Panelists Address Cities’ Roles in Immigration Debate

Fordham Newsroom

Judy Benjamin, Els de Graauw, Annika Hinze, and Jennifer GordonCities have limited influence over immigration policies, but they’re not completely powerless, and the increased federal crackdown on illegal immigrants in the United States may actually be driving cities to band together to share techniques and strategies.
That was one of the conclusions of “Global Migration and Cities: Urban Governance, Migration, and the Refugee Crisis,” a panel discussion held Friday, Feb. 9 at the Lincoln Center campus.
The panel, which was part of conference organized by the Fordham Urban Consortium, featured
-Els de Graauw, P.D., associate professor of political science, at Baruch College
-Jennifer Gordon, professor of law at Fordham Law School
-Annika Hinze, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science and director of the Urban Studies program at Fordham
Judy Benjamin, Ph.D, the Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, moderated the panel, which touched upon everything from the plight of Syrian war refugees to the estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants living in New York City.
Hinze noted that although refugees are no longer confined to camps, and immigrants in the United States no longer only settle in “gateway” cities such as New York City, cities still offer a level of integration that a nation states can’t offer.
“There are already communities in place that provide immigrants with an intermediary, rather than being plunged into a new national context with different customs,” she said.
She said it’s also important to remember that immigrants are also settling in places like Alabama and North Carolina.
“This is an important conversation to have, because in a way, it takes away this dichotomy between the large metropolis and rural areas, because rural areas are increasingly feeding immigration,” she said.
De Graauw agreed, noting that immigrant affairs offices are springing up around the country.
“Ten to 15 years ago, you …

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