It’s no secret that many nations around the world are grappling with issues resulting from an increase of displaced people entering their borders. Ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Myanmar, Mexico, and Central and South America are responsible for the drastic increase in people looking for refugee and safety in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, and the United States.
How big is the problem? According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 60 million people were considered refugees in 2014 - the highest level since 1945. Leaders from across the globe have implemented a variety of strategies with mixed results. German chancellor Angela Merkel opened they country’s borders to nearly one million asylum seekers in 2015, a move that hurt her party in the regional elections a year later.
Here in the United States, immigration has become a prominent and politically charged topic. The Supreme Court was deadlocked on President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration in June, making nearly five million undocumented immigrants vulnerable to deportation. Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, arguably the embodiment of the new American anti-immigration sentiment, rallies his supporters by expressing commitment to deport those here illegally and to “build a wall” along the United States-Mexico border to prevent others from trying to enter.
At the City Club, we’re committed to bringing you conversations of consequence that help democracy thrive. Over the last two years, we’ve featured many distinguished speakers who’ve addressed issues of immigration, migration, and refugees. As this issue continues to affect our nation and our world, we encourage you to listen to all these speakers and their perspectives.
“We want to open wide the door to the American dream for everyone, including Hispanic families.” Janet Murguria, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza, in October 2013.
“Is it too simple to draw the line between the recent immigration wave and the war on drugs?” Tony Ganzer, WCPN host/producer, in December 2014.
“Bringing refugees into our country is the right thing to do and is good for our economy.”
Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary for Population, Migration, and Refugees, in February 2016.
“The nice thing about democracy isn’t that they don’t make mistakes; it’s the capacity to correct mistakes.” Christoph von Marschall, Ph.D., Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, Der Tagesspiegel, in March 2016.
“We have an obligation to help others who are in need despite where they come from.” Tom Mrosko, Director, Migration and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities, in April 2016.
“Democrats do not pass reform. Republicans do not pass reform. They both have to work together on immigration reform.” Daniel Garza, Executive Director, The LIBRE Institute, in May 2016.