Latin America, America Latin: The Dynamics of Immigration and Integration in the Western Hemisphere

An estimated twelve million illegal immigrants live in the United States, up from five million just ten years ago. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2005 some 78 percent of this population was from Latin America. Despite these startling statistics, U.S. immigration law has not changed in twenty years. There is agreement across the political spectrum that the status quo does not work and that immigration reform is necessary, said Deborah W. Meyers, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. Yet as migration policy experts, immigration lawyers, and journalists discussed in a recent symposium hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, "The Dynamics of Immigration and Integration in the Western Hemisphere," the specifics of how to reform U.S. immigration law have provoked heated debate. Panelists discussed the contentious dynamics of U.S. immigration reform from the perspectives of U.S. policymakers, the general public, and immigrants themselves. The symposium was the final event in this year's "Latin America, America Latin" series at the Council, organized by Council Fellow for Latin America Studies Shannon O'Neil and made possible by the generosity of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Summary Report of Symposium: Downloadable PDF

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Meetings

Symposium

Latin America, America Latin: The Dynamics of Immigration and Integration in the Western Hemisphere--Dynamics of Entry (Session 1)

Speakers:

Stephen Pitti, Professor of History and American Studies, and Director of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, Yale University, Deborah Meyers, Senior Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute, Cyrus Mehta, Founder and Managing Attorney, Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, P.L.L.C.

Presider:

Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer
May 22, 2007

This meeting is on the record.

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Symposium

Latin America, America Latin: The Dynamics of Immigration and Integration in the Western Hemisphere: Dynamics of Integration--Exclusion, Assimilation, or Transformation? (Session 2)

Speakers:

Eliseo Medina, International Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union, John Trasvina, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

Presider:

Julia Preston, National Correspondent covering immigration, The New York Times
May 22, 2007

This meeting is on the record.

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