Tag Archives: research

Study: Global Migration Boosts Economy

A new study by the Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI), a department of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) finds that the migration of people from their birthplace to an alternative country is greater than ever before and helps build up a strong global economy,

Publish in the Jerusalem Post on September 09, 2008:

According to the statistics collected by CIMI, which worked together with the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, there are currently 192 million immigrants worldwide, some three percent of the population.

In addition, the study found that the global flow of people to different nations creates surprising economic benefits and generates roughly $315 million worldwide a year.

“In contradiction to widely held opinions that immigration is a financial burden on a country, even experience here in Israel shows the benefits new immigrants can have on a nation,” said Arnon Mantver, JDC-Israel’s director-general and Chairman of CIMI.

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Menstrual Blood Banks – Viable?

It turns out that scientists, from a culture that derides the menstrual cycle of women, have discovered that ‘period blood’ is “a good source of stem cells…that can develop into any nine different types of cells, including heart, lung, nerve and muscles.” So now, there are talks of ‘banking’ menstrual blood.
The full article is here.

The article says ‘Unclean,’ which denotes ‘menstrual.’ Are the men skirmish yet? I don’t think the biological dichotomy between clean and unclean blood is why the headline screams ‘UNCLEAN’ blood–clean blood is supposed to carry oxygen from the heart to other areas of the body via arteries whereas unclean blood is usually found in veins and carries ‘by-products.’ A Biology major can clarify, but in the article headline, ‘unclean blood’ is ‘unclean’ simply because it is menstrual blood. In other words, it has little to do with any artery/veins dichotomy and more to do with the fact that ‘only women bleed’ if I may borrow those Alice Walker song lyrics.

HA! I wonder how popular this news would be if men had periods. In all likelihood, it would make CNN, Fox, MSNBC headlines, spur all sorts of discussion and pride amongst men about how they are ‘natural saviours,’ give birth to a whole new ‘menstrual bank’ industry, and maybe even knighthood for the men who bled the most. Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get what I am trying to say. If you don’t get what I am trying to say, Gloria Steinam says it better here.  Alas, if you search for this news piece on “Google News” only one newspaper carried report of these findings–the Times of India.
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Thinking too much can make you 'fat' …

Thinking Too Much Can Make You Fat

I cannot believe that popular media still uses the word “fat” to denote “overweight” or “obese.” It is scientifically incorrect to use the word “fat” to describe a person whose Body Mass Index is much higher than average.

There is something else about this study that makes no sense to me–how many “fat” scientists, engineers, brain surgeons and geeks do you know? Somehow, my head visualizes ‘geniuses’ as thinner than average, which the article does concede as true at some point: “consuming fewer calories leads to sharper brains and longer life.” So the people with sharp brains–do they not ‘think’ and consume more calories? Or are the ‘smart people’ of the world actually couch potatoes who never use their brains? The entire study sounds like a disaster in circular reasoning waiting to happen.

I think what continues to amuse me is how capitalism works to create profits from one phenomenon only to turn around and profit from the ‘opposite’ of that phenomenon. For example, first, it was the ‘fast food’ industry with high calorie and convenient (unhealthy) foods that has contributed to ‘obesity’ in most developed and developing countries. Now the very people who have been consuming these ‘foods’ for so long are sold gym memberships, diets, supplements, organic and healthier foods to ‘lose weight’ and keep fit. I am not going to be shocked when the powers of profit-making co-opt the ‘slow-food’ movement either.

The same applies to fossil fuels and oil corporations. If you pay attention, you will notice that the giant oil corporations of today are buying out the patents to renewable energy. In the near future, expect these polluting powers to continue to exercise monopoly on our energy needs.

Excuse me, all this thinking has me hungry. Now where are those weight loss shakes…

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Filed under Neo-Liberalism

Are Your Hospital Emergency Rooms Full of Illegal Aliens?

Fox News would like you to think so as would The Examiner and countless other anti-migrant sites that we won’t bother mentioning here.

Alas, a new study by the Public Policy Institute of California proclaims,

Medi-Cal patients are more likely than uninsured or privately insured Californians to visit hospital emergency departments for conditions that could be treated in a clinic or doctor’s office.

And (drumroll, please)

immigrants are not crowding the state’s emergency rooms – in fact, foreign-born Californians who are not U.S. citizens are among the least likely to seek treatment in the ER.

Whites More Likely to Seek Emergency Room Care than Hispanics or Asians
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Ontology, Space and Radical Politics

The Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space Research Network invites you to:

Ontology, Space & Radical Politics, 4-5 August 2008

August 4th: Radical Politics Today, Community Forum

Long Beach Public Library, 101 Pacific Avenue, Civic Center Plaza, Long

Beach, 90822, 6-8pm

Panelists: Gilda Haas | Strategic Action for a Just Economy, Los Angeles; Laura Pulido | American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California; Goetz Wolff | Harry Bridges Institute, San Pedro & University of California, Los Angeles

Moderator: Jon Pugh| Director, The Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space Network & Geography, Politics and Sociology, University of Newcastle

August 5th: Ontology, Space & Radical Politics, Workshop

Karl Anatol Center, California State University, Long Beach, 9am-430pm

Speakers: Nigel Thrift | Vice-Chancellor, Warwick University; Edward Soja | Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles; Lawrence Berg | Geography,

University of British Columbia; John Paul Jones III | Geography and Regional Development, University of Arizona; Sallie Marston | Geography and Regional Development, University of Arizona; Keith Woodward | Geography, University of Exeter; Liz Philipose | Women’s Studies, California State University, Long Beach; Mary Thomas | Women’s Studies & Geography, Ohio State University

Moderator: Deborah Thien| Node Director, The Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space Network & Geography, California State University, Long Beach

For further information about these events, or to reserve workshop space, please contact Deborah Thien at dthien@csulb.edu.

Flyer available in PDF format here:


or here: http://www.csulb.edu/colleges/cla/departments/geography/faculty/thien/

Please circulate widely, with thanks.

Deborah Thien, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

Book Review Editor, Emotion, Space & Society

Node Director, Spaces of Democracy, Democracy of Space

California State University, Long Beach

Telephone:         (+1) 562-985-7072

Email:                dthien@csulb.edu

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Assimilation makes you fat and other facts – Reject "Assimilation" Part 2

In the study, researchers examined information on more than 13,000 New Yorkers from all five of the city’s boroughs, who voluntarily had their height and weight measured. The data, collected at community-based health centers and hospitals between January 2000 and December 2002, was used to calculate each person’s BMI.

For Hispanics, whether the neighborhood is largely English speaking or not is an important predictor of body size. The less English spoken in a neighborhood, the less weight gain occurs, according to researchers, whose findings appear in a recent issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

“Simply put: the longer an immigrant lives in the U.S., the heavier that immigrant becomes. Scholars theorize this weight gain as due, in part, to acculturation ­ the adoption of U.S. diet and physical activity habits,” said Park. “Although in the popular imagination, acculturation is thought to be a positive factor for immigrants, in many arenas of health, acculturation has been shown to have a negative effect.”

The new study supports earlier research that found that weight gain is most consistent and significant among Hispanic immigrants to the U.S., who face a particularly high risk of obesity and attendant health problems even when socioeconomic status is taken into consideration.

The link to the study can be found here. I wish journalists would clearly cite the actual source of study because oftentimes it takes a while to search and find it and only the most interested users bother to go to the source of information.

I can actually attest to this sparingly, since the study only seems to hold true among Hispanic immigrants and I am not. I gained about 40 pounds since I started residing in the United States without any changes to my height or level of physical activity. I have shed about 15 of those down to 115 in the past year after getting more health conscious, but the point is that Americans do consume foods with higher calories. And the more we “assimilate,” the more we tend to consume “American foods” on the go instead of ethnic, home-cooked meals which are generally and broadly-speaking, healthier. I don’t think the morale of the story is that we should hide out in our own ethnic enclaves–but that mirroring American consumerism and diet is the wrong way to go.


Supporters of cultural assimilation beware–Encouraging and pushing for assimilation i.e. “English-only” can be contradictory. According to the research of Tomás Jiménez, an assistant professor of sociology at UC San Diego:

That efforts by opponents of illegal immigration to stamp out the ethnic identity of immigrants and their descendents, and to emphasize assimilation, backfire… Nonimmigrant Mexican-Americans who were already largely assimilated feel a closer connection to their Mexican identity when they see it as under attack.

“People who feel the country is fractured by ethnicity may be doing more than anyone to harden ethnic identity,” he said.

The study holds up when compared to conflict theory. When a minority culture faces attack from the dominant culture, it resists or pushes back.

While we are on the topic of assimilation and “illegal immigration,” is it not strange that the biggest proponents of assimilation are also the ones that prevent avenues for immigrant assimilation–Studies show that being undocumented is a barrier to assimilating.

As Duke University economist Jacob Vigdor explained in The Washington Post: “If you’re in the country illegally, a lot of the avenues of assimilation are cut off to you. There are a lot of jobs you can’t get, and you can’t become a citizen.”

Therefore, if we want our immigrants to assimilate, should we not ensure that they have the necessary institutional support to do so? Otherwise, it is ridiculous to expect migrant workers to speak American-English.


One last note. Americans DO NOT speak English but a bastardized version of it. Over the past decade, my English has actually deteriorated. I used to be a spelling bee champion and nowadays I let the Firefox browser correct my spelling. Same goes for my grammar. It is not correct to say “Who are you going to the movies with?” but rather “With whom are you going to the cinema?” Besides the error of ending in prepositions, I use way more passive language than I used to — we used to be graded down for “passive usage.” Most Americans have no idea as to what that means! Anyway, I am no fan or supporter of any “pure language” theories so the deterioration of English does not bother me. What does bother me is this:


Lets learn to speak English first, eh?

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Filed under Ethnic Studies, Immigration, Racism

Undocumented Immigrants and Crime – Dispelling Myths

Kyle asked via email whether there are any studies which show that undocumented immigrants commit less crimes than American citizens. The one study we should be familiar with is the one from IPC last year, which is here. This was the summary of their research:

  • At the same time that immigration—especially undocumented immigration—has reached or surpassed historic highs, crime rates have declined, notably in cities with large numbers of undocumented immigrants, including border cities like El Paso and San Diego.
  • Incarceration rate for native-born men in the 18-39 age group was five times higher than for foreign-born men in the same age group.
  • Data from the census and other sources show that for every ethnic group, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are least educated and least acculturated.

There is also one from this year (2008) –
Immigrants and Crime: Setting the Record Straight <http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/index.php?content=fc080313a> (Immigration Policy Center – March 2008) – Dispels myths about immigrants and criminality.

Washington-based nonprofit Immigration Policy Center, found that on the national level, U.S.-born men ages 18-39 are five times more likely to be incarcerated than are their foreign-born peers. And, while the number of illegal immigrants in the country doubled between 1994 and 2005, violent crime declined by nearly 35% and property crimes by 26% over the same period.

One 2005 study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Michigan found that immigrants actually commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens.

Another study, which examined data from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that among men aged 18 to 39, the incarceration rate for native-born citizens is five times higher than for the foreign-born individuals. This held true within ethnic and national-origin groups; native-born Latinos, for example, were more likely to be incarcerated than foreign-born Latinos.

A more recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California  is limited to California but also focused on all immigrants. The report summary follows:

Immigrants are far less likely than the average U.S. native to commit crime in California, according to this issue of California Counts. For example, among men ages 18-40 – the age group most likely to commit crime – the U.S.-born are 10 times more likely than the foreign-born to be in jail or prison. Even among noncitizen men from Mexico ages 18-40 – a group disproportionately likely to have entered the United States illegally – the authors find very low rates of institutionalization. Such findings suggest that longstanding fears of immigration as a threat to public safety are unjustified.

The PPIC even determined that on average, between 2000 and 2005, cities such as Los Angeles that took in a higher share of recent immigrants saw their crime rates fall further than cities with a lower influx of illegals.

While we can win the arguments using the data sets from the studies above, the bigger problem is media and public perception of “illegal immigrant.” Usage of “illegal” as a noun functions as prima facie evidence of “criminality” for most people. We have to counter the false perception that “illegal presence” in this country is a crime–it is NOT.

Secondly, even if there are high rates of institutionalization amongst undocumented immigrants, we can turn to sociological premises and studies. A great analogy can be drawn with the case of African American males — just because they make up the majority of our prison populations, does not mean that African Americans are bound to be “criminal.” Rather, it points to the racism in our criminal justice system, socio-economic conditions such as poverty and lack of opportunity.

Similar conditions apply to Hispanic populations in prisons. Here is another great sociological paper countering the mythology of Hispanic immigration and crime. It is almost a decade old but the premises of the study still hold.

The USA also has the highest rates of incarceration in this country and with the rise of the migrant-prison complex (increased crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, detentions, border security), the focus is indeed on jailing immigrants for profit.

The following is from http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org/ referring to the incarceration of undocumented immigrants:

1. The government doesn’t keep statistics on the breakdown of
documented and undocumented immigrants.

2. The 270,000 number is probably an estimate. If so, it’s probably an
estimate of the number of undocumented immigrant prisoners *during the
course of the year.* The 2.1 million figure is the prison population
on a give date, like 12/31/05. You can’t compare the two numbers.

See these links for more:



If I find any other relevant studies, I will update this post.

More resources

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