Global Refugees and Migration in the 21st Century: Policies and Narratives of Inclusion Panel 1

By | September 2, 2019


– Good afternoon everyone and welcome. Thank you for coming
out on this dreary day. My name is Tom Banchoff, I’m
a professor of Government and Foreign Service here at Georgetown and serve as our Vice President
for Global Engagement. And on behalf of President
DeGioia and our entire university community, I’m
delighted to welcome you to today’s conference on
global refugees and migration in the 21st century, policies
and narratives of inclusion. As you can see from our
program, we have an excellent set of speakers lined up,
including our keynoter, Denis McDonough, a Georgetown
alum who also served as Chief of Staff under President Obama. It’s gonna be a great afternoon. Over two panels, we’ll hear
experts discuss with one another and with all of us how
we might best grapple with one of the most pressing
moral and policy challenges of our contemporary global era. The growth of refugee and migration flows, and the policies and
politics of inclusion, and unfortunately, exclusion
to which it has given rise. Think of the more than five
million Syrian refugees or of the millions of
migrants who have entered the United States from Latin America over the past several decades. Just two examples of more
than 60 million human beings on the move, crossing
borders around the world, the largest number since World War II. Driven by a diverse mix
of political persecution, economic need, and other causes. Now our focus today will be
on destination countries, on the management and on the
mismanagement of the inward flow of migrants and refugees. We’ll be looking at policies
on the local and national levels with focus on the United States, but also on Europe and other countries, other parts of the world. We’ll be looking at the role
of civil society groups, including religious
organizations in particular and fostering just and
enduring forms of inclusion. And we’ll be discovering and
exploring whether and how policy successes and failures
in some or in certain geographical, social,
and political contexts may hold practical lessons for others. Now our conference today marks the launch of a university wide global
refugees and migration project, a two year interdisciplinary exploration of these critical issues through
conferences like this one, through research and
teaching, and through policy consultations that bring scholars
and practitioners together to develop concrete recommendations. With this project and in our
aspiration here at Georgetown to be a global leader
in the study of refugees and migration in the 21st century. We can build on some strong foundations, especially in our School
of Foreign Service and in our law center. Georgetown is home to the
Institute for the Study of International Migration or ISIM, within SFS, or School of Foreign Service, a leading center for research,
teaching, and outreach on this vital topic. ISIM is a cosponsor of today’s conference, along with our university
wide Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, a leader in the study of how
religious forces intersect with global challenges,
including migration and refugees. And you’ll be hearing
from Katharine Donato and Shawn Casey, the directors of ISIM and the Berkley Center over
the course of the afternoon. Before turning things over to Katharine, who will chair the first
panel, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the members of
our Georgetown community who have made this conference and our wider project possible. The Georgetown University
Board of Regents is made up of remarkable women and men
supportive of our ambition to advance solutions to the
world’s most pressing problems through research, education, and service. The global engagement committee
of the Board of Regents under the leadership of
Roger Orfin, Eddie’s Waiter has generously supported this gathering and the global refugees and
migration project as a whole. We’re very grateful. As a Catholic and Jesuit university, the oldest in the United States, the United States, a country of migrants, Georgetown seeks to advance understanding of a complex issue to promote
creative policy solutions and to serve the national
and the global common good. And I’m confident that with
the help of our speakers and through dialogue with all of you, we’ll be able to make some progress on this important agenda today. So thank you all for being here, for joining us for this conversation. I’m now going to turn things
over to Katharine Donato, the director of ISIM who
also serves as the Donald G. Herzberg Professor of
International Migration in our school of Foreign Service. So please join me in welcoming Katharine and the first panel to the stage. (audience applauding) – Thank you, thank you for
that great introduction and nice summary of what
we hope will be a project that lives on for quite some time and does some very important work. So today, we’re here with
the first set of panelists. I’m Katharine Donato, I will
introduce everyone right now and then we will just go
from one person to the next. Everyone knows that they have
about 15 minutes to speak and then after that we’ll do a Q and A. Our first speaker is Mike Mitchell, who is the Associate Vice
President of US Programs at the Hebrew Immigrant
Aid Society, or HIAS. He serves as a strategic
advisor on HIAS efforts to expand resettlement networks
to fully integrate refugees into our communities and
enable these refugees to achieve greater success in their lives. After that, we have Rachel
Peric who is the Executive Director of Welcoming America. This organization, she joined
the organization in 2011. And Rachel works to create,
and Welcoming America works to create communities
where current residents, immigrants, and refugees
can thrive and belong. And she has assisted the
growth of Welcoming America from the start up, from its
start up in the United States now to a global entity, which
I’m sure she’ll mention. Our next speaker will be Joan Rosenhauer. She is the executive director
of the Jesuit Refugee Service. And leading the organizations,
she’s fairly new. We’re very excited that she
is in, she’s the new director. She’s leading the organizations
efforts to accompany, serve, and advocate for
refugees and displaced persons in more than 50 countries
around the world. Joan has spent most of
her career advocating for social justice and mobilizing the US Catholic community to do the same. And then finally, we’ll
hear from Hans Van de Weerd. He is the Vice President for the International Rescue Committee. He leads US programs in aiding
those who are struggling and enduring through the world’s
worst humanitarian crises. Hans has expertise in
international business, crisis management,
cross-cultural management, communications, and diplomacy. So with that, let’s welcome Mike Mitchell as our first speaker. (audience applauding) – Good afternoon everyone. Last month, a man walked in to a synagogue and killed 11 people. And before he went in to that synagogue, he posted that he was
gonna go in because HIAS was bringing invaders into this country. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was something along those lines. And the issue of integration,
the integration of refugees in the United States relates directly to what happened in Pittsburgh. So today, what I want to do
is I want to talk about four issues to be a little bit
provocative in looking at how refugee resettlement
happens in the United States and some of those issues with
that resettlement process and integration process
and then some possible solutions to catalyze conversation. So the first thing is that
when the Refugee Resettlement Act was passed in 1980,
there’s this fantastic system that came about which
basically allows different community based organizations
to work through nine national agencies of which HIAS is one, to resettle refugees for the
initial resettlement process, which lasts about 90 days. Actually, the department state requires it’s actually within 90 days. And we have a resettlement
model that is for resettlement but the problem is that
it’s not for integration. So one of the first challenges
I want to bring to you is that over the past 40
years, agencies like HIAS have followed this system
and every year we resettle refugees through this system. Each passing year, there
are new regulations and requirements for the local
resettlement agencies. And so every year that that happens, you have the local resettlement
agencies that have to do more and more on requirements. So for example, it used to
be that you could just do one home visit to make sure that the place that a refugee was gonna come was gonna be a safe, secure place, and
now the requirement is three. So whenever you put requirements like that on a local CBO, community
based organization, you end up requiring them
to spend more and more money and yet the amount of money
that those local agencies get has not increased. Issue number two related
to the act is this. So, it’s a public private partnership but as those regulations have increased, the desire of agencies
to make sure that they’re in compliance has actually
lessened the number of volunteers that have
been able to get involved. And that is an issue. So some agencies, I’m
giving you generalities, so there are exceptions to agencies that have gotten around this. But the issue with that that
goes back to integration is that as local community
based organizations have tried to do resettlement
in a compliance manner, they’ve been less likely
to welcome volunteers who are the people that
want to welcome refugees and who are gonna speak out against hate when somebody makes an
accusation about the danger that a refugee brings to society. So the first thing I say is
about the infrastructure, the system, and a challenge that we face. The second thing is that this whole system focuses on the initial resettlement. It doesn’t focus on the
integration of refugees. Now, different organizations,
different resettlement agencies have done a fantastic
job about figuring out ways to increase the length
of resettlement by focusing on integration programs
and some of these programs actually from the federal government, will go on maybe a year. And there are individual
programs that federal agencies have supported that will
take it up to five years. But in general, the whole
system is set up for initial resettlement and this
has profound impacts, and I’ll just mention two examples. Number one in the United
States, a refugee needs to get employment almost immediately. And we have seen people that
come to the United States as engineers, as doctors,
and they’re driving a cab, they are in your hotel
doing the housekeeping, and that is something that’s got to change because if the system doesn’t
support a way for them to build a career trajectory
back to what they did, we’re not only harming them, we’re harming the United States economy
because all this talent is not being engaged and utilized. Another example is housing. Because there’s a limited amount of money that comes in to the system,
the local resettlement agencies are required to get housing right away. And so what they do is they have to find a landlord that’s willing
to resettle somebody that they haven’t seen or they don’t know. And a lot of this comes
about because of fantastic relationships that the
Catholics have, that IRC has, that HIAS has, on the local level. But oftentimes what happens
is you’re resettling a family in a lousy housing
complex that is many miles from public transportation and
this is another huge issue. So the third issue I want
to share is the issue of volunteering that I
touched on in the first point. Volunteers are what makes
America great in many ways. And just with this tragedy in Pittsburgh, HIAS for example, has seen
10s of 1000s of people reach out to our local affiliates and say they want to volunteer. Now HIAS in the past year
has actually, two years, has actually developed a
pretty robust volunteer system where we can track names, track hours. We’re doing a lot of these things. But volunteering is not
simply a transaction of a volunteer helping a
refugee get an apartment set up, true volunteering is the
relationship that comes out between the native born
American and the refugee. And it’s a two-way process that happens. And if that is not
magnified, then we lose out and we allow the space
for people, politicians, to say that refugees
are a danger to society. And that’s been happening. But if we could figure out
how to increase the number of volunteers that are
coming out to volunteer and get engaged, they
then go home and talk to their friends, talk in
their faith communities, and they change the
perception of refugees. Lastly, I want to say that the system has been really stubborn to change and I’m speaking about
the law and the act. So many of the local
community based organizations, many of the resettlement
agencies like HIAS are working to test new ideas in new ways, but see, these things
are really tough to do when you’re governed by an infrastructure by a federal government
that requires things to be done in a certain way. Now, some agencies are
doing something about it. So I’ll give you one example. One of the things that
I realized when I came to the resettlement world is
that in the United States, what happens is there’s
an allocations pool and every Wednesday,
it’s like an NFL draft, and refugees are basically
go through each agency and each agency says we will
take 100 and then they go back the next day and they ask
their different affiliates who can manage these. And the decisions are made on
the capacity of local sites. They’re not made on what’s in
the best interest of refugees. Now, I can tell you that they
are made in the best interest of refugees and to a
certain extent, they are. There’s anecdotal
information that we’ll take, we’ll take what health options are there, what jobs are there. So one of the things that
we recently did at HIAS is we built a machine learning algorithm, it’s artificial intelligence, and it actually predicts where a refugee is gonna be more likely to succeed based on past experience and past data. And it’s not perfect
and it’s a first step, but what it does is the person
that does the allocations will use Annie, and by
the way, we named it Annie after the first immigrant
to arrive at Ellis Island. Her name was Annie Moore
and she came from Ireland. And what Annie does is it
will say okay, this refugee could go to Ann Arbor or this
refugee could go to Cleveland but they’re more likely to
succeed if they go to Ann Arbor. And it’s incredible and
these are the things that we as resettlement agencies should be doing. So what are the answers? So the first thing I wanna
say is that you will hear from humanitarians like
myself that we need to get on the ball and say that
this is a humanitarian issue and we need to do something about justice and social justice. But I want to throw out to you
something totally different. I want to say to you that
actually, I think it’s a question of identity that Americans
are, they feel many people on the right feel threatened,
their identity feels threatened, and the reason
this system worked for so long is it was kind of under the radar. And because there was less
transformation happening in the global economy and the US economy, but now because there’s
so much with machines and losing jobs that people feel scared. So the refugee system
actually is threatening the identity of Americans. So if refugee resettlement
agencies want to be successful, they have to answer
this identity question. And I think it comes down
to something like ancestry because every American
will love to tell you about, you know, my
grandfather, my grandmother, my great-grandparents and if
refugee resettlement agencies can start to address this, we
can actually make a difference with people that are in the middle of the road and doing things. So those are the main
points that I’d make. As you think about resettlement
in the United States and integration in the first 90 days and what we need to do
to change the system. We have to change the
structure of the system. We have to focus on long term integration and what we’re doing about it. We have to increase the ability
of Americans to volunteer and volunteer in genuine
ways so that they have relationships with refugees that in turn will lead to changes in policy. And lastly, they need
to allow for innovation. Innovation like Annie, which I shared. And innovation that lets
refugees connect to companies. I was just in Dublin at Microsoft and there was something called a Net Hope and it’s a collection
of big tech companies and large NGOs, IRC is a
member, HIAS is a member. And one of the things we
heard there from the folks at Microsoft is they’re saying
we don’t need fewer refugees, we need more refugees
because when you are sitting at a table and you are trying
to solve a business problem, that business problem is not best solved when you have five white guys like me siting around the table. If you have people from around the world, from different cultures
and different backgrounds, you’re gonna have more
diverse solutions coming up to solve that problem and that
is what makes America great. And that’s why refugee
resettlement in this country has been such a profound
positive and why we need to rethink and think about how
to move towards integration because then, only then,
will we be able to contrast ourselves from the vision of
someone like a Donald Trump that says that they
are a danger to society because refugees are what
makes this country great and immigrants are what
makes this country great. So thank you. (audience applauding) – I want to just begin
by thanking Georgetown for the invitation to be
here today and for putting this series of panels together. And I also deeply want to
thank all of you for trudging out in this miserable weather to give your afternoon to this topic. I was asked to come and speak
a little bit about the work that my organization, Welcoming
America, does to create communities where everyone,
including immigrants and refugees can prosper, thrive, belong. But I actually want to
begin on a personal note because this topic of
refugees is personal to me. My own family came to this
country in the late 1940’s as refugees, my mother and
grandparents were helped, actually, by HIAS, but it
could have been any one of the resettlement
agencies you see up here. So I wouldn’t be standing here today if it were not for the good
work that all of you are doing. My grandmother went on
to open a small business and that business became
the backbone of my family. But it also became part of
the backbone of the economy of New York City, where they lived. And in fact, today, immigrants
in just the city of New York alone account for about $210 billion a year in economic activity. Now I’d like to think that
my family are superheroes, maybe they are, but
it’s not that immigrants or refugees are superheroes. That economic benefit
happens for the very reason that Mike just talked
about which is that when we intentionally design our
companies, our communities, to be places that attract
and incorporate a diversity of perspectives and ideas, they thrive. But, that very pragmatic
opportunity to see a community thrive economically, to live
out our best humanitarian instincts around this issue,
at a time of massive migration, at a time of huge demographic shifts, are running up against a
challenge and that challenge is our very natural
instinct to hate change. And to fear the other. So the question becomes how
do we create communities where we can move past
some of those concerns to really create places that can thrive and take advantage of some
of those economic benefits and become places where everyone
can fully participate in. And I want to share with
you now a little bit about what we’ve learned in that
process at Welcoming America. And that story begins here more than a decade ago
in Nashville, Tennessee. And what you’re looking at
is a picture of a mosque that was burned to the
ground and an article from the Nation, which
describes Tennessee as being both one of the biggest
resettlement destinations and also the white hot nexus
of new American nativism. Now what had happened in Nashville? Well, like a lot of other
parts of the country, Tennessee went through a
huge demographic shift. We are just coming out
of one of the largest eras of migration that our country has seen in about a century. And unlike some past waves of immigration, people tended to settle
in this last one in places like Tennessee or Arkansas or
a whole lot of other places across the US that didn’t have a recent history of migration. And so what they saw was
both a very fast change and a very unfamiliar change. And that’s exactly what
happened in Tennessee. And so some organizers
were working down there to try to make life better
for immigrants and refugees and they discovered that the climate was just getting worse and worse. And they asked themselves, well,
what are we not doing here. We’re providing services to people, helping them learn English, access jobs. Well what they realized they weren’t doing was reaching out to the broader community. And in the absence of that,
others were and the messages they were hearing weren’t
particularly positive or accurate ones about who
their new neighbors were. So they launched an
initiative that was called Welcoming Tennessee and
it was really an effort to try to change not the policies
at that time in Nashville but really the climate. And they did three basic things. First, they organized
leaders from the community who cared about this value, this value of being a welcoming place. And not just a welcoming
place for new people coming in to the community
but also a welcoming place for people who had lived
there all their lives and also felt deeply unsettled by change. And then from that, they
did two other things. First, they brought people
into contact with one another. So Mike was talking about
the power of volunteers to come together, build relationships. That often doesn’t happen
naturally in communities that are deeply segregated
or where fear or language can get in the way. So over simple things, like
a meal, they began to build relationships across lines of difference. And they also began to
work on the narrative. What were the messages
that people were hearing about refugees and other immigrants coming in to the community? And they began to look
at how to shift that and to orient those messages
around common values that people shared,
working with local media, putting up billboards,
helping expose people to their new neighbors and to the things they shared in common. That work ended up being
successful in beginning to turn the climate around
in places like Nashville and in smaller towns like
Shelbyville, Tennessee. And over time, once the
climate had begun to shift, then it was possible to
begin to do some important policy work and you’ll hear more about that on the next panel, in terms of what the city could do to make it easier for people to transition into their new lives, to become part of the fabric of the community. Today, the city of Nashville
has an office of New Americans and that office does things
like run the My City Academy, which helps newcomers in the community get to know how government
works, how people in government get to know who their new residents are, and build a stronger civic fabric. The other thing that happened in Nashville in this period of time from
about 2006 when this work began up until about 2012 was that
Nashville became the largest job creating economy in the country. Now, immigrants and
refugees didn’t cause that, but we went back and did some
research with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and it was very clear, it is very clear if you
talk to business leaders, political leaders, the
community in Nashville, that they couldn’t have
made that intentional, they couldn’t have made that, they couldn’t have realized
that economic benefit if they hadn’t made this intentional tact toward being a more inclusive community. So we found that over 80% of
business and community leaders feel that immigrants have, for example, helped businesses reach
a more global audience and that efforts to
incorporate that community led to tangible economic gains. And that makes sense at an intuitive level if you think about the fact that in places like Nashville and many
other parts of the country, you’re trying to attract and
keep international talent if you’re a business. And if people arrive and
their kids are getting bullied in school and they’re getting
dirty looks in the street, they’re not gonna want to stay there and that is bad for business. So from the work that
happened in Tennessee, my organization, Welcoming
America, was established to help communities all over the country wrestle with this issue,
come out on the other end in a better place, and today
we work all over the country. Our footprint covers about
one in seven Americans and one in four new Americans. And as Katharine mentioned,
we’ve also begun doing some work globally to tie together
people whose natural instinct in a community is to try to live out this value in a different way. This is a map of our membership. We’re about 200 members and
a little over 500 communities in the US and you can see
we’re all over the country, but especially in some of
the places that have become new destinations for
immigrants and refugees. A few things that we’ve
learned in the course of doing this work over the last decade, one is that one of the thing
that happens when a community changes demographically is that
people just sort of respond and start delivering services. What doesn’t happen is an
intentional effort to really bring the community together
to plan for that change. And so in cities like Dayton, Ohio, that kind of planning is now taking place. In the case of Dayton, in the
midst of Alabama and Arizona passing some of their
most restrictive policies around immigration,
Dayton said we want to go in a different direction. And they brought local residents together to create the Welcome Dayton plan. How can we position our city as a place that everyone can feel at home in? And they now continue to do
this work as a partnership between the city, nonprofit
organizations, faith community, business community, local residents, and that work is both about reaching out and building a bridge in the community but also about making sure that whether you’re in a
school, you feel welcome. Whether you’re trying to buy a
home, it’s easier to do that. It’s easy to open a business. Whether you’re an immigrant, refugee, or anyone in the community. The result of this has been,
on a very pragmatic level, that Dayton, which was a city
that was losing population for about half a century has been able to turn that around for the first time. New people are moving there. They’re buying homes. They’re opening up stores. And that is good for the
economy and good for the city. I mentioned Arkansas as
being one of the places that is new to demographic change. They have also recently
developed a strategic plan focused around how to build
a more inclusive community. Their business community has
been very supportive of that. And really, it’s about
identifying all the different barriers that people in the community face to being full participants,
whether that’s civically, socially, economically, and
identifying ways to break down those barriers while also
lifting up this narrative that everyone truly belongs. I like to talk about the
importance of three N’s, as a three legged stool. And those three N’s are
narrative, neighbors, and norms. We’ve talked a little
bit about narratives. This is an example. We’ve been doing some work
over the last several years with the YMCA of the USA and
they have done some amazing work both within their own organization but also in communities to really lift up this idea of belonging and creating a more inclusive environment. Which is important for
them in their own roots in the community, but
also sends a strong signal to other mainstream organizations that this is a value worth supporting. Neighbors, again, as Mike talked about, we know from a ton of research
that what really changes people’s perceptions around
the other is the chance to encounter the other, and
so, by creating connections that bring people together,
whether it’s over a meal, a community garden, on
a university campus, we can begin to shift the way
that people see this issue. And lastly, norms. And for us specifically,
that’s about changing norms at the local level in terms of the kinds of policies that guide this work. We often think about
immigration as a big, hairy, federal issue, it is. But there’s also a ton
that local communities can do and are doing to
move forward policies that help people stay
safe and be full residents in their communities. And you’re, again, gonna
hear more about this but we’ve working to help
communities open offices like this new one in Dallas, Texas, a very conservative state
that hasn’t always been particularly friendly to
immigrants, but Dallas is bucking that trend in
their efforts within the city. And the last thing I’ll share is that, or be the penultimate
thing that I’ll share, is one of the things
that we’re trying to do is change the incentives that are driving people’s behavior on this issue. So looking at ways to lift up the places that are doing the right
thing through programs like Certified Welcoming,
where we’ve actually started to go in now in certified
communities as welcoming places. We know there’s a lot
of leaders out there, more of them after this
election, that want to live out these values of inclusion,
but we want to make sure that they’re living them
out in their policies and in their practices and this is a way to give them some recognition from that. And then also a tool that
they can use to market their community for trade,
tourism, and investment, and that way we further a virtuous cycle. And over time, our hope is that
by working at the community level, building up this
narrative, showing that it’s possible to create communities
that are truly inclusive and benefit as a result, we
can begin to reach a tipping point in this country where
that just becomes the norm. And it’s in all of our
interest, because our research has found that when we
do that, it’s not just to the benefit of refugees and immigrants, it’s really to the benefit
of whole communities. Communities become more
economically competitive. They become more socially cohesive, the fabric that binds people together is stronger in Welcoming Communities. And by looking at ways to make services more inclusive for some people, we make services more
inclusive for all people. I’ll leave you with this
quote from Richard Florida which I love around the
imperative, which is that nations that are more accepting
and better integrating new immigrants have a higher level of economic growth and development. So how we maximize that
opportunity, how we live up to it, is the great work that
others on this panel are doing every day
and that I hope you all will be a part of and
please don’t hesitate to reach out, look to our
website for tools and resources, and stay in touch. And I’ll leave it there. (audience applauding) – Good afternoon. It’s wonderful to be with you and again, I want to thank you for
getting out in this weather. It, you know, was kind of a
surprise as I’m coming down from New York on the
train, all of the sudden you get halfway here and
it’s the middle of winter. But I guess New York is
getting there soon, so. I was asked, so I’m with
Jesuit Refugee Service. I’m the Executive Director of JRS USA. And JRS USA or JRS in general
is not a resettlement agency. But we do work in 52
countries, I think, right now around the world with
forcibly displaced people, refugees and others who have
been forcibly displaced. And so I was asked to kind
of glean some of the best practices, what can we
learn from other places around the world about the
best way to welcome refugees and other forcibly displaced
people in the short run. So I did a little crowdsourcing. I contacted my colleagues in
Europe and the Middle East and Africa and even some
of our partners in the US, including in the Catholic community. I also have had a chance
to do some traveling in the last few weeks
to see the work of JRS. And so drawing out all of that, I came up with a list of some
possible best practices and it’s actually quite a list. There we go. You can see they had all
kinds of ideas, my colleagues. I think the one thing I
want to highlight, though, is that what we’re
experiencing here in the US is happening around the world and that is reception and compassion fatigue. So even where there are best
practices that were lifted up, in many cases they’re
at risk in the countries that have been practicing them
because people are getting really tired of so many refugees,
68.5 million as we know, displaced people around the world. And they’re really feeling
like they’ve been welcoming for a long time and it’s
hard to keep that up. So let me just go through a few of these and explain what my colleagues suggested. The first thing that they
said the US can learn from other parts of the world is scale. We all know that there are
countries that are absorbing displaced people at levels
that just are so completely kind of overshadow what the US is doing. The 1.5 million people in Lebanon, a country of just over four million. We were talking last night at an event about how the US is kind of panicking over the whatever it is, five
to seven thousand people who are coming from up through Mexico. And there was a time when Uganda was absorbing 5000 people a day. So in terms of scale, the
US can certainly learn some things from other countries. And the fact that they have done that, I was just in both Lebanon and Jordan and it’s quite remarkable
the extent to which. It’s not perfect. And people are suffering in some ways, the displaced people coming
to Lebanon and Jordan, but they have found a way to
absorb huge numbers of people when we, as we know, are now limiting our refugee resettlement to 30,000 a year. The next thing that people
mentioned was to make the case that there should be
no long term detention. And it’s interesting to
watch how this is developing ’cause in, for example, most of Europe, they do not allow long term detention. But in the UK, they are now you know, supporting long
term detention as a part of their policy of creating
a hostile environment for displaced people coming
into and refugees coming in to the UK because they
want to discourage it. In the US, while there
may be some court rulings that would suggest that
we can’t detain people for very long, there are ways around that and one of the things
that happens is that they will keep people in one
detention center for a period of time and get just up to
the limit of the court ruling and then they’ll release them and re-detain them in another center. And so people actually have
been staying in detention in the US for quite a while. Recently, my colleagues,
’cause we also work in detention centers trying
to provide support to people who are being detained
by the US government and my colleagues in Texas have
said that all of the sudden, they started releasing people. Except the problem was
that whereas in the past when they release people from
detention, they would try to help them get
transportation to their family and a plan while they were going
through the asylum process. These folks were just
being put out on the street with nothing, no money, no
plan for transportation, no nothing and the local
communities were having to scramble to try to respond. So, no long term detention. We know what kind of trauma
that creates for both adults, but especially for children. Obviously one of the first
things you have to do when people, in the short run,
when people arrive somewhere, is to make sure that
their basic needs are met, housing, food, those kinds of things. And I think there’s some
great examples of that here in the US as well. Certainly a priority around the world. I do want to lift up the
migration refugee service at USCCB has this power program
and I’ll say a little bit more about it but it’s
parishes organizing to welcome refugees and they are really
mobilizing to make sure that the basic needs of
having access to food and a way to provide for
those needs and housing and all of those things are met. Another model that was
lifted up and in some ways it’s related to what we just heard about from Welcoming America,
the idea of cooperation. That the best models
in different countries, and Portugal is an example of this. There is very clear, strong cooperation among the business community,
the nonprofit or civil society and government, and it sounds
like Dayton is an example of that as well, but certainly
one of the best practices that we would want to lift
up because that’s how people have a holistic experience when they come. Their needs for a job,
their needs for housing, their needs for a variety of
services are more readily met. Okay, the next one, oh, I’m hitting the wrong one, aren’t I? Thank God for this thing so
I see what I’m doing here. There we go. One more. Okay. The next one is that, the resettlement of people has to be localized and small scale. In Europe, they’ve developed
this hot spot policy which all of my colleagues
in Europe oppose because it really concentrates
the short term reception of refugees in a few key
places in Italy and Greece. It was originally intended
to acknowledge the reality that those countries were
bearing a burden that others were not but the problem is that now, those reception centers
had become the place where people stay and as
opposed to other programs that have people spread
out and across communities. Germany has been doing that. Although, again, all of
these places you’re seeing compassion fatigue and
things are changing. But Germany is an example
of people being distributed all over in communities and with families in a very spread out way. And that, clearly, my
colleagues would suggest works much better than
having these focal points, which in some ways is
similar to what we do here in the United States. Another key thing that is a
part of the early reception response has to be legal
support and here in the US, we are just completely falling
short in terms of the needs for legal support for asylum seekers. The difference, we were just
with a group from Fordham University last night
who send law students down to work with people in El Paso. And what they said was 80% of
the people who get law student support on a volunteer
basis for like, two weeks or something like that, 80%
of them end up being released and allowed to continue
pursuing their asylum claim. 80% of the people who
don’t get that support end up being deported immediately. So you get a sense of the
impact that legal support, and we are falling very short on that. Integration classes is
something that really needs to start from the very
beginning when people come in. It’s not something that you
can put off because they are going to be in a completely foreign place. And so they need to both
have the kind of structure in their lives that they can go to a class and they can meet other
people and they connect with people in the United States. But things like language,
learning about the culture, learning basic life skills,
how do you use the public transportation system, financial literacy is a big one that we’ve learned about. Again, MRS does a lot of that. I’m sure the other ones do that as well. But those early integration
classes are really critical and they are certainly being used, or offered, around the world. Psychosocial and spiritual
support also has to start from the very beginning. People come here traumatized. And they need help dealing with stress. And we see that every day
in the detention centers where we work in Texas and
Arizona and Florida and things. People have enormous stress
levels and just giving them a chance to express
what’s stressing them out and also to learn some
skills that help them to deal with their stress can
make a huge difference. But I also want to
highlight spiritual support. It’s important from the
beginning that people who are very observant in their
faith have an opportunity to practice their faith
and get support for that. So to have services available to them, for Muslims to be able
to fast during Ramadan and get support for that
wherever they end up, including in the detention centers. Those kinds of things are hugely important when people first arrive
so that they can feel like they have some
normalcy in their life. And the important things
that are sources of support are continuing in their lives. Education, sometimes that’s
seen as a later intervention for forcibly displaced people
but it really has to start from the very beginning. For students, this is a
class in Brundy that I was at last week and you can see the enthusiasm. One thing I will say about
refugees and displaced young people, they are so
enthusiastic about education. They want education. I was in Lebanon and met a Syrian family. And while I was there in
the middle of the day, their two 12 year old twin
boys came rushing home. They’d been working all
morning, like four or five hours of work in the morning,
one at a barbershop, one at a bakery, and ran home, showered, and were ready to go off to school and couldn’t wait to get to school. They were so committed to going to school for another four or five
hours into the early evening. And I kept thinking that 12
year olds in this country don’t have that level of
enthusiasm or appreciation for school, but refugees and
forcibly displaced children do. And we need to meet that need immediately and we need to assume, here in the US, that they can’t just be dropped into a public school and thrive. So the support systems that
help them to kind of adapt to the US system, that’s very important. Another thing that my colleagues mentioned that is a very important
best practice is to create mentors and we’ve talked about
that a little bit already, that that can really make the difference. There may be challenges to volunteers, but that really can make
the difference in people being able to adjust to a community and for the community to accept them. And again, there are a lot
of, there’s Power Program that MRS has and there are
a lot of other programs that connect people in
a way that they have that support and have mentors. Germany has done a
fabulous job of that, too. So the final point that I want to make, and this isn’t exactly a
best practice for welcoming refugees and other displaced
people, asylum seekers and others, but it is
something that’s important from the very beginning and
others have mentioned it, which is the need to communicate
the stories of refugees and displaced people and
advocate on their behalf. That has to start from the very beginning in local communities to tell their story because they are often
quite remarkable people. It’s something I say all the time. The refugees that I meet,
or forcibly displaced people that I meet, have been through
traumas that I can’t imagine and are adapting to situations
and struggling in ways that I can’t imagine and yet, they are kind and
welcoming and compassionate and they build new communities
and they’re survivors. And I often think they’re
much stronger people than I would be in those situations. And we need to get their story out. They are impressive people who deserve to have their stories
told and it’s something we need to do always and everywhere to communicate and advocate. Thank you. (audience applauding) – So thank you Katharine for
inviting me to Georgetown. But not for putting me at the
end of a formidable panel. (audience laughing) That’s a little difficult. But I’m prepared. I have nice visuals that
have maybe little to do with what I’m going to talk
about, but if you, you know, get bored, if I start to duplicate things, at least you have something
inspiring to look at. To be clear, I’m not an academic. I’m not a professor. I’m an aid worker. I work for the International
Rescue Committee. And we work across the globe
along the arc of crisis. We work in places like Yemen,
Syria, El Salvador, Greece. We have offices in Berlin and Boise. And the common threat of our
presence all over the world is that we work with
people that are displaced because of war conflict or violence. And you know, some of
my colleagues said this, what we are inspired by is the immense resilience of the people that
we work with and you know, we consider it a real
honor to be able to work along people and to really help, you know, basically their efforts to
thrive in their new community. Now, for today’s discussion,
I was asked a little bit to provide the global experience of IRC. And I will talk about successful
admission and integration practices at some point as well. I think, you know, talking
about the global environment and I have to go to the next slide, this is our
network, by the way. Talking about the global environment. I think it’s an understatement to say that today’s environment is harsh
for refugees and migrants. I think that under President
Trump, the United States is leading a race to the bottom when it comes to refugee
and asylum protection. And that the logic for that
assault is really based on fake arguments around
security, around integration failure or, you know, around
the economic costs of program. And, you know, just reacting
a little bit already to someone, one of the
earlier panelists said, I think we have to be a little
careful also not to sort of like go along in that
crisis language, right. I mean, if you talk about
refugees, they’re .3% of the world’s population. 30,000 refugees, 100,000
refugees, you know, have nothing to do with,
you know, the capacity or the ability of this country to work. So we have to be careful
when we talk about numbers that we don’t adopt the crisis
or the alarmist language. This administration has
really framed refugees and migrants as a domestic issue. As an issue of insiders,
us, versus outsiders, them, that we need to be afraid of. But the really troubling thing is that it doesn’t only impact
our domestic politics, it has huge foreign policy implications. To give you one example,
largely due to the American withdrawal, the shortfall of global resettlement places was 94%. There is about 1.3 million people in need of immediate resettlement. At the moment, we are barely
able to provide resettlement to 90,000 people across the world. You know, that even concerns
people like the Department of Defense because they have
to deal with America’s allies that start to worry about
well what’s going on with refugee policies. At the moment, there
is about 100,000 Iraqis that actually helped
our government in Iraq waiting to be resettled
in the United States. But a promise, you know,
that so far, you know, is not being kept by this country. It’s not only the US that
has become more restrictive. Although I think it’s
slightly different in tone and rhetoric, Europe too has
gone to much more restrictive policies and it’s populous
members like Hungary that are really driving the
EU to sort of outsourcing their border management to
places like Turkey and Libia. Europe’s resettlement framework,
despite decades of work, is still a work in construction. Austria, currently the chair
of the EU, has announced it’s intention not to sign the
global compact on migration. So to me, it’s not a surprise
that say countries like Kenya, Lebanon, you know, are saying
well, if the developed world is not doing much, why would we do that. And that’s a huge problem because 84% of the world’s refugees
is in these places. And that has dramatic
consequences for, you know, our ability to protect people. 5,000 Venezuelans escaping
their countries a day. The Central Americans
knocking on America’s door. Syrians that are basically
trying to get into Europe but stuck in, you know,
detention camps in Greece. Now, as I said earlier, much
of this narrative, right, is really based on fear
mongering, misrepresenting the security risks, and the economic cost of refugees and migrants. And the actual story of
migration and integration is much more nuanced and
successful all over the world. And that’s something that
we in IRC see every day with the people that we work with. But anecdotal evidence of
course is not evidence. And I mean, at Georgetown,
a room full of scientists, right, I do feel that we have
to provide some evidence. The President’s policies ignore
the fact that since 1980, three million people have more
or less successfully adapted to life in the United States. Economic evidence that says
that labor force participation and income of refugees rise over time in the US, elsewhere. To give you one example,
2015, you know, refugees contributed or raised
revenue about $70 billion and contributed $20 billion of
tax revenue to this country. So over time, I believe it was
Bill Evans that did research with USCCB that’s
demonstrated that over time, it’s actually a net positive
impact that refugees bring. And that is only looking at
the economic contributions. You know, I don’t need
to do the sort of like debunking of the security myths. I think the KATO Institute
did that very effectively here in the United States. But you know, just one
single fact, you know, since 1980, not a single
refugee has committed a lethal act of violence
against Americans on US soil. And you know, for me,
as a resettlement agency and I talk often to
colleagues about that as well, it’s a real mystery how
we’ve lost this war on facts and evidence and I mean, you
know, I think it would make for a fascinating field
of research, really, to look at that, but
again, I am digressing and I’m supposed to talk about integration and early admission. Now, integration is not an
easy term, as you well know. So in the next few minutes,
I’m gonna go a little into the weeds and I, you know,
ask you to forgive me. But at the same time, it’s
not my fault that say people can not agree about what integration is. There’s broad agreement that
integration is about moving from outsider to insider status. But, you know, how you
measure that, you know, is actually a much more
difficult question. And we as practitioners
have actually tried to talk to academics for a long time,
you know, how do you do that. I wanted to introduce a
recent tool from one of your colleagues institutions,
Stanford’s immigration policy. They recently introduced a
immigrant integration index and I like the tool because
it’s a very simple tool. But also because Stanford’s
definition of integration comes very close to the
one we are applying at IRC, which is basically the
degree to which refugees and immigrants have the
knowledge and capacity to build a successful and fulfilling life. So when we look at
integration, we don’t only look at economic integration, you know, which is often the public narrative. But we look basically at six dimensions. Psychological integration,
how connected do people feel to their new country? Is there a sense of belonging over time? Economic integration, apart
from income and having a job, there’s also the notion of
job satisfaction as well, how happy are people in their jobs. Political integration, do
people understand the political system for starters but then
also are they actually able to and will they take political action? Social integration, you know,
there’s a notion of identity but then there’s also the
notion of bridging identities which is, I think, a
really important aspect of integration as well. And then linguistic
integration and navigational integration, speak for themselves. Now when we talk about
integration also, right, I think in dealing with
many different populations, it’s also very difficult to measure it because the populations that
we work with are so diverse and our own research around
integration has also indicated that say where people are
from, their gender, you know, the duration of stay in the country, the age of arrival, legal
status, are all factors that impact integration results. And, you know, we don’t understand
enough about the dynamics and we should because integration is such a contested concept. So it is really important
to consider these things. I wanted to, I’m almost out of the weeds, I wanted to, you know,
bring up two more points. And that is that we also
really should not forget that say integration models
are also defined by ourselves and by our cultural background. For example, the US model of
integration is really a model that is fully based on
early self sufficiency. Realizing, you know, the economic dream. And so a lot of our
integration programming is really focused on early employment, financial coaching, that kind of stuff. Now, the linguistics, amongst
you must have noticed by now that I am not American, that
I’m Dutch, I’m European. And Europe’s model of
integration is a different one. There it is more about how do
people have equitable access to what still is a welfare society. And so in Europe, you know,
refugees and immigrants have a much longer runway to
the process of integration. Now whether that’s a good
or a bad thing, right, I will leave that
completely in the middle. But what is important to
remember is that these cultural differences also have an
impact on type of programming and have an impact on, you
know, how we measure success. I wanted to sort of like come
to a form of a conclusion because no matter, you know,
no matter your culture, no matter the differences,
I think there are a couple of core elements that we
as the IRC have witnessed that are really important
and that need to be arranged for successful integration. I think the first thing
that I would say is that say people should have a right
to belong in a place. And the most permanent version
of that is citizenship, of course, but before
that there are other forms of legal status that if
they are not arranged, it creates a vacuum that
basically stops people from integrating well. And if I see in the US, I
mean, the fact that refugees have basically a legal
status when they come and have a clear path to citizenship, that is changing their
outlook on their own ability to succeed and if you compare
that with say asylum seekers in Europe that for months are
in an asylum seeker center without being able to work,
without being able to learn the language, without having
a prospect of a legal status, that is really an important component. And, you know, how important
that is actually, you know, we can see not too far away. If you see how a lot
of the American nations that are actually supporting
Venezuelan refugees are now quick to sort of
legalize Venezuelan’s presence in that country and sort
of like provide some form of a legal status, that does
make the situation easier. I mean, the numbers are
enormous and there’s a lot of pressures on those countries as well, so I’m not saying it is perfect, but there are ways really
to think about this right of belonging and
about conferring status as swiftly as possible and
also ensuring that during the process, skills and
integration is not being lost. It’s also important to
sort of like, you know, give people a rights to defend them and then give them the
tools to defend them and so legal services are
definitely a critical component in all of these programmings as well and they need to be combined
with social management or case management services. And you know, if you look at the lessons that the US is learning,
you know, on this, at the moment, they’re
not learning any lessons because they’re doing the
opposite of what should be done. Second thing, the right to work. Whether we look at Uganda
or Salt Lake City, Utah, the fact that people
have the ability to work, make a living for themselves,
is hugely important and cannot be underestimated. Also because of the reasons
that Rachel mentioned earlier, the fact that the refugees
works is actually gonna benefit the community that they’re in as well. People buy stuff, they buy
houses, they become economic contributors to the larger ecosystem. Now, of course when integration
policy makers make decisions they do need to look at who is coming, what are their skills,
and they also need to look at where are these people best placed. And I was very glad to hear Mike talk about the matching algorithms. I think nowadays, because of technology, we have a lot more ability
to sort of like match supply and demand and to make
these decisions in a more considerate way than maybe they
have been taken in the past. The third thing that I would
say and I believe everyone else on the panel said it as well,
so it’s just more reinforcing the point, that integration,
successful integration is mostly a local thing. You can’t sort of like ensure integration by having a national policy. It really is done in local
communities with the support of local law enforcement, with
the support of local leaders, with the support of local business people. And our next, I think, panel will speak much more eloquently about it. But we have learned at the IRC that say mayors are as important interlocutors for us as that say the heads of an immigration
department in countries are. So I’m really coming to the end. You know, and I could talk
for much longer about this, 15 minutes is not enough to
do justice to this topic. But I want to leave also with, you know, a positive notion and and it goes back to the
point that I started with. I think there is a tendency of, you know, highlighting the crises
and sort of like almost have a defeatist approach to the problem. This problem of migration,
of refugee resettlement is a manageable problem, we can solve it. None of this, with political
will, is unsolvable. Like I said, we are talking
about, in the terms of refugees, we’re talking about .3%
of the world’s population. Migration, right, that is now
a big word and a big notion. There is this professor Leo
Lucassen from the Netherlands, he has basically convincingly demonstrated that during history, it’s about 3% of the world’s population
that’s migrating. Today, that’s no different. We should solve this. We should have many more
interactions like this where I think practitioners
and academia talk about how to best do that. But I believe definitely
that there is a way out of this refugee and
migration challenge. And I look forward to further discussing how we’re going to do that. Thank you. (audience applauding) – Okay, we are now opening
the floor to Q and A. We have microphones, so
just raise your hand. People will be coming from either side. There are a few questions
on both sides here. And we’ll take the Q and A
seated, since everyone is mic’ed. Okay, go ahead. – Thank you all so much. Such a wonderful panel. I had a couple comments
and then a question. Hans, I’m sorry to disagree with you. You made the point, you said
you think the United States is leading the race to the
bottom on immigration policy. I’m ashamed to say I think Australia has already won that race. And I think if you want to see where some of these exclusionary
tendencies in the US and Europe will end up, you only
have to look at Australia. – [Hans] I concede that point. – Yep. Yeah, I also wanted to just
respond to what you finished with at the end and just say
I wonder if one of the reasons why we keep hearing
these language of crisis is because we see
migration gets constructed as an exception, as an aberration, where actually, historically,
migration just happens. It’s a normal part of
life and we need to shift this language from seeing it as a problem, as a crisis, to just something
that’s just an everyday nothing to see here kind of phenomenon. The question that I
wanted to put to the panel was something I noticed in
each of your presentations was this emphasis on the
economic contribution of refugees and development,
the thriving of communities and things, and my
question is what happens to people who can’t contribute? What kind of narrative
do we have around them? How do we kind of make sure
that they’re stories are told as well and how does that kind of fit in and how do your
organizations each approach that kind of issue? – Feel free. Not everyone has to answer
every question, of course. – So actually, the way
I would say it is that everyone is an economic contributor. And I mean, HIAS is very intent on serving the disabled, people that can’t work, but that adds cultural value to society. I have a 13 year old, she
volunteers with refugees. She learns and becomes
more aware of the world in a way that she wouldn’t otherwise. I think that’s a really good
question because sometimes I know that I get, come across
like this is a capital thing and it’s about economics,
but I think it’s about the cultural impact as well
and that that has an impact. So we, and HIAS especially,
boasts about the fact that we try to take the most vulnerable. And actually we, I mean
I didn’t say much about, I talked about HIAS in the US context, but HIAS is actually in 11 or
12 countries around the world and we’re actually hired
by UN HCR to do screening. Though people in these countries
won’t know that it’s HIAS, but we’re actually doing the
screening and making referrals to UN HCR but I think that’s
a really good question. – Hans? – So I think you pointed
at the dilemma, right, because you know, on the
one hand, agencies like HIAS and the IRC, we want to promote the image of the successful resilient
refugee that survives, thrives, as an example that is possible. But of course, not every
refugee is a Sergey Brin or a Madeleine Albright. Not every refugee is a
person with severe war trauma that can’t function anymore. So the way that we work
with refugees that say, you know, are very vulnerable
or that are not making it is there’s a lot of work to
be done in the United States in particular to make
sure that people receive the services that they need. I pointed to the differences
between Europe and America as you know, one being a welfare state and the other with a much
stronger welfare system. A lot of our work in the
United States is about, you know, educating, health
departments, you know, providing the cultural
competency that say, these health departments
need to, for example, also deal with complex
mental health trauma as well. So yes, there are very
vulnerable people that are not always the economic success. They’re being supported as well. You know what the good thing is, and that is also something
that say we have to say as well is I can go to any red
state in America, right, any city, and I will find
a warm, welcoming community whether it’s faith based,
whether it’s volunteers, that are willing to step up
also to support these people. So again, I mean not sort of like to fight with my colleagues, right,
but this fatigue of supporting refugees, I don’t feel
it in the United States. I would actually feel the opposite and where there is almost like a paradox. We have this toxic
narrative at the center, but then we have this really
sort of like volunteers rising up at the local level. And in Europe, we see similar things. Pew did a poll recently
that basically showed that say if you explain,
you know, what refugees have gone through or who they
are, the support to actually receive them and integrate
them rises immediately. Sorry, that was a long answer. – I’d like to just quickly
respond to that if it’s okay. First of all, we have
a sister organization called Welcome to
Australia in Australia, so. You know, I have a pragmatic
and a spiritual take on that question. On the pragmatic side, I think,
what we found in practice is that the real economic benefits come not because you’re putting
people into a workforce as workers or sort of
immigrants as widgets coming into an economy,
but because you’re actually realizing people’s innate
human potential in a community, whether that’s in a work force,
whether that’s as a parent participating in their child’s education, there’s a million
different ways to see that and not all of them relate to
somebody’s economic ability. And that takes me to the
spiritual side which is what we’re really talking about
here is how do we overcome our othering of one
another to see one another as human beings and that’s
a much deeper spiritual need that we have right now in our world. And I think until we
tap into that reserve, all of this becomes just a
superficial policy conversation when it’s really about that. – And I’ll just add that and
kind of building on that, I think we have a long
history of first generation immigrants struggling
incredible ways and yet, the long term benefit of
having those families here and later generations and things. So I think there are many
different ways to explain how in the long run and in the short run, given different gifts. I know there are places that
we see all over the world where refugees and displaced
people are not allowed to work under any circumstances
and they volunteer. And they contribute. And they want to contribute. So there are so many different
ways to tell that story but I think one of it
also is generational, that we will see a long term benefit of people coming here
from different places. – Other questions right here. Use the mic please, yes. – Hi, this question’s
addressed to Joan and Hans, brought up the international perspective. So I’m interested in this
process of policy transfer between developing countries
in terms of refugee issues. So how can Colombia, that is
currently trying to define a refugee policy learn
from Lebanon or Jordan? Or what we can learn from
Uganda, especially in conditions in which the developed
world is not leading the way in trying to provide perhaps assistance and best policy and best practices? So from your organization,
what has been the experience in terms of policy transfer and learning between developing countries? – Go ahead. Go first. – Yeah, I’m happy to go first. It’s interesting that you’re
bringing this up, right, because in particular a
lot of people are making the comparison by what’s
happening in Venezuela right now with what happened in
Zimbabwe and how, you know, countries supported each other
and trying to understand it. I am not aware of any
sort of like conversations that are happening between countries. But what I do know is
that, you know, and this is a good thing that the
state department in fact, that the state department, you
know, provided some financial support to agencies like
the IRC to provide technical assistance to countries that
wanna set up a refugee policy that want to set up a resettlement scheme. They did that for Europe and
developing countries there. And a similar project now
is underway for the Americas as well, so where there is say
like a transfer of knowledge about, you know, what
happened in other situations and to see whether that
can be of use there. I think your idea is actually
much more exciting idea and it is something that we
maybe should try to figure out how we can activate that. But there is definitely
knowledge transfer happening at this point. – Yeah, I would just add
that I think we have a responsibility to play a key
role, organizations like ours, because we are in all those countries and we’re seeing what’s
happening on the front lines. And you know, for JRS in
particular, we have three key dimensions to our mission, accompaniment, service, and advocacy. So if we are not bringing
knowledge and experience from different parts of
the world to our advocacy in a given country when they’re
facing a situation like that then we’re really falling
short of our mission. And I think there’s enough, a not insignificant amount of
cooperation and partnership among a range of different,
I mean, we work with IRC all the time and we work with CRS, so I think our role in
that, we have to step up and really take responsibility for sharing some of that knowledge. – Yeah. Can I make one additional– – One short comment. – Now, that actually, you
know, we got to hand that declaration, I believe
there’s actually something that the rest of the world
could learn from the Americas because it’s a much wider,
I think, approach to, you know, conferring refugee
status or protective status to people, so maybe we should invite the Colombians to come to here. – Okay, one more question. Right here. All the way in the back, yeah. – Thanks again, all of you,
for the work that you do and for your presentations. My question is actually kind
of similar to the first one. I know that Canada has
been really proactive in bringing like Yazidi
women, especially like widows and their families and I’m
pretty sure just actually kind of from hearsay that
they’re being resettled in kind of rural areas,
maybe not super rural but not in urban population centers. And I’m wondering just
logistically, as far as like immediate resettlement,
how that can possibly work and what they’re doing
that might be different from what the United States is doing, both like immediate resettlement
and maybe long term. Given that they’re widows,
mostly uneducated, illiterate, facing those challenges, thanks. – Yeah, so I’m not really
familiar with that specific practice in Canada but I can speak to some, like, general comparisons. I think one of the main
differences between Canada and the United States is
indeed the level of health care and health insurance that
is available in Canada and not in the US, which makes,
I think, the resettlement of vulnerable cases, I think,
a more feasible approach. Canada as you know also has
a private sponsorship program where groups of private
sponsorships, of private members of society, are able to
provide like in a very systemic way support financially but
also other types of support. Where that in the US,
I mean, it’s happening but it’s in a different developed state. In the US, the decision of
where a family goes, right, is often a function of is there
already other family members are they here, if that’s
the case, people usually want to be with their
families so they go there. And then there’s also a
view on what are the needs of a certain family and
that also drive decisions where these families are best resettled. So, you know, a family
with complex medical needs is not going to be resettled in the state where we know that the public
benefits are bare bones. So there are ways to look at that. There are ways that that
is being considered. But the question about the Ezidi widows, I just don’t have enough
information to be able to answer that question. – I would just say that,
I mean, Hans mentioned the private sponsorship model. Canada actually, and I don’t
know the exact percentage, but in Canada, families will
actually, or communities, will come together and
actually they effectively sign a contract that
they’re going to look after and support a refugee family for one year. And it’s a very, very structured process. So I don’t know about the
case that you’re talking about but I would imagine that
it’s possible that in some of these rural areas,
maybe there are groups that have signed that agreement
with the Canadian government to focus on widows specifically
though I can’t say for sure. But the Canadians are really good at it. And so that’s a good thing. – Although, go ahead, please. – Well, just to add that JRS
Canada supports and facilitates the private resettlement
program and there is a great deal of kind
of systems set up about what they have to agree to
do and how much financially they have to have in place and all of that to make that work and a
lot of community support. What I hear from my
colleagues there is though that they really want to lift
up the government program as well because they’re
afraid that the government is going to say, well,
we’ve got this voluntary church organizations and
communities and things that are doing this and we
don’t need to do so much, and in fact it’s the government programs that resettle the most vulnerable and the most at risk people. The private system is
really designed for people who have a high likelihood of thriving in the new environment and the
people who are greater risk are supported by the government. I’ve not heard them say
that there’s a problem with the Yazidis being
resettled in rural areas. I’ll certainly ask them about
it and see what I can find out but I know that they are very supportive of the government continuing their program because they do take
more at risk refugees. – And just to add a
little bit of quick nuance to this, I think one of
the interesting things that happens at least with
rural communities in the US is people initially may
get resettled somewhere but then, you know, we celebrate
freedom in this country and there’s the law of two
feet and so people will move to where their families
are or where the jobs are and in a lot of cases, that
may be a rural community where you have a poultry
processing plant opening, for example, and so then
the question becomes, in that dynamic of a lot of
natural migration happening not only to the US but internally, how do we make sure every place
that a person might come to is one that is ready to incorporate them. And I think that’s where the challenge is but also where the opportunity is. – Okay, one more question here. You need a microphone, so hold on. – I live in Greenbelt,
Maryland, and I belong to the Catholic community of Greenbelt, which is the breakaway from Saint Hughes. We’re not mad at them or
anything, we just broke away. We put together some money to do something with refugee families and to incorporate them
right into where we live. The county overruled us,
Prince George’s county, they said we could not do it. And it really, how they got
wind of it or how they knew, I don’t know, but this was very serious and it was heartbreaking
all the way around. And I just want to know if
anybody can comment on that. Thank you. – I guess I would just say
it comes back to the idea that we have to be advocates at all times and because, you know, if
you have local governments that are establishing those
kinds of restrictions, the only way to overcome
it is to mobilize people to advocate on behalf of
resettlement of refugees in your communities. So it’s heartbreaking to
hear that that happened but we’ve got to shift the
policies at every level, I think, and that has to be a part of
the ongoing way that we think about what it takes to respond to refugees and other displaced people. – I’m just really surprised about that and I would be furious and
I would just ignore them. (audience laughing) I mean, really, there are, I
mean, Lutheran Social Services and the IRC are both
resettling in Maryland. I don’t know if IRC touches
Prince George’s county but the Lutherans are actually resettling in Prince George’s county. They have fantastic, they
have this thing called the Circle of Welcome
where they pull together, maybe that was. So I don’t know what the
case is in that scenario but I know there’s need so kudos to you and I’m sorry the government did that. – And I would just add to
that, I mean, I don’t know the particulars of that situation. You’re gonna hear from two
great local government leaders in the next panel who maybe
can be some role models to Prince George’s county,
but Prince George’s county also has some peers in
Maryland that are doing, you know, moving in
the opposite direction. Baltimore city is one example. So maybe there’s some need
for some local organizing and I’m happy to talk more after this in terms of local
government here in Maryland. – Okay. Well, I think we’re out of time. I would, the panelists
will be here for a bit, so please seek them out and
just know the next panel will be dealing with some
of the more local issues in different metropolitan
areas around the country. So thank you so much to all
of you and to all of you. (audience applauding)

2 thoughts on “Global Refugees and Migration in the 21st Century: Policies and Narratives of Inclusion Panel 1

  1. Maria Schick Post author

    America can not save the whole world.. so sorry to be the bearer of bad news…
    So we have 22 million illegal aliens and 1000's of thousands more coming here all the time…
    what is democrats solution? Open Borders?
    ..Democrats are the party of illegal alien workers even our American unions support illegal aliens.
    it's sad the left and liberals and the Democratic party cares more about non citizens than the poorest American workers that illegal alien labor hurts most

    Reply
  2. Maria Schick Post author

    Why can't we give refugee status to the little American children in Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore and LA that live in poverty and shootings everyday?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *