March 15, 2018
As part of its Breakfast Policy Series, the French-American Foundation hosted two experts in law and journalism who led a passionate discussion on immigration enforcement and the history of detention and deportation in the United States. Our two speakers were Camille Mackler, Director of Immigration Legal Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and Seth Wessler, an award-winning investigative reporter and a Puffin Fellow at the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and the winner of the French-American Foundation’s 2017 Immigration Journalism Award.
Both speakers shared touching stories of hard-working Latino immigrants who had made a life for themselves and their families in the U.S. Individuals who were deported between 2008 and 2010 even thought they had no criminal record. Cases where families were separated on the border, were children, born and raised in this country, were sent to live with foster families were among the harsh narratives they shared with the audience. The speakers went on to describe the hardship their spouses and children are left to face as their now “broken apart” families try to deal with daily struggles on both sides of the border.
U.S. immigration policy is always tied to what is happening in a country socially and culturally. For many years, proposals have sought to shift the nation’s immigration system away from its current emphasis on family reunification and employment-based migration, and toward a points-based system that prioritizes the admission of immigrants with certain education and employment qualifications.
President Trump’s immigration policies reverse decades of U.S. immigration policy. His January 2018 immigration plan would offer a 12-year path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants who arrived in the United States illegally as children. The plan would replace President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs.