Sharper Focus/Wider Lens: A World on the Move: Refugees, Migrants and Immigrants

Sharper Focus/Wider Lens: A World on the Move: Refugees, Migrants and Immigrants


– Good evening, thank
you for joining us for Sharper Focus/Wider Lens. My name is Cynthia
Jackson-Elmoore and I’m the Dean of the Honors College, and
we’re excited to have you with us this evening, both
those here in the auditorium with us, and those
joining us on live stream. A couple of public service
announcements before we begin, first I just want to let you
know that myself, personally, I will have to get up a couple of times. It will not be because
the panelists have said something that has enraged
me, I just need to get up, so you may notice that. Also, we wanted to tell you
about some upcoming events that may be of interest to you. Thursday, February 16th,
at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 19th at 1 p.m.
there will be an event at the Wharton Center called
“Among the Darkest Shadows,” and it says “Through the
powerful lens of theater “and dance, playwright
Jose Cruz Gonzalez tells a “stunning tale in the
style of magical realism, “weaving the concept of
magic as commonplace, we come “to know two victims of 21st
Century human trafficking, “Lodi and Pinta.” And it goes on to tell you more. If you’re here in the
auditorium, you may see these on your seats. I encourage you to take them with you. And then our second
Sharper Focus/Wider Lens of this Spring, “Transforming
the World, the Power of “Imagination,” which will be
7 p.m., Monday, March 27th again here in the union
and also on live stream. On this evening, we’re
examining a world on the move. Refugees, migrants and
immigrants and who would have known, when we picked this
topic, it would be so timely and important? So we’re glad that we’re
able to join the conversation on tonight, and I would like
to thank those representatives from the alumni association
who are here to assist us with the live stream,
and also acknowledge Stephanie Seapack* and John
Beck, who are our partners in imagination for
Sharper Focus/Wider Lens, and ensure that we always
have amazing opportunities available for you. I will introduce the
panelists, and then they will just go in order. I should warn you that they
never have as much time as you would want them
to have, and we do that intentionally because our
goal is not to answer all the questions, rather,
to raise the challenges and engage in a conversation,
and we really do want to invite you into that conversation. So on this evening, Anna
Pegler-Gordon will be speaking with us, to my very far right. She is an Associate
Professor of Social Relations and Policy in the James
Madison College, and also Director of the Asian Pacific
American Studies Program here at Michigan State University. Her teaching and research
interests include immigration, race,
citizenship, visual culture, and popular culture. At James Madison College,
she has taught courses in Asian American History,
Immigration Policy, Comparative Race and Ethnic
Relations, and U.S. Racial and Immigration History. She has received
fellowships for her teaching and research, including
national awards from the Organization of American
Historians, the Japanese Association for American
Studies, and The Immigration and Ethnic History Society. She also received The
Teacher Scholar Award here at Michigan State University,
as well as an intramural research grant and a
Lilly Teaching Fellowship. And she earned her doctorate from the University of Michigan. To her immediate left,
David Thronson is Associate Dean for Experiential
Education, and a professor in the College of Law. He is the co-founder of
the Immigration Law Clinic, and also served as Associate
Dean for Academic Affairs. His research and writing
seeks to develop frameworks and critical perspectives for
analyzing the intersection of family and immigration,
with a particular focus on children. He currently serves on the
National Inter-Agency Working Group of Unaccompanied Children, and his past governmental
appointments include service on the Nevada Supreme Court’s
Access to Justice Commission, the Nevada Law Foundation
and the Nevada Governor’s Commission for National
and Community Service. And he earned his Juris Doctorate
from Harvard Law School. In the center of our panel,
we have Sophia Koufopoulou she’s a fixed-term faculty
member with the Department of Sociology, and this
semester she teaches International Development
and Refugee Crisis, Social Stratification,
and Family and Society. In 1989, Sophia was one of
the very first Greek scholars to pursue in-depth field
research in neighboring Turkey, through which, she explored
and developed and described and explained how individuals
and families, both Greek and Turkish forcibly
relocated through the terms and conditions of the
1923 Treaty of Lausanne, preserved their identity
through the remainder of the 20th Century. Since 2003, Sophia has led
MSU’s Contemporary Culture, Politics and Society in
Greece and Turkey Study Abroad Program, which has served
over 600 MSU undergraduates that have both traveled,
lived and studied in both Greece and Turkey. Most recently, she was
invited to participate on the European Union Government
of Turkey-sponsored project, Women on the Move, Refugees
in Turkey, where she spent time in Turkey visiting
refugee camps on the Turkish/ Syrian border. She earned her Master’s
Degree from the University of the Aegean. Stephanie Nawyn is an
Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology,
and the Director of Academic Programs, Outreach and
Engagement for the Center of Gender and Global Context. Her research and teaching
areas of expertise are in gender and immigration, with a focus on forced migration, exclusion
and social inequality. Since coming to Michigan
State, Stephanie has conducted research on community
development among immigrants, and the importance of
social networks and social capital to immigrant and
refugee incorporation, as well as the
socioeconomic advancement of African-born immigrants
in the United States. Through a Fulbright
Fellowship in Istanbul, she studies the trafficking
of migrants in Turkey, focusing on trafficking in
sex and other types of labor. Currently she is working
on the vulnerability of Syrian refugees to trafficking in Turkey. Stephanie earned her
doctorate from the University of Southern California. And to my immediate right, is Johanna, Johanna? – Yo-hana. – Johanna Schuster-Craig, an Assistant Professor of
German and Global Studies in the College of Arts and Letters. Her research looks at
German integration policies which aim to incorporate
the immigrants and refugees into the nation. Johanna uses field work
methods with social work organizations in Germany,
to observe how local residents negotiate these policies. She earned her doctorate from Duke. Each of these individuals
have been instructed to not worry about connecting
their talks to each other, but simply to present their point of view. That means it lies on me
to make the connections. Normally, that would be a good thing. Tonight, I’m feeling
a little sorry for you because my brain’s not on
100%, so I’ll do my best and hopefully it’ll work, but
if we miss any connections, I trust that my collaborators
out in the audience will find the points that we missed. And with that, I will
turn it over to Anna. – Okay, is this, can you hear me? Great. So thank you so much for
inviting me here to speak. And thank you, everyone, for coming. As Dean Jackson-Elmoore
mentioned, I am an historian, so my work is about the past,
but I work in the present. And in this presentation, I
want to make some connections between what we have seen
in the past and what we’re seeing in this historical
moment, particularly the three executive orders that
were issued in the first week of Donald J. Trump’s presidency. And those three executive
orders, as I’m sure you know, concern the
border wall, and border enforcement, deportation,
and interior enforcement, and then the travel ban, the
Muslim ban that’s received a lot more attention than
the first two, but in fact the first two are really
a little bit more what I want to focus on today. So the first thing I want
to say is that in many ways this is nothing new. Americans have always been
ambivalent about immigration. And Americans have always
been ambivalent about, and against, certain groups of immigrants. And the groups may change,
but Americans’ division about immigration, and we
do see that division today, it’s not just one story, right? We see both sides. Americans’ division about
immigration is part of the American tradition. The U.S. tradition of
immigration is not only that America is a nation of immigrants,
and it most certainly is, but it’s also that it is a
nation of some immigrants some of the time. And I’m sure you’re
familiar with this history, the way that English
immigrants expressed concerns about new German immigrants
right in the founding of the nation. Benjamin Franklin was
concerned that they would Germanize Pennsylvania instead
of becoming anglicized, and that they would not
adopt the English language or culture any more than
these swarthy Germans could acquire, as he said, “our complexion.” English and Germans came
to think of themselves as Anglo-Saxon Americans. And these Anglo-Saxons then
expressed concern about new Irish immigrants. Savage Celts who were unfit
for democratic government. And this is actually
vividly on display in the basement of the Broad
Museum at the moment in an exhibition “The Wearing
of the Green,” which I highly encourage you to go see. And then the Irish, especially
in California, legitimized their own presence in the
United States by opposing the immigration of Chinese
and other Asian immigrants. They claimed that Asians
were undercutting American wages and that they were
culturally inassimilable. And one thing that actually
does happen at this moment in the 1870s in the
Asian Exclusion Movement, is that there was a key
shift from just opposing the poor quality and limited
assimilation of existing immigrants to actually working
to prevent their immigration. So, as I said, the U.S.
tradition of immigration is not only that America is a nation
of immigrants, but also that it is a nation of some
immigrants some of the time. And one place where we can
see this ambivalent tradition, the inclusionary and
exclusionary tradition, is at Ellis Island. And this is my current
research, is actually focused on Asians at Ellis Island. So as many people know,
Ellis opened in 1892 and it was the largest U.S.
Immigration station, and it is, even today, an iconic
symbol of immigration. During the peak years of
immigration from the 1890s to the 1920s, more than 600,000
immigrants entered the United States, on average, each year. And well over 400,000 of them
came through Ellis Island, so more than two-thirds. Ellis Island was the central
location through which most immigrants entered,
because it was the U.S. Government’s first border control station. It was designed not to
let immigrants in, but to keep some immigrants out. And if we think about the
recent Executive Order on the border wall and
border enforcement, I would argue that Ellis Island is
itself part of that tradition. Prior to 1875, there were no
restrictions on immigration. Everyone who came to the
United States came legally because it was impossible
to come illegally. But from 1875 to 1892,
when Ellis Island opened, the U.S. Government issued
laws to prevent the entry of Chinese immigrants, coolies,
criminals, prostitutes, lunatics, idiots, paupers,
poor immigrants, polygamists, contract laborers, immigrants
suffering from loathsome or contagious diseases,
and those convicted of misdemeanors involving moral turpitude. These laws needed to be
enforced, and Ellis Island was built for that purpose. Immigrants were taken to
the station to be questioned about whether they met the
new requirements, and to be checked for signs of
mental or physical illness. Now, only between one and
three percent of Ellis Island arrivals were rejected
during this time, but it’s important to remember that
this border enforcement station was built to
prevent the entry of those unauthorized immigrants. The second part of the
recent Executive Order on building a wall instructs
the Secretary of Homeland Security to “immediately
construct, operate and control “detention facilities along the border.” This is also paralleled in
the history of Ellis Island, whish was not only a border
enforcement station, but also a detention center. Typically, during the
peak years of immigration, about 15% of immigrants
were detained for brief periods of time while their
cases were being reviewed. However, after the 1920s, when
new restrictions banned all Asian immigrants, and
prevented the entry of almost all Southern and Eastern
European immigrants, as well as actually just
reducing the overall number of immigrants that were allowed
into the United States, Ellis Island stopped
being used primarily as a border enforcement station,
and became a detention and deportation center. Now most histories today
don’t acknowledge this past at all. They focus only on the iconic
Ellis Island, one history of the station, and it’s very
typical of histories that I read and that you may have
read states that “After 1924 “immigration slowed to a
trickle and Ellis Island fell “into disuse. “It was closed in 1954.” And I love the passive voice there. “Immigration slowed to a
trickle,” we didn’t actually pass laws to prevent people
from coming, it just slowed to a trickle. However, during this time,
Ellis Island’s role was well-known and widely acknowledged. The station had dining and
sleeping accommodations for up to 2,000 detainees. And especially in the 1930s,
when deportation was massively expanded, it was common
for these facilities to be filled overnight. And in my research on Asians
at Ellis Island, I learned, it was interesting to learn,
that there were actually separate dormitories for
white, Asian and, in the words of the time, colored detainees. In 1936, Harper’s Weekly wrote
that “Almost no immigrants “go through Ellis Island in person. “Only their records are filed there. “The island is America’s
chief deportation depot.” In the 1940s, the U.S.
Coast Guard reported that “Contrary to a popular idea,
Ellis Island is not used “as an immigration station. “It is a detention center.” Perhaps the clearest
example of this came during World War II, when
Japanese, German and Italian enemy aliens were interned
for months and even years on the island. And the New York Times wrote
that “Ellis Island has a “concentration camp of its own.” Now, these are only brief
glimpses into the ambivalent tradition of Ellis Island,
but they help us see the ways that it is not only an
iconic symbol of America’s inclusive immigration
tradition, like America itself, Ellis Island also has a
hidden history of border enforcement, detention, and deportation. I started by saying that in
many ways this historical moment is nothing new. That Americans have always
been ambivalent about immigration, and Americans
have always been ambivalent about and against certain
groups of immigrants. But I do believe there are
ways in which this moment is new. And I’m going to turn to
my colleagues who focus on the contemporary moment,
to explore more about the issues that we face today. Thank you. (applause) – I want to talk about a
situation we don’t talk about often enough, which is the
flow of refugees coming to our borders. And by that I don’t mean
people showing up at airports, the Syrians, where we’ve
had massive protests at airports around the country,
where people have turned out for people who are stopped
under one of the current executive orders and they
have shown great support and pushed for the entry
of people into the United States in that situation. We, geographically in this
country, are quite removed from some of the places
that we think of as the big refugee-producing
regions of the world. It’s hard to get here from Syria. It’s hard to get here from Somalia. It’s hard to get here from Pakistan. And we can all show up at
the airport where people are coming in on planes. But closer to home we have
current refugee flow that people don’t talk about enough. And these are refugees
coming from Central America. Coming on foot, hitching
rides on trains, finding their way with smugglers
to our borders and across our borders into the United States. And this is happening now,
it’s happening regularly. And the characteristics
of this flow of immigrants have shifted over the last several years. The biggest groups coming
to this country are unaccompanied children. 60,000 children almost,
59,000 and change, came to our borders unaccompanied,
separated from any adults, any parents, any support. And some of these are older
teens coming of their own volition, maybe looking for
family members or parents in the United States to reunite with them. Some of them are just looking
to get out of horrible situations back in their home countries. Most of them are coming
from what we refer to as the Northern Triangle,
Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Three countries in Central America. Murder capitals of the world. Places where gangs have strong
power and look to recruit young people as they’re coming
into age and young women are recruited into gangs. There’s incredible violence,
incredible lack of a rule of law, so that young
people look and say “I have “no life here. “I’m going to face persecution if I stay. “I’m going to be killed if I stay. “It’s time for me to go, I’m
going to go and seek safety.” And part of why we know that
that is true is people who are on the ground. This is not some faraway
place where we wonder what’s going on, this is a place
where people go and see and witness what’s happening. We also know that that
journey is not benign. I don’t know if people saw
the Super Bowl commercial. I didn’t watch the Super
Bowl, but I watched the commercials about the immigrants, right? And one of them had a mother
and a daughter getting up and “today’s the day!” And a nice, happy journey
to the United States. Very upbeat. If you go to the website,
the door opens, there’s the wall and the door
opens when they get there, and they’re welcomed in. That’s not the experience
that young people traveling on their own from Central
America have coming to the United States. This is not a safe journey,
children die along the way. They’re injured, they lose
limbs falling off trains. And they’re sexually
assaulted, they’re robbed, they’re beaten, they’re
trafficked, and all kinds of awful things happen. But they’re coming because
what they left behind is worse. They’re making that choice
and saying this is the logical choice for me to come here. Now, we hear sometimes,
and I don’t know if you all hear about that journey,
about La Bestia, the train. Sonia Nazario was here,
talking about her wonderful book, Enrique’s Journey,
earlier this year. And we think about what’s
happening in that situation. But what we don’t hear
about is what happens when they actually get here? What happens after they
reach the United States? Because part of why we have
this group, in particular, coming in large numbers,
is that smugglers are good business people. And if you smuggle an adult
into the United States, they don’t want to get caught. They’d like to get in. If you smuggle a child
into the United States, you get them across the
border, and you leave them. And then you wait for
someone on the border patrol to come and pick them up. And they’re gonna pick them
up and they’re gonna put them in custody. And then we start this long
journey, and this long process where children are sorted. Of many different ages. We check, where are they from? Are there family members
back home they can be sent back to? Are there family in the
United States they can be released to? If there’s not family,
is there a family friend? Is there someone we trust? Were they traveling with
another person and we can send them along with that child
to connect with their family? Where can we put them? If we don’t have a place
to put them, we’re going to put them in a foster care system
here in the United States. Now, this sounds like we’ve
got to focus on how are we going to care for this child? And on one hand, we do. Right? We say, well how are we
gonna make sure that this child is put in a setting
where they’re not, where they start, which is in a
locked-down detention center. That’s where these kids
start their experience with the United States. The door doesn’t just
open, they’re detained, they’re in jail. And they’re held while
this process goes on, and then they’re released
if we can find someone to release them to, or to a program. But while this process
is going on, we’ve got a parallel process going
on, which is to deport them from the United States. They’re served with a Notice to Appear. Just several days ago, we
got a new memo from the Executive Office of Immigration
Review, the office that oversees our immigration
courts, which reaffirmed that children who are in
these custody situations remain an enforcement priority. So when you hear about
enforcement priorities in this country, that’s not just
the hardened criminals, the so-called “bad hombres” out there, right? Children who arrive in this country are an enforcement priority. Designated as such by our government. And they’re put into removal proceedings. And in that removal
proceeding, the government has a very easy burden: they
charge, this is a child who is not a U.S. citizen. The child is present in
the United States without a visa or other piece of
paper that says that they’re allowed to be here, they
don’t have any right to stay. They’re deportable. That’s almost always true in these cases. The starting point is, these
children are deportable. They arrived without status. But then they need to make a claim. How are they going to
be permitted to stay? Can they claim asylum? Can they claim that they’re
a victim of trafficking and therefore entitled to some relief? Can they claim a form
of relief called special immigrant juvenile status,
which allows them to navigate through our
family courts and get some relief and some findings
made that permit them to get some immigration status? Now the remarkable thing
about this journey where children deal with
representatives of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE,
CBP, Customs and Border Protection, deal with
representatives of HHS, the Office of Refugee Resettlement. They deal with officers of
the Department of Justice. ICE trial attorneys from
Homeland Security, immigration judges from the Department
of Justice, and all through this process, they don’t get a lawyer. You can be four years old,
and you don’t get a lawyer. You have a right to an
attorney, but no one’s going to provide one for you. And so we have this process
where, on one hand, we’re saying yes, we’ve got
children, we’re going to try and treat them as children,
we’re going to try and provide for care for
them, but then we’ve got all the power of the United
States Government lined up to say how do we prove
that this child’s deportable and we’re gonna send them back? How are we gonna make sure
that we’re doing everything we can… the amount of resources that
we put into a system that seeks to deport children is phenomenal. And yet, the one thing we
don’t have in that system is an attorney for the child. I’ll stop there, I’m out
of time, and I think we’re gonna turn to Europe. (applause) – I think tonight is the
night of the hard truths, and also at the same time, sad stories. So, my presentation today
is about the current refugee crisis that the Island
of Lesvos experienced and still experiences. And I have a short movie,
which I will not show because of the time restrictions,
but I strongly recommend to you if you have two minutes,
go to YouTube or Vimeo and watch it. So, how do refugees come to Lesvos? And I’m taking the example
of Syria, because during the Summer of 2016, according
to EASO, the European Asylum Office, there
have been recognized 70 different nationalities
that they were asking for asylum in Greece. So in the case of Syria,
according to UNHCR, we have, it is estimated that there
is a number of 35,000 people that they are involved
into the smuggling of Syrian refugees to Europe. And you can see that orange
island, this is the Island of Lesvos. The closest shores of Lesvos to Turkey are 5.6 Nautical miles. So there are different ways
that they come, either at the beginning on foot and then
by buses, or during 2015, they were leaving to Mersin
by boat and then by buses to Izmir and then one night
the smugglers they put them in many buses, they
lead them to the shores, and then they put them to
those plastic boats that I’m sure you have seen them
in the news, that they are usually designed to carry
12 people, but actually they put as many as they can. If you would think that
every head is $1,000. Now, how I did this research,
I started as a volunteer during 2015 and then after
the crisis continued, I decided to work also as a researcher. Already we discussed about my
affiliation with the island, and obviously from my
accent I’m native Greek, and I am an immigrant to this country. I came in ’93. What is the methodology that I have used? Fieldwork, interviews, I used
statistics from UNHCR mainly. And also I have at the end
I will say that my overall approach is serendipity
and auto-ethnography. Key concepts. There are several key
concepts that I will use. I will not discuss them now,
because I don’t have the time, but what I really would
like to share with you, it is the chronicle of the
refugee crisis in Lesvos and then answer to the
question, why Lesvos is an island of solidarity. From January to March
2015, we have in an average of 800 people that arrived to the island. And this they were viewed by the locals as the wanderers, if we will
use Yurik Zimmer’s term because they were arriving,
they were walking through the streets, they were
going to the camp, and then after they were getting
their papers, they were getting in the first boat
to go to Athens, and then go to Europe through the
route of the Balkans. Then from April to August
we have the huge numbers that they started to arrive. We are talking about from
3,000 to 7,000 people every month. Immediately, the locals they
started to react, mainly in a positive light. We have a lot of individual
acts of kindness, for example, people are eating in a
restaurant and they see a bunch of people walking, they
immediate invite them to eat with them, or they open
their houses and we have repeated examples that
they opened their houses during the night and they
bring 40 people to sleep in their house, because
they feel sorry about these families. But at the same time, we have
the local non-governmental organizations that they
started to do certain things much more organized. By August 2015, what the
British call “Cucumber time,” it is the time that the
media, the international media catch the situation in
Lesvos, and it is at that time that we have the first arrival
of independent volunteers. Meanwhile, already UNHCR,
IRC, they started to arrive from the end of June, but
really they didn’t do a lot of things, they were trying to settle in. By September that movement
started to become bigger. We have the arrival of massive
numbers of the outsiders. And I use again the term of
Zimmer, because this is how those independent or even
INGO members, they were viewed by the locals. I will explain a little bit why. Now the Greek Government
was very supportive to the refugees at the beginning,
but after a certain point, it was obvious that things
started to change in Europe. And this is where the Greek
Government invites the other political parties
from the Parliament to come together to a common decision
of how they will handle the refugees. And finally we have the
European-Turkish Agreement, which has been heavily
criticized and denounced by all the international
organizations, including UNHCR. But still, what the
European-Turkish Agreement did, it created a lot of paradox. So you have a family that the
father arrives on the 19th with the sons, and after
the 20th, if the mother and the girls will arrive on
the 21st, they immediately are detained into a camp. So the same family, you
have half of them free and half of them closed in the camp. So, still that European
agreement stopped the numbers of the people that they
were arriving in Lesvos. So in some weeks, especially
during the June, we had an arrival of 25 or 30 people. But it was the Turkish coup
that changed everything. I put it in quotations
because, for a lot of different reasons, I can answer to
you if you are interested, but it is the Turkish coup
that actually changes these numbers and suddenly we
started to have bigger numbers, but at this moment, the
numbers, the nationality of these people are mainly Africans. And with the help of Stephanie,
will discuss about Turkey, we will figure out why Africans. What is the situation now? They are viewed by some of
the Greeks as strangers, but the important thing
that these refugees, they consider themselves as wanderers. In other words, they don’t
want to stay in Lesvos. They want to leave Greece. They experience the economic
crisis that the Greek people have. I have some numbers here,
and I have a lot of different pictures to understand how
was the Port of Mytilene between 2014 and 2015, where
Mytilene has a population of 25,000 people, 20,000
people, refugees, they were staying in tents in the Port of Mytilene. Now, why Lesvos is the
Island of Solidarity? It has to do with the
island’s social history, both refugee and migration experience. Let’s not forget that the
island was connected with the modern Greek State in 1912. We have a huge population
of Asia Minor Greek Orthodox that they moved there because
of the Lausanne exchange of population. Secondly, perhaps this sounds
to you strange, because history has taught us that
in moments of Greek economic crisis, everybody tries to
support himself, and everybody becomes more individualistic. Actually in this specific case,
it worked in the opposite. People were felt, locals
they felt very happy for what they had, the roof that
they had under their head, and the bread on their
table, and they were willing to share it with these people. The important role of
different grassroots movements. The government, which was
very supportive at that time, and believe it or not, the
local mayor, despite the fact that he belongs to a
right-wing anti-immigrant party. There are more ideological
reasons that created Lesvos as the Island of Solidarity
that I can discuss with you because my time is over. But one sentence, I think
that this presentation is more than ever important
because of what is happening in our country nowadays. Thank you. (applause) – Thank you all for setting
me up here for a great talk. Thank you for inviting me,
and thank you all for coming. So I’ll talk a little bit more
about the Syrian refugees, but kind of more broadly about
my background and research I’ve done with refugees, in
the U.S. as well as in Turkey. So Syrian conflict, everyone
has heard about this now. It’s produced the largest
refugee population since World War II. Frequently referred to as
a refugee crisis, advocates rightly point out that it
is a crisis not of refugee migration, but of states
that are unwilling to provide sufficient protection. Globally, we think of
super-governmental organizations like the United Nations
High Commission for Refugees as managers of these refugee
flows and assistance, but it’s states where
the power to help or hurt refugees really lies. States have been the dominant
institutions for ensuring the rights of people, but are
of course implicated in the creation of this category
of people we call “refugee.” It’s the failure of the
given state that produces the refugee in the first place. But in the process of
projecting refugees from the failure of that state,
then another state needs to step in to ensure that
person’s, that refugee’s, rights. However, it’s common
for other states to fail in that regard as well. We’ve seen play out in stark
relief with many states in the EU refusing to
allow refugees to enter, and/or failing to protect
them once they’ve entered the boundaries of the state. And we’ve seen this most
recently in the Trump administration’s Executive
Order barring refugees from entering the U.S.,
even those that have already been vetted and awarded proper visas. And if you would like to
know about the extreme vetting we already put
refugees through, I’ve written about this, lots of
people have written about this. I’m stunned at how, when
you ask someone who thinks the process isn’t secure
enough, you ask, well, what do you think would
be a secure process? And they inevitably describe
a process that is less secure than what we currently
have, because people don’t actually know what we do. As Professor Pegler-Gordon
pointed out, this is not a new phenomenon. The creation of the UNHCR
was itself in many ways an attempt at addressing
failures of states, and much of the work of the UNHCR
continues to be trying to get states to simply meet
the obligations of protection to which those states
themselves had agreed. This is, in fact, the
source of the so-called refugee crisis. Large flows of refugees
across a nation state border over a relatively short
period of time will inherently create challenges, but it
only becomes a crisis when the receiving state refuses
to provide protection to those refugees, and other
states refuse to provide minimal or provide no support
to the receiving state in providing protection and assistance. So, within this gap of
protection that’s left by states, NGO’s have moved
into the space between refugees and rights, becoming
a conduit for refugees to access the rights
that they have on paper, which they are otherwise unable to access. I focused my work on
social citizenship rights, which I think are
increasingly important in the advancement of neoliberalism,
and also provide, the social citizenship rights
provide an underpinning to other types of rights and citizenship. What I mean by social
citizenship entails the rights to be in a state and to enjoy
the resources of that state. While not having political
rights, such as the right to vote in elections,
refugees can still have social rights, such as the right
to a public education, the right to subsidies for
food and housing, et cetera. Social citizenship rights
have deteriorated for all of us under neoliberalism
as states have withdrawn from providing social citizenship rights, and have increasingly
left it to the free market to provide those rights. So in other words, what
the state used to provide to people as a benefit
of being a member of that state, we now increasingly
have to pay for privately as individuals. The Flint Water Crisis is
a pivotal example of this, in which the residents of Flint
cannot rely upon the state to simply provide safe,
clean drinking water through the pipes that the
state owns and controls. And instead, they must
purchase clean water privately. Refugees have felt the
erosion of social citizenship perhaps most acutely,
because citizens of a state use refugees’ foreignness
or their lack of political citizenship to argue
against refugees’ access to social citizenship. And this is why NGO’s have
become critical to filling the social citizenship gap. In the United States,
NGO’s serve as an important mechanism for refugees to
access resources of the state. This includes everything from
securing a place to live, obtaining various forms of
documentation that you need for absolutely everything,
to enrolling their children in school. In some places, where the
state is much weaker than it is in the U.S., NGO’s
are the only possible source of resources. Dr. Breanne Grace’s work
demonstrates how some Somali Bantu refugees who have failed
to receive adequate resources in Tanzania, Tanzania gave
them legal citizenship, they’ve instead abandoned that
citizenship in Tanzania and have moved back to Somalia, a
country with virtually no government, in order to
avail themselves of resources provided by the international NGO’s that are operating there. She calls this “NGO citizenship,”
and I expect we will see more and more examples
of this type of citizenship as states either fail or
refuse to take on social citizenship obligations
to individuals within their boundaries. I want to give some
examples from my research, both in Turkey and the
United States, in how NGO’s have served as conduits
for social citizenship, highlighting some of the
particular problems with the androcentric way in
which rights are ensured, and how refugees have
circumnavigated these problems as they attentively pursue
social citizenship rights. So I’ll start with Turkey. There are nearly 3 million
registered refugees in the country of Turkey. That’s 3 million registered,
there are a lot more that are not registered. And to provide some context
for that, imagine that in the United States we had
about 50% more unauthorized migrants than we do right
now, they all entered the country within a period of five
years, really three to four, and almost all of them
are absolutely destitute. That’s what’s happening
in Turkey right now. In 2014, the government
of Turkey implemented the Law on Foreigners and
International Protection with the intent of regularizing
temporary protection of Syrians, and giving them
access to certain resources of the state, including
the legal right to work. And Sophia had made some
reference to me talking about Africans. I didn’t actually have plans
to talk about Africans, but I will say that the Law on
Foreigners and International Protection has provided one
set of rights for Syrian refugees and a different
and lesser set of rights for non-Syrian refugees. And this has kind of mirrored
other refugee policies where Syrians, because of
their large numbers, have been sort of privileged
within the hierarchy of refugees, and no surprise,
the black market on Syrian passports has skyrocketed. So somewhere between a
third and a half of the Turkish labor force works informally. So many people in Turkey
who are citizens are not able to work in the formal
labor market, so providing formal labor rights to
Syrians has not provided a legal pathway to self-sufficiency. Consequently, Syrians
frequently work in highly exploited situations, and
most experts agree that situations meeting the definition of human trafficking are common. There are many Syrian women
who are unable to leave their homes because of the
significant care responsibilities they have for young children
or infirm family members, and those without male family
members that can go out and work are particularly vulnerable. There aren’t good data yet
on what happens to these women without male family members. But there are whispers
constantly about these women doing sex work in their homes. An act of desperation so
shameful, that it’s difficult to get women to admit
that they’re doing this, and thus difficult to
provide them with help. The situation is further
exacerbated by a weak civil society that is not
capable of advocating for rights of Syrians beyond
what the Turkish state already provides. The Government of Turkey,
generally, is pretty hostile towards, I
shouldn’t say hostile, very tight-fisted about allowing
international NGO’s to enter the country. It’s very difficult, and
once they get there, they have to be very careful
about being adversarial with the Turkish Government. And the United States,
by contrast, has a large and well-developed civil
society with a long history of NGO’s partnering with
the government, and we don’t limit labor force
participation of immigrants, we require it. And with refugees, we
require it fairly quickly. Like in Turkey, there’s
minimal state resources available for refugees. In order to access social
rights and resources, you have to purchase them. The U.S. can more consistently
provide things like schooling for refugee
children, but most other resources under neoliberalism
are very privatized. Kin and ethnic ties often
fill the gaps for NGO’s both in the U.S. and in Turkey. A few Syrian women in our
study in Istanbul have found money-making ventures
through sympathetic Turkish women, who are often the
wives of the landlords or the handymen that work in the building. But again, these
opportunities come by accident and good fortune. There’s no real way, right
now, to regularize them having access to any sort
of money-making ventures that are safe and not exploitative. So in sum, NGO’s are
filling the citizenship gap left by neoliberal states
that seek to minimize their obligations to
refugees, but the gaps are not completely filled. NGO’s have not been perfect
replacements for states, not just in terms of
political power, but in the resources that they’re able to provide. I want to say that many
people in this room are probably doing many things
for refugees, volunteering, providing assistance,
providing social networks, providing material aid. You should keep doing
that, it is impactful, it’s important, but it’s also no
substitute for the state, which can provide not only
more complete assistance than we all can as private
citizens, but can provide the legal protection that
really is undergirding refugee assistance in the world. Thank you. (applause) – So this is an incredible
panel of people to sit next to and talk to you about,
and I must confess, after hearing all of their talks,
I am slightly concerned about my tone for what I
will be presenting to you, but I’m starting also to
think, given what appears in my newsfeed every day,
that maybe laughing at the absurdity of the situation
might be a revolutionary act. (laughter) So, here goes. I am always interested, in the
kind of research that I do, in what happens after
the moment people move. So what happens after
you’ve settled somewhere? How do you cope? How do you deal with what
brought you to a new place? Now, Germans often talk about integration. They have a whole host
of public policies called integration politics, and
this is supposed to represent a whole host of policies
and discourse and networks that bring people,
incorporate people into the German state. Here is how they define that. Supposedly, you don’t
have to give anything up if you come to Germany and you integrate. You do have to integrate. The Germans see that
as a long-term process. Their goal is to
incorporate everybody who’s there legally so that there’s no gaps, and by integrating, this
makes it possible for you to participate in society. And in order to do that, what
they demand of immigrants is that you learn German,
you learn the German Constitution, that’s a
huge task, given that the Germans don’t have an actual
Constitution, they have a basic law, so I’m not
sure why they put that in the definition (audience laughs) and then you have to learn
how to respect and follow the letter of the German law. So that raises the
question, well, how does integration happen? Sounds reasonable, right? Well, it is different in
different places and I’m gonna switch in this
presentation between Germany and Switzerland because they
have some similar policies and some similar language,
and so here’s a picture, actually, from a Swiss
campaign to make integration easier, and to make naturalization easier. (audience laughs) So if you are integrated
in Switzerland, you qualify for easy naturalization
and I guess that that means that you vote, you’re
a white woman who skis, and you eat fondue. (audience laughs) I am being a bit of an
ass, if I can say that on the live stream. But you get the gist. Integrating into Switzerland
means that you do Swiss things. Now, what does that mean in Germany? I’m gonna show you a
one-minute clip from the first comedy, told you it was
revolutionary, the first comedy about German Turks in Germany. It came out in 2010 and it’s called “Almanya: Welcome to Germany.” And this scene is at the
very beginning of the film. There are two elderly German
Turks, probably in their early 70s, Hussain and
Fatma, and they are getting ready to naturalize and become Germans. And how does this play? Not that way. That way, there we go. (audience laughing) (audience laughing) – Good, we got some of that steam out. So Hussein just wakes up
after a bad dream where becoming a German means
that you have to eat pork, you join a rifle club and
you watch German crime dramas every weekend. I’m showing you humorous
satires because I really do think that that’s the
best way to illuminate some of the tension underlying
integration policies and integration politics. Now it is great and
necessary, I really do believe it’s necessary, to create
some type of policy which allows newcomers to
participate in and have access to civic and cultural life
of whatever nation they have settled in. You have to learn a new
language, you need to have access to citizenship,
you need to have access to gainful employment. I’m so glad that the United
States demands this of refugees because that’s
the motor of integration in scare quotes. These are the values of many immigrant and settler societies. Where there’s tension is
when, rather than advocating for participation and
access, integration starts to become coded as cultural assimilation. And so I brought some
pictures from Germany about how this happens. I’m going to show you some
collections of images that show some common cultural tropes. The first one, Germans are
very proud of their Autobahn, where you can ride without speed limits. Sigmar Gabriel, who was the
Foreign Minister of Germany apparently told Donald Trump
this when he met with him last week, he was the first
German official to come to the United States, told
him how great Germany was, and these signs say that
they want immigrants to take the right exit. They want you to go towards
integration, they want you to go away from exclusion,
from parallel societies, or for isolation. You know anything about
Germany, you also know they love soccer. Soccer will save us, as
long as we all play on the same team. It’s beautiful pictures
of a very diverse group. If you want to learn more
about soccer and this kind of integrative politics, I
recommend Laurent Dubois’ book, Soccer Empire, it’s really engaging. It says a lot of great stuff. Reportedly, integration
also means contact. So reach out and touch somebody. (audience laughs) The connected diverse
hands, they appear in all sorts of contexts. This is the most common
trope that I see, when they don’t want to show faces
or they don’t want to show some kind of a graphic. Now, it is not always so cuddly. There are other campaigns,
some other marketing campaigns, that show integration
in a way that chooses to accentuate, in my opinion,
the kind of differences that people may have. These are stock photographs
that you can download from one of the graphic
producers in Germany, and they also use the word
integration not just to talk about the integration
of foreigners, but also to talk about the integration
of anyone with any kind of a disability. Some people have made some
aesthetic representations of integration, this is
by an artist on Flickr. The title of this is Integration. I find this terribly
threatening as a visual image to be singled out for a
difference and then enclosed by a group of people that do
not share your difference. The far right, and I’ll
show you a Swiss example, also relies on these
similar kinds of ideas. These are some recent
campaigns that were from before the large amounts
of refugees started to come to Europe. In these images, the one
with the sheep says “creating “security” and there’s a
white sheep on the Swiss flag kicking out the black sheep. This is from the Swiss
People’s Party, which is a far right party. All of these are not only
predicated on an us/them binary, we are different
from someone else, they are not like us, but it
also means there is no hope they will ever become like us. And so there is no point in
actually having them here. Everything that I’ve shown
you up until this point is from before there was
a large influx of refugees into Germany. So what happened? What changed in 2015? On September 4, Angela
Merkel, apparently, over breakfast at a kitchen
table, was negotiating with some leaders about what
to do about the situation in Hungary, and in consultation
with the then-Austrian President, she decided to
open up Germany’s borders. Over a million people
decided to enter Germany. About half of them decided
to apply for asylum in Germany. The other people may have
gone on to other destinations like Denmark or Sweden,
and you have this beautiful picture of Angela Merkel
that was circulating, taking selfies with all
these refugees at the beginning of September. She is now facing election
and is trying to deport people as rapidly as she
possibly can, because people have not been happy with her decision. Now, for me, what’s interesting
as a scholar is that refugees and permanent
immigrants, they have different needs, they are different populations. But the discourse about
them is pretty much the same in Germany these days. I think that this happened
for two reasons, so they had long called to
integrate permanent immigrants, immigrants who had been
there for a long time, and now they are calling
to integrate refugees. How are we going to integrate refugees? So Germany already has a
long-standing Muslim minority. A great deal of the
incoming refugees are Muslim from places like Afghanistan,
Pakistan or Iraq or Syria. So these groups were seen
as equivalent, even though their histories are
different and their needs are different. Because of the number of
people entering Germany and the conservatism of
the far right, which is gaining power, a lot of
politicking was focused on saving culture. How do you save German
culture from this influx of large numbers of people? And this is the kind of cultural discourse that takes us back to the film clip. If you want to naturalize,
we want you to eat pork and we want you to speak German. Germans in 2015, they
already had a culture apparatus in place, which
hit both of these points, and that’s the apparatus of integration. So, what happened is that
they passed their first integration law in 2016,
which was designed to promote and target refugee populations. And I’ll end with this
quote that’s at the top of this photograph, Angela Merkel
said “For the first time “in the history of the
Federal Republic of Germany, “we are putting forth a
Federal law for integration “which is based on the
principle of encouragement” that sounds nice, “and demands.” that sounds less nice. So Germany, in this
law, will both encourage and demand that refugees
integrate if they want to stay. Some of the encouragement
means subsidies, means housing, means laws of
family togetherness. But some of the demands
mean that your subsidies can be cut if you don’t
learn German fast enough or well enough. It means that the government
can determine where you live, whether or not that’s
close to family or not, and it can also determine
how long or how frequently your residency permit can be renewed. Thank you. (applause) – Thank you to all of the
panelists, and before we give them the opportunity to
see if there’s any quick cross-talk and open up, I
just want to throw to the floor some observations
that I had as I listened to the panelists. And one was the importance
of using our past to inform the present. Not just studying history
but then using history to shape what we do. And bringing to light the
ambivalence that has always existed in this country and likely others about immigration. And the in group versus the out group. That we are a nation of
immigrants, but the question becomes which immigrants
are deserving, right? And each new group has
to prove their worthiness before we accept them into society. And then the question of what
are the welcoming places, the immigration stations,
the border controls, what role do they really play? And is it about who comes in
versus who do we keep out? And a lot of times we focus
on the flow of refugees, the flow of immigrants and
we look off into the distance to the big, bad, whatever, right? And not realizing that
people transfer across our borders for a whole host of reasons. Some closer to home than
we actually acknowledge all of the time, but that the
nature and composition of who those individuals are can be shocking. So we spend a lot of time
talking about let’s keep out the people who aren’t
contributing to society, they’re not working or
they’re taking jobs away, and yet there is a large
number of children who come into the country, and what
do we do with those children? And keeping in mind that
the journey is uninviting and it’s unsafe and then
they land here, they cross our borders, and the
welcoming is equally unsafe. In a land that we said in
the U.S. is the home of the masses, so what does that mean? And then how do we look
out to other countries and have a conversation with
them about how welcoming they are or aren’t? The theme of refugee smuggling
runs through all of this and then what happens to individuals. And then also thinking
about what’s the role of communities, individuals
and organizations in helping people settle? And what’s the tipping
point for when we say we’re gonna accept certain
refugees, certain immigrants, or a certain number? When does it become too much? And when are they the
wrong groups of people? And the whole issue of detainment. What does detainment really
achieve, and what are we trying to get at? I thought it was interesting
about how we talk about conflict leads to
crisis and then we have refugees, when actually
the real crisis comes after there are refugees in how we treat them. And “we” being the global world. And then the failure of one
state, and so as Stephanie was talking about this,
before she actually got to it, immediately the political
scientist to me said this is government failure, right? We talk about market failure
and government failure. But what’s the role of the government? And when the government
stops doing what we expect it to do, who steps in? Well, the market’s not
stepping in here, so it has to be civil society, the third
rung, and what do we do to support civil society? And recognizing that
social rights do not depend on political rights. And how do we acknowledge
basic human rights? And then thinking about
how do we help individuals cope with their own transition,
their own settlement? And is integration really
integration or is it assimilation? There’s not too many places
on this globe that can say integration has
truly been integration. We’ve always said if
you want to stay here, you have to be like us and you
have to give up whatever you came from, so what does that mean? And I truly loved the
ability for us to laugh. To step back and just take
a look at the absurdity of the rules that we put in
place, the perspectives we take, and then we ask people
to want to be like us, and the “us” is again the
global us, when the example we set forth says “We don’t
value you as a human being, “but yet you should want
to come and play in our “sandlot, right?” And so what does that mean? How do we make sure that
we’re not guilty of the “othering” ourselves? How do we truly embrace? And so with that, I am going
to hand off to John Beck, I’m handing off to you right now. And you can do the cross-talk, all right. Thank you. – Okay, so, thanks, by the
way, all of you, for coming. I think that our panel deserves
another round of applause before we start talking. (applause) So the way this is gonna
work, is first I ask the panel to comment on each
other, just very briefly, and then we’re gonna
open it up to questions. And you get to just put
your paws in the air and I’ll get around to you
as I’ve joked every other time, it’s kind of an
exercise program for me. I get to run around the room. But first we’ll start up here. So any comments from the
panel about each other’s presentations, just in terms of making any linkages, before we
move on to the audience. Comments? – Well I was interested,
Johanna, in the comedy, the sitcom it looked like,
about German Turks, because it was interesting to me that
it came really quite late when you think about Turks
immigrating to Germany in the 1950s or that sort-of time period. And so I was wondering is
that, even though it’s making fun of the problems, is
it actually a kind of sign of some integration, now that
there is a sitcom about this? – I mean, I think that
you’re right on, in that you don’t, you can’t have the
comedy right in the beginning, because comedy requires
some level of distance, like Cynthia said, she’s
all the way back there. She made it back there like hustled. There’s, if you’re in the
moment of crisis, right, then your concern is on survival. But once you have settled
and you have acclimated in some way, you have
integrated, so to speak, then you also have this
deep understanding of the host culture that I think
allows you to then criticize it from the inside and create
this dual level of comedy. So it’s kind of surprising
that it took that long, ’cause you’re right, it’s
2010 and it’s the first full-length comedy about
guest workers in Germany, and the agreement with
Turkey is made in 1961. So that’s 50 years. It takes more than a
generation, basically, to get to the point where you have
enough distance to laugh about it. But I was also curious,
it’s interesting that we’re doing this at the ends of
the table, because part of me thinks that there’s a
level of, you have to be aware of your ambivalence,
which was one of your key points in the history of
U.S., you have to be aware of your ambivalence in
order to analyze it. And so I was curious
if, does the ambivalence stay constant throughout American history, or does it kind of vacillate? – Right, well and then
there’s there sitcom you’re describing is the
ambivalence of the immigrants whereas what I was looking
at was the ambivalence of Americans toward immigrants. No, I think that there is
this ongoing contestation. I do think that it moves in different ways at different times, and so
it definitely does change. And you do see really significant shifts. The closing of Ellis Island
really comes at a moment where the, it comes in ’54,
but there’s a shift away from restrictionist immigration
policies in the post-war period, paying more attention
to refugees and having refugees within immigration
policy, but also there’s an opening up and and ending
of all the, or not all of them, but and ending of
many racial restrictions on immigrants, and that is
the moment that is the closing of Ellis Island. – [John] Okay, any other
comments from the panel? – Part of that ambivalence
I think in that delay in integration is, there are
things we like about immigrants or immigrant workers,
sometimes, but we don’t want everything about them. The famous quote is, “we wanted
labor and we got people.” I’m butchering the translation of that. But that sense in which, we
want people here, we want them to be the good immigrant. We want them to work and
be cheap labor and get things done for us and then disappear. We don’t necessarily want
them, sometimes, to integrate and be part of our society. But then we blame them
when they don’t, right? So there’s this ambivalence
as to what society expects. And then that’s reflected
again by the Turkish immigrants in this clip and others. It’s to say, well, I don’t
know how much I want to be part of this society
that treats me this way and holds me on the outside. – And native-born people
say “we shouldn’t have to “change, but we eat hummus.” (laughing) Right? – Right. – So, “we love our Chinese
food, but we don’t want “to have any more Chinese immigrants.” (laughing) – May I make a comment, as the
only immigrant at this table? – No, no, I’m an immigrant, too. We have to think of English
people as immigrants. – [John] That British accent
is not affected, by the way. – The Greek accent, trust
me, it’s much more affected. I always said to my kids
that they are Americans, that the reason that I
survived in the United States is that I moved here at
the time where we had the replacement of the
Melting Pot with cultural diversity during the 90s
and the beginning of the political correctness,
and the fact that I came to an academic town. So I never felt really discriminated. Of course, I had the
usual questions up to now, but I think they are very innocent, “When are you going home?” because they immediately
assume that, from the accent, that I’m an outsider. But recently, and here
I come with the context and the ambivalence, it
is the first time that I have felt an outsider in
very simple interactions, going to the store. I stopped going to certain
stores and for the first time in my life, I wrote
formal complaints to the companies about the way
that the managers or whoever treated me. So that ambivalence, I think
it’s, you always have to see it in its context, and
also there is something else, ambivalence to the outsider
in relation with its nationality, accent,
color of skin or whatever, or what about the fact that
that outsider, class-wise, perhaps it would have been
a higher class than you? Or educated? So I think that there are
lots of different concepts that can be discussed. – [John] Well, I’m going to
just make two quick comments and then I’m looking for hands. Okay, coming your way. One is that, in terms of
humor, I think Robert Heinlein, the science fiction writer,
long ago said “We laugh “because it hurts so much.” That there’s a certain
amount of being able to deal with both an ambivalence,
the ambiguity, and actually the pain, perhaps of those interactions. The other thing, and Anna
and I both happen to serve as historians in a way, me
less so than you, and that is that what we know from
American history is that white people have had a
very easy time assimilating because of the fact that many
of us became white people who were not a white people before. So the Irish, for example,
were regarded as non-white and in fact sub-human. And they were able to rise,
frankly, by being part of the othering of African
Americans and others who came in as you laid out. So I think that the issues
really is, what does the new integration look like,
where we have people who really do not necessarily want
to take on the religion, take on the language, take on whatever? Look at the debates that
we’ve had about that in the United States for a long time. So I’m coming back here,
let me see that hand again. I saw it, there. – [Female Audience
Member] Thank you so much. Thank you so much to all
the speakers, it’s such a fabulous panel, great
representation from the Sociology Department, two out of five I just had a comment that links some of the comments that have been made about history and I, my research
is on deportations from the U.S. to the Northern Triangle. I think it’s really
interesting that Dr. Thronson brought up this idea of
Central American refugees. As we know, they have not
been categorized as refugees, despite the fact that young
people are being slaughtered in the Northern Triangle. It’s really interesting to
think about that historically in the history of the Northern
Triangle, looking back to the 1980s when we saw
the first great waves of migrants, really refugees,
coming from the Northern Triangle, especially
Guatemala and El Salvador, where people were being
slaughtered then, and were not considered refugees. And now their children,
their grandchildren, their nieces, their nephews are
coming again and again being excluded from a society
that really created a lot of the challenges that they’re
facing today, and that they’ve been facing for the
last 30 years, 35 years. So just to think about
that, what we’re seeing is kind of a second wave of
refugees that again are being considered economic
migrants, through no fault, except for U.S. economic policy. But then I also had a quick
question for Dr. Thronson. A legal question. Something that I’ve seen
a lot has been smugglers saying well get to the
U.S. before you turn 18, because you have a chance of staying. But I’ve also heard that
then people can be deported soon after their 18th
birthday, especially if the case runs for a year. We’re looking at now
deportation cases that are going to go into the next five years. So what are you seeing in
terms of people aging out of potentially being able
to claim asylum in the U.S.? And then potentially being deported? – So it cuts both ways on
asylum in that the actual substantive standards for
who gets asylum are the same for children as they are for adults. The standards of proof that we
hold people to are the same. So there’s some disadvantages
to being a child trying to meet standards that
were really developed in post-World War II Europe
with refugee flows there in mind, and so they don’t fit
nicely with the experiences of young people in modern
times and closer to home for this to happen. But we do have some procedural
protections which are in place for young people. So those who do arrive
without an adult or parent accompanying them, who are
under age 18, for example, have an opportunity to
present an asylum claim in the first instance
before an asylum office, as opposed to in the court
setting, so they get a slightly less adversarial
procedural setting in which they can do this. Now, that doesn’t mean
it’s any less difficult to make their case. There’s also a couple
forms of relief that are unique to children. One of these is special
immigrant juvenile status, and that generally
requires the involvement of child welfare systems in the state court. Something that’s truly
impossible to do for most children without an adult
who helps them do this. You don’t get to be a kid and just show up in court and say “I’d like to be in the “child welfare system. “I’d like to get a guardian appointed. “Can you find one for me?” You need adults, you
usually need an attorney to make this happen. And that has to happen
while people are young to be able to get into a state
law child welfare system, usually requires that someone
is, except for a couple of states where they’ve now
expanded this to age 21, requires that you’re under 18. You don’t show up as a 19
year-old and say “I’d like “to get into the child
welfare system,” because the state turns around and
says “You’re not a child.” – [Female Audience Member
2] Recognizing that we have a national history of
disenfranchising people that many of the people coming to
our country are under age, are unemployed with the
inability to be employed, that they don’t necessarily
want to learn the American Constitution, what’s going
to happen immediately and long term if we build a wall? – I guess I’d just question
all those premises that you have in your question. I don’t think our evidence
shows us that, that these are young people coming
who don’t want to learn our Constitution and don’t
want to learn our language. Language acquisition in
this country is happening faster than it ever has. We don’t always see it
because we have more media in our face that’s Spanish
language, for example, right? You know, we didn’t have
Univision years ago, so we didn’t have flipping
through the channels, you didn’t see the
Spanish language channels, but we’re actually such a
monolingual country here, I think one of the problems
is we lose language too quickly here. By the time you get to a
second generation, kids don’t speak the language
of their home country or their parents’ home country. And it’s just gone. And there are ways in
which we should value that and hang onto that
bilingualism or trilingualism that we have. So all our studies are
showing that people who come and are supported and
find ways to integrate, have that opportunity to integrate, thrive and do well. And are really productive
members of our society If you break it down and
look at it, these are not people who are coming
and draining our economy. They’re highly, highly productive. – But on the question of the
wall and border enforcement, one of the things that we have
seen each time, historically, that you do reinforce the
border, and that sort of maybe started in 1917,
sending immigration officers to the U.S. Mexico border
and implementing policies that had been developed at
Ellis Island on the border. So you had this curious
situation where at Ellis Island you had first class and
second class passengers, and they would look at the
Mexican immigrants coming across the border and say
oh, you’re like a first class passenger, and you’re a
second class passenger, even though these people didn’t
have tickets from liners. But when they started, in
’24 you have the creation of the Border Patrol. One of the unintended consequences,
and immigration policy is full of unintended
consequences, is that people don’t and are not able to leave. So in fact if you are
unauthorized in the United States and there’s a crack down,
you’re going to be much more likely to stay in the United States. I’m not making a judgment
on that one way or another, but it’s something that you
do see with any increased border enforcement. – Also, net migration from Mexico, am I on? Can you hear me? I can probably, I’m used
to lecturing to 500, so I can probably just shout to the back. Net migration from Mexico
now is about net zero. – [John] It’s negative. – [David] It’s red. – It’s negative now, because
of the economy in the U.S. and the Mexican population is aging. Only people of a particular
age are very likely to migrate, and as you
get older, that likelihood goes down. As the Mexican population
ages, there’s fewer people that will come over that
are of the age where they would migrate. So, if we build the
wall, we’re gonna spend 23 billion, something around
there, to keep out nobody. – [David] Right. (audience laughs) – Can I say this, we’ve built different kinds of walls, right? So we’ve built some walls
with our statutes and the perennial “Why don’t people get in line?” Why aren’t they moving forward? We have really, since 1996,
had a number of barriers in place where people
who under previous laws, would move through our
system, they’re married to U.S. citizens, they have
U.S. citizen children, they’re completely integrated
into U.S. society and life and they’re very important
to their families here, and they can’t get through the system. We have put in place some
just insurmountable barriers legally that keep them
on the outside, and keep them not part of our
society moving forward. And these are things that
used to be, right, if you, there’s a great author Mae
Ngai, an historian at Columbia who has a short article out there saying How Grandma Got Legal. And just looking at,
historically, how many of our ancestors came in ways
that are exactly the same as people are coming
today, yet the system found a way to legally accommodate
them and move them through the system. And we just can’t do it today. – Can I make a comment on this? For me, this very important
that we started this panel with the historical
framework, and it keeps being repeated. Based upon my research in
Greece, and comparing with the American society and
the reaction that they have towards refugees, I’d like
to make a point that I think is very interesting. What we need to think at
this point, it is definitely the various executive orders
because based upon those, people are suffering. But at the same time, the
ideology that these orders represent and for the first
time the United States and the majority of the Western
nations, they were always into the realm of
cosmopolitanism in terms of international relations,
they were coming more with a so-called rights approach. So for the first time, we
see United States trying to move to an extreme
isolationism, not only from its neighbors with the
format of a wall or whatever, but from legitimate
international organizations just like United Nations,
where they try to pull out the expenses, excuse
me, the support that they give to them. So for me, it is also a
very important ideological explanation, an ideological
topic that we need to discuss it further. The second topic that I realized is the role of memory, the role of history. For example, in the majority
of European countries, history is very big, very
important in the formation of the identity. Germany, for example, even
now, the children they are taught about Hitler
and Nazi and all of the problems that they created, the Nazis. In the United States
history I think is avoided. I give you examples
through my children and the way that they went to
the American school here. For example, if they will
take a history class, it will be, what is called
that one, AP, the honors option and then they can
get in the university, but usually the teachers
when they teach those, they teach based upon the
exams that they will take, and not about the substance. Secondly Mr. Trump who
was elected with the whole idea, Let’s Make America Great Again. (laughs) Which America? Which Great? (laughs) We are talking about the 50s? Because yes, at that
time, it was the time that America was great. Why? Because we didn’t have any
other competitor except the Soviet Union at
that time, economically. We were debt producers,
we were exporting heavily, and so on. So the big question for me
is the absence of memory, which is one of the questions
that daily people are asking me in the Island of
Lesvos when we go with the students and we do several
fundraisers or we try to help. They laugh at us. They look at us and they
say with a nice way, “Ha, the Americans start
the wars, and now they are “giving out soap so the
refugees can be washed.” because in their mind, they
are responsible for what happened in Afghanistan. In the Island of Lesvos,
the first refugees arrived in ’98 and then from 2000
we have an escalation of refugees after every war. Either it was Afghanistan
or Iraq and so on. So I think we forget very
quickly and it can be explained, let’s not
forget that in this country it is also the country
that really flourished the discipline of psychology. – [John] Now, Sophia, I’m gonna… – I’m sorry. – [John] No, problem. (audience laughs) – [John] Oh my God, I see
the professor coming out in you, perhaps, right? It comes out in all of us. So I’m going to turn to
this young man right here. – [Male Audience Member] My
question is for Dr. Gordon, specifically, but the
entire panel is free to talk on it. When I think about the
recent executive orders, it seems to me that they
are predicated on a fear, not just that immigrants from
a handful of predominantly Muslim countries won’t
assimilate, but also there’s a fear there of an attack. And I’m wondering, then,
if this sort of cyclical discrimination of our
past is really analogous. Like if we have anything
in our past that can square quite with what
we’re looking at today? – I would say, I mean
clearly national security has come to the forefront in
a very significant way. And for understandable reasons. I think if we’re looking
to history, perhaps. You know in 1905 there
was a ban on anarchists, and people who intended
the violent overthrow of the U.S. And there was extensive
deportation during the first World War time period
of professed anarchists. So that was definitely
part of this concern about violence and national security. And then the other real
time period I would say, is during World War II, right? With the incarceration,
imprisonment, internment of Japanese and German and
Italian nationals initially, which is what Ellis Island was used for. And then the imprisonment
of Japanese Americans in the West Coast. But one of the really
significant parallels there is that no Japanese Americans
were ever found to have committed any acts of sabotage, right? Which is very similar to
the situation with these Muslim majority nations
that have been banned. And yet at the time, people
said, that’s the problem. The fact that they haven’t
actually committed any acts of sabotage is just
a sign that they are sleeper cells, controlled
by the Japanese government waiting to commit an attack. So nothing the Japanese
Americans could do would make a difference, because
had there been some form of sabotage, or some kind
of attack, that would have been, obviously, cause. And the fact that there
was no sabotage or attack was also cause. And I think that’s very
comparable to what we’re seeing today with the level of
anxiety that even no evidence of anyone from these nations
having committed attacks in the United States is
still not enough to prevent the executive order from
being issued, although that is one of the key grounds
on which it’s been enjoined. Is that the correct term? – It has been enjoined temporarily. It’s been restrained, we have
a temporary restraining order. – Right. – So one of the things
historically, just to note, that’s different right
now, or not different, but we’ll see where this
goes, is that courts have been very hesitant historically
to step into what is viewed largely as a political realm. And they have deferred to
the executive and to Congress in terms of how they go
about deciding who gets into the country and who
doesn’t, in ways that completely violate some
of the norms that we generally hold when we think
about what’s Constitutional and what’s not. And we let our executive
and our legislative bodies get away with things in
those realms that we wouldn’t elsewhere, because the courts
are hesitant to step in. This is an interesting situation. How far do you go in what
I would say is a fairly irrational choice? Not a choice to say we want
to make the country safe, but to implement it in
a way that doesn’t make a lot of rational sense? And most of our former
security personnel and diplomatic personnel have
stepped in and said the same. This is crazy. This is how we’re going about doing it. But will the courts
ultimately, as this goes up through the court system,
be willing to take that judgment, and say that that’s
right, or will they defer to the political branches
and say as they historically have in many of these
settings, “Well, we don’t “necessarily agree, but
it’s not the place of “the courts to come in”? And that will be an
interesting thing to watch as to where this set of cases
and these sets of issues fit into the historical framework. – [John] Okay, we’ve got
a question right here. – [Female Audience Member
3] Okay, so first of all, I just wanted to say thank
you for coming to present on your topics, because
they are very helpful especially to what we’re
learning right now. So my question is directed
specifically to professor Schuster-Craig, because you
talked about integration and assimilation. And we talked about that in
our James Madison classes, and so, a question that
was raised in our classes was is it fair for a state
to ask those who want to be citizens to integrate
or assimilate, as it means they might have to forget
their culture, and their culture identity and values? Because this was a question
that very much, I didn’t know how, in my James
Madison classes, it was a challenging question for our class. So I just wanted to see your perspective on it, specifically. – I think for me, it’s
really hard to distinguish between integration, what
it could possibly mean, in the most positive sense
of the word, and integration as it’s actually used. So I think that, like you
were saying, integration almost always means assimilation. It’s a way to try and not
say assimilate, and to use a “nicer” word. Some of the radical activists,
especially people of color in Germany, have started
saying “Don’t even use “the word integration,
talk about participation, “talk about access. “Those are the two words
where we can actually “measure what’s happening,
where we can then share “in the vision for what we
want society to turn into.” But if you talk about a
part being incorporated into a whole, if you have to
take me and then incorporate me into your whole in order
for this whole to function, then we don’t want to
be part of that whole, because that’s not actually
a forward-looking grouping. So in terms of what the state
can demand, I would maybe prefer to think about what
the state can facilitate. So I think language classes
are absolutely necessary, 100% necessary. You must provide, you can’t
just expect that language acquisition will happen on
its own, and without language there’s no upward mobility. So if you want a productive
work force, you have to make sure that there’s
some kind of expectation that the state will provide
these benefits in order to allow people to
become productive forces. And that’s one of the
critiques that I have about German integration
politics at large, is that to me it seems like a
system that’s based on a racial hierarchy. Not everybody is asked
to integrate, right? I am American, my parents
don’t speak any other language but English,
and I have this weirdly German name and I speak German. And when I go back to
Germany it’s like I have returned to the mother
ship, they want to give me things, they want to offer
me things, they congratulate me on how well I speak
German, and “oh, surely you “have German ancestors?” Well yes, four generations
ago, but I don’t even know what you want from me in this space. And it is just because I am
white and my name is Johanna. That is the basis of what
they are offering me. Nobody asks me to integrate, right? If you show up and you are,
perhaps, Afro-German and one of your parents is
ethnically German, you are integrated, right? Your parent is German. You have grown up in Germany. You have citizenship. You are part of that country,
and you are constantly asked to integrate, to assimilate,
to be part of the state. So that kind of compulsory
power, you know economics doesn’t trickle down but
cultural discourses sure as hell do, right? That kind of cultural pressure
I think is unnecessary for a state to want to
compel, and yet all of the politicking is around
compelling precisely that kind of assimilative desire. – [John] Coming back here
for a question and then we’re going to kind of
reach for a conclusion with last comments. – [Female Audience Member
4] I was just wondering what your opinions are
on how to best support, as an individual, how
to best support refugees that are living locally,
and in other countries? – Stephanie? – So, resettlement is super important. It provides permanent
protection for a certain number of refugees and
it provides an escape valve from pressure that’s
building up in places where, there’s large numbers,
in Greece and Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, etc. But less than 1% of the
world’s refugees will ever be resettled. So most, I think, there’s
the one-on-one thing, there’s great organizations
here in the Lansing area that you can volunteer
with, to work with refugees. I think if you want to have
that kind of one-on-one relationship with folks to
really help them, you go through those organizations. Lots of faith communities
are involved in this kind of work, and that’s great. If you want your government
to do something about world-wide refugee
crises, we need to stay in the United Nations. I’m very concerned that
the sort of fear of a world government, if you’ve done
anything with the U.N., they are really far away from
being a world government. (audience laughing) – [John] Right. – Reeeeally, really far away. So I think making sure that
we stay there, that the Security Council has
member states that are not aggressor states, I mean,
granted, we’re in it, so we’ve got some, we really
need to do something about our over-militarization,
but we need to stay a part of that, we need to support it, we need to actually pay
our U.N. dues regardless of what we think the
family planning practices of U.N. agencies are, we
need to support the U.N. because as much as I
will critique the U.N. and I will critique the
U.N. a lot, I think being engaged with that international,
transnational conversation in supporting both the U.N.
and international NGO’s that are going the lion’s
work of refugee assistance in these secondary, second
countries of asylum. So they leave their home
country and they go to these places that are never
us, even with Central American refugees we’re getting very
small numbers proportionate to our population. But countries where, like
in Jordan where one out of every three people, it
might be more than that now, are refugees. Those countries need our
help, those countries need support of the U.N., the
international community. We cannot stop being part of
the international community because we fear this bogey
man world government stuff. (applause) – I think I would add, too,
that when we think about refugee populations, we
need to broaden our focus a little bit. – Yeah. – We have three executive
orders right now, we’ve probably got some more to come, (audience laughing) and people other than
refugees, immigrant communities other than refugees are
going to get hit hard in some ways that need
support, and people need to step up and find ways to help
other immigrant communities. There are some very scary
things that are floating in some of the January
25th orders that we don’t in the prominent focused
way in the way that we’ve seen the reaction to refugees
coming in at an airport where there’s a place and
a time when this goes. Even that order from the
27th has hit students here at this campus who aren’t refugees. They’re finishing up a
Ph.D. but they’re not sure if they can or not. Or what happens if they have to go home? And so, just being careful
that we don’t focus in too much on the
ultra-sympathetic high-profile refugees to the extent
that we forget and create a hierarchy of who’s
important and who deserves our attention, and therefore
other people don’t. – Can I also jump in on that? So I am really sympathetic
to what David is saying, and I know this is an
event for immigrants and refugees and migration
and these topics that are in our news all the time,
but we live in a state that has substantial
rural poverty, that has a water crisis in Flint, that has a failing Detroit Public School system. There are other issues
besides refugees that are local, that demand your
engagement and demand your help. So one of the things that
I am very concerned with, especially at the University,
is that we are constantly, I’m in German Studies, we
are constantly trying to get people abroad, we
want to send them to have exciting experiences, and
that is great, you learn how to be a global citizen, but you have to be active here. It doesn’t just happen
somewhere else that’s more exciting and that’s more
thrilling and that’s more fascinating. So there may be, I’ve
seen in some other places that there’s an outpouring
of volunteers that want to work with refugees,
and they want to be part of that community. And that’s great because
people are coming in with all these interesting
cultures and languages and everything, but there’s
also other struggles that are related, that
might be worth your time and might be in need of volunteers. – [Male Audience Member 2] Bravo. (audience applause) – [Male Audience Member
2] Thank you so much. I’ve got a quick question,
but time’s running out. One, I want to thank you,
but I want to point out Julian Somora, a great
sociologist, and the Julian Somora Institute here and
the bottom of outreach and engagement, Ruben
Martinez is a great guy, gave me the figures and
he did say we’re zero at the border. Number two, in 2010 in the
United States, according to the Julian Somora
Institute, that there were more Latino babies born than any other race. My question to the panel is,
quickly, the last election we saw, to be blunt, globalization
verus anti-globalization. And, us here we’re on the
globalization side, I would guess most people are. So my question is, because
I was in that leadership for eight years, what
about diversity, inclusion, social justice, wholeness,
multi-culturalism, put into the schools at
a young age to help this, so the next time that
we do embrace the other, we do embrace diversity,
equality and inclusion? And I’d like to hear your
comments on all that. Thank you. And how does the Latino
picture change the Melting Pot? – So I’ll just quote my
favorite demographer, Doug Massey, “There’s no
point fighting demography. “Demography always wins.” (audience laughter) – In terms of your point
about the education, I think it is really important
that we don’t learn sort of a history that is more
about forgetting the parts of our history around
exclusion and deportation which have very extensively,
particularly deportation historically, have affected
the Mexican-American community in the United
States in the 30s and the 50s with Operation Wetback as
it was called at the time. And definitely this is the
community that is going to be hardest hit with
the deportation order, along actually also with
African American immigrant, African immigrant communities
as well and Afro-Caribbean immigrant communities
as well, because they’re so heavily policed that
if legal immigrants get picked up for any small
infraction, and now this is going to be expanded
to picked up for any small infraction and not even charged. So you could, I guess,
theoretically be deported for jay walking even if you’re not charged for jay walking. That these are communities
that definitely will be impacted, so I think in
terms of speaking to the education, though, it’s
really important that we learn a history that isn’t full of forgetting. – Let me make one comment and then turn it back to Cynthia and the
panel for closing remarks. One thing that I think that
we could fall into tonight and I think it’s dangerous
is that I want to make sure that we embrace the
fact that there are plenty of Americans today with
their shoulder to the wheel for refugee communities,
for immigrant communities, for migrant communities
on the side of justice, and everything else. There were thousands upon
thousands of people waiting for refugees to come into
their churches and into their communities when
people were turned away. So in that way, it’s not
only one America, in effect, that has that history. There’s a multiple layered
history of America, people who have embraced
diversity at various points in our history. Now it’s a marbled history though. And the problem always is
that, as Martin Luther King said long ago, that the
arc of justice bends long but it bends toward justice. So we have to hope that
we can work together and do what we need to do
in light of what all of you have contributed tonight. Let me turn it back over
to my colleague Cynthia to take us home with the last
comments from the panel. – As we close out, I want to
come back to the education and say it’s not just K
through 12, but it’s higher ed. To the history point, if
we teach the true history, which I think we all can
admit we don’t, if we teach the true history of this
country, everything that’s happened and everyone
that’s contributed to who we are as a nation and what we
are as a nation now, then it would be a lot easier to
move forward on all of these issues of social
justice, migration, and things of that nature because we
would realize that we’re not the country we are now
based on the back of any one type of individual or
any one type of community. And we would acknowledge
that we have flaws and blemishes and that’s
okay, as long as we move forward and celebrate
the really great things. And so as long as we
all commit to the truth of reality, so today will
be history tomorrow, right? As long as we commit
to the truth of reality and we speak truth, then
we begin down that path. We can’t push it off on someone else. We can’t say that they need
to do it in K through 12, that they need to do it in college. We all need to do it, and
we all need to correct when we hear misinformation. And not bring forth our own
versions of alternative facts but speak truth to truth. And with that, I would like
to thank all of the panelists for doing a wonderful job this evening. I want to encourage if you’re here (applause) and you have a question or
two for one of the panelists, that you come up and talk
with them personally. I’d like to thank our
students that are here this evening, we always love to
have our students come out and be engaged. (applause) And to our faithful
followers, I will dare to say we love you and keep coming. (laughing) Thank you. (applause)

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