The trade policy raised the demand for skill by reducing rents in industries that previously paid high wages, increased FDI (foreign direct investment), increased Mexican-American trade and economic integration, and caused a reshuffling of unskilled wages in both Mexico and the US. These effects possess a positive relationship to geographical location and economies of scale, with northern states reaping the benefits of higher wages, more investment, and more trade. Although NAFTA was a step in the right direction, it has been overshadowed by the lingering effects of inflationary public investment. These policies inefficiently allocated resources in priority sectors and demographic shifts within the Mexican population. Neoclassical economic theory predicts convergence in goods prices across countries. This will lead to stable economic conditions for Mexico, thereby mitigating the push factors involved in Mexican-American emigration. Hypothesis: NAFTA significantly decreased immigration since implementation.
No two cities are alike: differences in demographics, such as ethnic populations, socioeconomic class, and population density can have extensive impacts on the city’s character and how citizens experience the area. This study investigates the effect of the different compositions of Colorado Springs and Denver on how the two Hispanic immigrant communities experience the assimilation and integration process. Hispanic immigrants form the largest ethnic communities in both Colorado Springs and Denver, and the two cities differ in several critical measures. Sample subjects were chosen through contacting personal contacts and Hispanic stores, restaurants, organizations, and businesses in Colorado Springs and Denver. The levels of assimilation and acculturation found in Denver participants were higher than those of Colorado Springs participants, and this study connects these differences with each city’s demographics. The higher levels of integration with Denver’s Hispanic community correlates with a larger population, less residential segregation, a larger Spanish-speaking and Latin-Americanborn community, a less conservative population, and more exposure to other ethnicities. Despite the differences, several similarities were found as well, including language-use, the participant’s well-being, aspirations for one’s self or one’s family, one’s perception of their identity, and the importance of family. This study also investigates the significant role of Hispanic shops and restaurants. The composition, characteristics, and demographics of a city can hold huge consequences for a city’s planning projects, economy, development, and, as this study investigates, a city’s character and community structure.
My thesis examines the role that think tanks play in the immigration policy debates. Drawing from Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of social space and fields of power, I critically analyze the space that immigration think tanks occupy and the influence they demonstrate with regard to their relational positioning in this space. According to Thomas Medvetz (2008:9-10), think tanks can be understood as an “organizational device for gathering and assembling forms of authority conferred by the more established institutions of academics, politics, business and the media” (Medvetz 2008: 9-10). By analyzing the intellectual products written by experts from five distinct think tanks, I seek to uncover the strategies, practices and propensities of each organization. This analysis allows for situating each organization in relation to each other. I also include in the analysis each think tanks unique orientation to the proximate locations of power. For my thesis, I examine a think tank sample that includes the Urban Institute (government contract model orientation); Migration Policy Institute (academic orientation); National Immigration Forum (economic orientation); Federation for American Immigration Reform (ideological orientation); and National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (grassroots orientation). By coding the policy-oriented publications of each think tank, I create a conceptual field through which I can visualize each organizations unique location in relation to each other. This field emerged out of positioning each organization on two primary axes: (1) the epistemological axis, which measures whether the legitimacy and/or authority of the intellectual products rest upon academic/scholarly/objective evidence or more upon a popular/narrative evidence and (2) the political rationale/axis, which measures whether the intellectual products on US immigration policy reflect a focus on its national impact or on a more comprehensive goal of internationally recognized human rights. I explore a third axis, which measures the interests that are being promoted (if any) in terms of business interests vs. worker interests. I conclude with a discussion as to which think tank is the most effective among the five and I explain why I think their particular characteristics put them in their particular position such that they have the greatest potential to influence immigration policy.
Eric Popkin, associate professor of sociology and director of the Partnership for Civic Engagement at Colorado College, and Hector Suarez, (CC class of 2004) and program coordinator of the Pikes Peak Immigrant and Refugee Collaborative, discuss immigration reform, which emerged as a hot political issue in Colorado for the 2006 election year. Recorded March 14, 2006.