3/6 Introductory Remarks -- First 100 Days Event: 'Immigration in Trump’s America'

THE FIRST 100 DAYS: Immigration Policy
 
Monday, March 6, 2017
6:30 p.m.
The Graduate Center
President Chase Robinson Remarks
 
Good evening. My name is Chase Robinson, and as president I have the privilege of welcoming you to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. For those who are watching via livestream, thank you for joining us. As many of you know, this is the home of pioneering research… of Nobel, Guggenheim, and Pulitzer winners… and of Ph.D. students who teach about 200,000 undergraduates every year.
 
Tonight marks the third installment of our ‘First Hundred Days’ programming, a multi-part series designed to help navigate this new political era. Conversation over the next several weeks will delve into trade, inequality, power, and other timely themes, all featuring Graduate Center scholars and other national figures. We hope you’ll come back often.  
 
This evening’s conversation focuses on one of the most provocative issues of all, one of serious concern to this University. Well over 60 percent of CUNY students are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Here at the Graduate Center, about 20 percent of our students are foreign nationals, and many come from the Middle East and South Asia. Hours after the executive order on immigration was signed, we learned that one of our Ph.D. students, an Iranian national, had been detained in Abu Dhabi and then returned to Tehran.  
 
She had fallen victim to a political decision with tremendous repercussions, a harbinger of what we might expect longer-term. No matter the policies to come, they’ll impact not just America’s diplomatic relations and global standing, but also our research universities.
 
As a historian of Islam, I come into contact with ignorance and ill-feeling about Islam as a matter of course. Despite government overtures to ban those from primarily Muslim countries or wall ourselves off from neighbors, we as an academic institution draw our strength from the circulation of knowledge, scholars, and students across the globe. Our responsibility is to guarantee academic principles that are consistent with our deepest human values.
 
In the case of our student, we were extremely grateful that her re-entry was successful, thanks in large part to our community’s help and advocacy. The fate of the renewed order, announced earlier today, is unclear.  
 
Our panelists tonight will delve into the realities and unknowns of immigration policy, and I wish them success in that necessary and complicated goal.
 
The discussion is emblematic of what we do all the time at the Graduate Center — this incubator of vigorous debate, reflected in our doctoral and master’s programs, our 30+ centers and institutes, and the dozens of events held here every week.
 
For these and many other reasons, we’re pleased to present tonight’s event, which features diverse viewpoints from several of the nation’s most prominent thinkers:
 
Our own Nancy Foner is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology whose work focuses on immigration. She has written extensively on immigration to New York City, including how today’s patterns compare with those of earlier periods. She is the author of 18 books, including From Ellis Island to JFK: New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration.
 
T. Alexander Aleinikoff [uh-LAY-nuh-koff], who is currently a university professor at the New School’s Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, served as the Deputy High Commissioner in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2010 to 2015. He is the author of Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship and previously served as dean of Georgetown University Law Center.
 
Douglas S. Massey is a professor of Sociology at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His research focuses on the sociology of immigration. He is the founder and co-director of the Mexican Migration Project and the Latin American Migration Project, and the coauthor of Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration, among several other books.
 
Finally, it is my pleasure to introduce our moderator. Brian Lehrer is an award-winning journalist who has hosted his daily radio call-in program since its launch in 1989. Originally called On the Line, WNYC Radio’s Brian Lehrer Show has been called ‘New York City’s most thoughtful and informative talk show’ by TIME magazine. The show was awarded a George Foster Peabody Award in 2007 for ‘Radio That Builds Community Rather Than Divides,’ and Lehrer has received seven Associated Press New York Broadcasters ‘Best Interview’ Awards since 2000.
 
The show has also been at the forefront of examining the Trump administration’s immigration policies, spotlighting recent federal raids that saw more than 600 people across the U.S. arrested, more than 40 of them in the New York area. A segment in January focused specifically on legal advice for individuals affected by the immigration order.
 
Please do join me in welcoming all of our distinguished speakers, and enjoy the evening.
 

Submitted on: MAR 7, 2017

Category: Diversity | President's Office - Speeches