Conference to explore impact of immigrant criminalization

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

Today, 254 million people live outside the countries of their birth, many of whom escaped dire economic conditions, political suppression and war. The difficult conditions they face in their new countries will be examined in a conference Nov. 9-10, “Criminalizing Immigrants: Border Controls, Enforcement, and Resistance.”

“Immigration is one of the most consequential social phenomena of our time … because questions over whether and how to incorporate immigrants into the host society have become such political flashpoints,” said Kim Weeden, the Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of Social Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, and director of Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality. “We’ve seen this most recently with the controversy over Rosa Maria Hernandez, the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who was recently taken into ICE custody following a surgery, but similar controversies have emerged surrounding the humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingya, the 5 million Syrian refugees and ‘the wall’ separating the U.S. and Mexico, to name but a few examples.”

Adds Kelly Musick, professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology and director of the Cornell Population Center: “The causes and consequences of criminalizing immigration through more restrictive immigration policies and stricter enforcement is of critical and timely policy importance. This conference will bring together leading scholars to address these issues from an interdisciplinary and global perspective.”

The conference will focus on how the arrival of immigrants often results in renewed efforts to control the inflow as well as efforts to criminalize immigration through more stringent immigration laws and stronger enforcement of current immigration law. Researchers will also address the consequences of criminalizing immigration within communities and in the labor market.

A keynote by David Cook-Martín of New York University-Abu Dhabi, “How Nation-States Enforce Boundaries: The Reconciliation of People and Markets Through Migration Policy,” opens the conference. It focuses on Cook-Martin’s research on understanding migration, race, ethnicity, law and citizenship in an international context. The talk – Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m. in G10 Biotechnology Building – is free and open to the public.

The keynote will be followed by a faculty panel discussion with Cook-Martín; Matthew Coleman of Ohio State University; and Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School; moderated by conference organizer Shannon Gleeson, associate professor of labor relations, law and history.

Nov. 10 events feature a keynote by Coleman, a scholar of immigration law and geopolitics, “‘Cold Casing’ Racialized Police Power and the Closure of Law Enforcement,” as well as presentations by researchers from across the country.

RVSPs to inequality@cornell.edu are required for Nov. 10 events.

The conference is supported by the Center for the Study of Inequality, the Cornell Population Center, the Frank H.T. Rhodes Annual Symposium Fund and Atlantic Philanthropies.

Anna Carmichael ’18 is a communications assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences.


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