As the Herbert Kurz Chair in Constituional Rights, each year I have the pleasure of putting together public programing around the theme of constitutional rights. In 2012, we took on NYPD's controversial Stop and Frisk policy. Last year, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, we tackled school desegregation. This year, we investigate the politics of immigration, a subject that has been described as the "new third rail of American politics."
Individuals and groups as diverse as the NAACP, Mark Zuckerberg, Al Sharpton, MALDEF, SEIU, the Chamber of Commerce, and many others including leading CEOS in the Silicon Valley have loudly called for comprehensive immigration reform. Zuckerberg has said that immigration is the civil rights issue of our time. All feel that the system is profoundly broken and is harming individuals and families, and also puts U.S. businesses in an uncompetitive position. In the summer of 2013, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive and bipartisan immigration bill. The initial elation quickly evaporated when the House failed to follow suit and openly stymied the process. The immigration reform effort was declared officially dead in the summer of 2014. Was immigration reform always mission impossible?
To address that question and related ones, I am convening a round-table of prominent immigration scholars who study immigration in historical context. Common to all the participants is that they believe why something happens in American politics is often explained by when it happens. These scholars are adept at drawing insight from our immigrant past to explain our present.
WHAT: Round-table on the politics of immigration and citizenship
WHEN: Thursday, October 16, 4:30-6pm, with informal reception to follow
WHERE: CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (@ 34th St.), Sociology Lounge (Room 6112)
WHO: The participants are prominent immigration history, law, and public policy scholars.
As moderator, I have asked the participants to take 3-5 minutes to address what aspect of our immigrant past best illuminates our current situation, and then we will immediately open the floor to audience questions.