Migrant Personhood and Rights: Crises of Recognition

Migrant Personhood and Rights: Crises of Recognition

Project Directors: Thea Abu El-Haj, JC Salyer
Graduate Coordinator: Corinne Kentor

How does a nation-state reach the point where it becomes national policy to remove thousands of children from their parents as a deterrent to seeking asylum?  How does a nation-state reach the point where it prosecutes individuals for providing water to migrants in a desert? How does a nation-state reach the point that it bans people from entering the country based on their religion?     

During his first week in office, Donald Trump issued an executive order that banned foreign nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. In response, there were spontaneous protests around the country and broad condemnation of the sweeping anti-immigrant nature of the policies. This pattern repeated in the succeeding months, as the executive branch continued to focus on anti-immigrant initiatives, such as family separation on the border and policies limiting receipt of public benefits by immigrants. Despite this, large segments of the public remain favorable to immigrants and immigration and perennial conflicts over immigration policy have increased, even resulting is a 35-day shutdown of the federal government.

Our project addresses anti-immigrant sentiments and policies by engaging both academic research and the expertise of community-based migrant advocacy organizations to develop novel questions and approaches that address current immigration issues. The project will culminate with a series of public interventions that allow academics, activists, artists, and advocates to communicate and cooperate in imagining justice and recognition for migrants. 


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