Criminalization of Immigration

By Issues in Science and Technology, Special for USDR

In the cover story for the Fall 2016 Issues in Science and Technology, Harvard University sociologist Mary C. Waters contends that the problems of mass incarceration and undocumented immigration have created legal forms of oppression that, although not formally racist, have a disproportionate impact on African American and Latino communities in the United States. In order to bring ex-felons and undocumented immigrants into the formal economy, Waters argues forcefully that we need a social movement not based on civil rights—having legally excluded former prisoners and the undocumented from civil society—but on the human right for social inclusion.

A path to the middle class—precisely what America’s exclusionary policies preclude for ex-felons and undocumented immigrants—is the subject of a special editorial package on middle-skill jobs. Essays by Alicia Sasser Modestino, Jonathan Rothwell, Bianca K. Frognerand Susan M. Skillman, and Andrew Reamer explore the skills and jobs that can create a high-quality labor force and boost economic productivity. The pieces include an overview of the parts of the economy where technical skills are becoming ever-more necessary; a close look at the ways that technology is transforming job requirements; a deep dive into the rapidly evolving health care industry; and a call for better information to help both workers and policymakers make informed decisions.

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