Dear Mr. President: Mason Experts Offer Immigration Policy Advice to Incoming Administration

Posted: October 9, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

In a weekly series running from now until the election, the Mason Gazette will present the views of expert Mason faculty on various important campaign issues. This week’s focus is on immigration policy.

By Tara Laskowski

David Haines

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

“One of the new administration’s tasks is to look at the issue of undocumented migration — and be frank about it with the American people.

“We might be better off thinking about this issue in terms of the legal status and rights of these people as Mexicans in America, rather than as people from a foreign country who can only be here as immigrants.

If we look at Europe, we can see more progressive and flexible ways of thinking in which being a citizen of one country can provide rights to work and live in neighboring countries. Migration in the contemporary world is much more complex: the directions, reasons and duration of migration can no longer be reduced to a simple ‘from there to here’ idea — an idea that is very much locked into the word ‘immigration.'”

Haines has published and edited numerous articles and books on refugees, immigrants and illegal immigration in the United States and is the convener of an international comparative project on migration in East Asia.

He is the former chair of the American Anthropological Association’s Committee on Refugees and Immigrants.

Jorge Osterling

Associate Professor of Education, College of Education and Human Development

“The immigration problem in the United States is a complex federal, state and local issue that has to be handled and coordinated by numerous agencies, both in the public sector and in the private sector. It should not be limited to Homeland Security nor confused with a law and order issue.”

Since 1996, Osterling has been conducting research that engages and capitalizes on the socio-cultural strengths of grassroots immigrant communities. He believes a comprehensive immigration reform is necessary in dealing with the 12-14 million undocumented people in the United States, and his research explores how children of immigrant origins should be educated in order to become productive and engaged citizens.

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