Inaugural event in UCI's 50th Anniversary Academic Symposium Series
The opening evening session will feature two dynamic journalists who have spent much of their careers writing about immigration for broad audiences in two iconic immigrant metropolitan areas in America—New York and Los Angeles.
Welcome Remarks: UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman
Introductory Remarks: Rubén G. Rumbaut
Moderator: Louis DeSipio
In announcing his executive actions last November, President Barack Obama quoted from scripture: "We were once strangers, too"-- a dictum familiar to scholars of American immigration. As the late Harvard historian Oscar Handlin wrote: "Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history." This panel focuses on the historical contexts surrounding contemporary immigration with a particular emphasis on the post World War II era, including the passage of the 1965 Act. Since 1900 the twists and turns of immigration policies and border surveillance have had dramatic impact on transnational families from Asia and Latin America. As an example, though overlooked in most U.S. history textbooks, the mass deportation and repatriation drives of Mexican immigrants and their U.S. born children during the early 1930s effectively removed an estimated one-third of the Mexican-origin population in the United States. This rupture would be ironically followed a few years later with the bi-national recruitment of Mexican male workers under the bracero or contract labor program. These types of legacies that marked the "worthiness" of newcomers as desirable workers and potential citizens haunt today's debates.
Welcome Remarks & Moderator: Vicki L. Ruiz
Moderator: Susan Bibler Coutin
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Professor Suárez-Orozco (formerly of NYU and Harvard) is an internationally known commentator who places contemporary U.S. immigration within a global perspective. A few of his published works include Learning in a New Land: Immigrant Studies in American Society; Latinos; Remaking America; and Writing Immigration: Scholars and Journalists in Dialogue.
Part One: The Great Expulsion
As we look to the future, we must consider the impact of recent law enforcement trends that have focused on expelling immigrants. These trends include militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, new collaborations between immigration officials and the criminal justice actors at the state and local level as well as recent local and state exclusionist initiatives, and the dramatic growth of detention centers. Along with rising deportation rates, we have witnessed an expansion in the range of criminal convictions as well as the federal prosecution of immigration violations that used to be addressed through administrative law. What are the long-term implications for the individuals, families, and communities torn apart through these policies? Have these policies reduced crime, as their proponents contend? Will these trends continue or be reversed? To what degree do these policies legitimize racialization, denigration, and stereotyping of immigrants in the United States? This panel considers these and other related questions.
Moderator: Annie Lai
Part Two: The Politics of Citizenship
Stiffened border enforcement efforts have been accompanied by rising immigrant activism, from the historic 2006 immigrant rights marches, to the DREAMer movement, and to the formation of new coalitions designed to bring about immigration reform. What new conceptualizations of citizenship and belonging are such groups formulating? How is the political environment changing? What are the implications of the fact that new forms of relief have taken administrative rather than legislative form? Will U.S. society remain divided along lines of legal status? What measures are state and local governments adopting to integrate immigrants? To what degree are politicians increasingly feeling compelled to take immigrants and immigration into account and why? Are there sustainable solutions to the challenges created by the structural inequalities and political violence that underlie migration itself?
Moderator: Susan Bibler Coutin
Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies and Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Fellow, National Academy of Education and American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society and Associate Dean, UCI Graduate Division
Professor of Political Science and Chicano/Latino Studies and Director, UCI Center for the Study of Democracy
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic