Debating Immigration symposium March 20-21

Feb 6, 2008

A distinguished group of scholars, journalists and activists will grapple with some of the thorniest issues of immigration during a March 20-21 symposium at Vanderbilt Law School. The event is free and open to the public.

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, dean of Georgetown University Law Center, will give the opening keynote address, “Immigration, the Election and Beyond” on March 20 at 4 p.m.

A series of panel discussions will follow on March 21. All of the events will be held in the Law School’s Flynn Auditorium.

The closing keynote address, “Understanding America: A New Social Science Synthesis,” is at 4 p.m. on March 21. The speaker is Peter Schuck, Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law at Yale University. Schuck is co-editor of Immigration Stories as well as Citizens, Strangers, and In-Betweens: Essays on Immigration and Citizenship, and Paths to Inclusion: The Integration of Migrants in the United States and Germany.

A reception and book-signing will follow each of the keynote addresses.

Carol Swain, professor of political science and law and editor of Debating Immigration, published by Cambridge University Press, is the conference organizer. According to Swain, the symposium is organized around themes of Debating Immigration. Some of the questions expected to be addressed by the panelists include:

What is the impact of immigration on projected population growth? What are the costs and benefits of immigration? Do immigrants take jobs from native-born workers? Who, if anyone, represents African American interests in the immigration debate? Why has the U.S. not developed a well-articulated public philosophy of immigration? What accounts for the tendency to frame the immigration debate in terms of legalities when the most pressing problems result from immigration itself? What is the biblical understanding of immigration?

Swain will provide opening remarks at 9 a.m. March 21 in Flynn Auditorium. A series of panel discussions will follow:

9:15 a.m. – Economics and Demographics. Steve Camarota, research director for the non-profit Center for Immigration Studies, will discuss “The Economics of Immigration: Who Wins and Who Loses?” along with Jane DeLung, president of the Forum for Demographic Challenges, whose topic is “The Challenge of Four Million.”

11:15 a.m. – Law, Religion and Philosophy. Panelists and their topics include Elizabeth Cohen, assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University and author of a forthcoming book, The Myth of Full Citizenship: A Comparative Study of Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics; Jim Edwards, a principal of the Washington consulting firm Olive, Edwards & Cooper and co-author of The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform; and Noah Pickus, associate director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and author of True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civic Nationalism.

2 p.m. – Race and Immigration. Panelists and their topics include Carol Swain on “The Congressional Black Caucus and Immigration Reform: A Failure to Lead,” and Jonathan Tilove, a national correspondent writing about race and immigration for Newhouse News Service in Washington D.C. His topic is “Strange Bedfellows, Unintended Consequences and the Curious Contours of the Immigration Debate.”

The symposium’s sponsors include Vanderbilt Law School’s Social Justice, Constitutional Law & Theory, Law and Human Behavior and Public Law programs.

For more information, contact Marita Bush at 615-322-3710.

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