Immigration—complicated policies, controversial possibilities. A Grinnell College symposium on “U.S. Immigration Policy,” Apr. 11-14, will examine a wide range of viewpoints on this timely topic, with experts on both sides of open and closed borders; representatives of immigration and asylum services; and interdisciplinary perspectives on the way forward.
“No matter what your point of view,” said Sarah Purcell, director of the college’s Rosenfield Program, “there’s agreement that U.S. immigration policy is broken. It’s a topic of local, state, national, and international concern that touches people in unexpected ways, and we plan to explore all sides of this policy issue.”
The immigration policy symposium, sponsored by Grinnell’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, will include the following free, public events:
• Mon., Apr. 11, 12 noon: Immigration-related student presentations based on tutorial projects, mentored advanced projects (MAPs), and Alternative Break projects. Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 2nd floor atrium.
• Mon., Apr. 11, 7 p.m.: Teach-In by members of the Grinnell faculty providing interdisciplinary background on immigration from the fields of sociology, history, political science, and anthropology.
• Tues., Apr. 12, 4:15 p.m.: Mark Kirkorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, will argue for tighter controls in “Mass Immigration vs. Modern Society.” The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit research organization which examines the impact of immigration on U.S. resources. Kirkorian frequently testifies before Congress and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nightline, NewsHour with James Lehrer, CNN, and NPR.
• Wed., Apr. 13, 4:15 p.m.: Jonathan Blazer, policy attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, will discuss the interaction between federal and state immigration laws. The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to advancing the rights of low-income immigrant families. Blazer’s main focus at the law center is on promoting immigrant access to economic supports and educational opportunities.
• Wed., Apr. 13, 8 p.m.: Representatives from immigration services throughout the state will lead a panel discussion on “Iowa and U.S. Immigration Policy.”
• Thurs., Apr. 14, 11 a.m.: The Scholars’ Convocation on “A Nation of Immigrants?” will be delivered by Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia University. Her book, “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,” has won numerous awards for addressing the controversial topic of immigration reform.
• Thurs., Apr. 14, 4:15 p.m.: Jeffrey Heller, a New York City asylum attorney, will offer perspectives on representing asylum seekers. Heller has taught clinical immigration and asylum law, written on immigration issues for Bender’s Immigration Bulletin and The Westchester Guardian, and opened his home to released immigrants for more than 25 years. Heller’s daughter Rebecca is a senior history major at Grinnell.
• Thurs., Apr. 14, 8 p.m.: Wall St. Journal editorial board member Jason Riley will close the symposium with a discussion of his book “Let Them In,” which stresses the economic value of open borders. Riley has worked since 1994 at the Journal, where he continues to write on social issues such as immigration reform.
All symposium events will be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus, unless otherwise noted. For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 641-269-3091.