Panel Discussion: The Truth about Immigration: Discussion of Issues Raised by Focus Groups Organized by Alwan

Thu, June 26, 2008 7:00 pm

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A panel of immigration experts including, Mehdi Bozorgmehr, Philip Kasinitz, John Molkenkopf, Maritsa Poros, and David Dyssegaard Kallick will address views and issues raised by individuals who participated in focus group discussions on immigration organized by Alwan in the past several months.This project was supported by a grant from the New York Immigration Coalition. Alwan convened on-camera sessions with participants from diverse professional backgrounds in finance, real estate, medicine, art and law in Manhattan, Westchester and Long Island. Participants debated in an intimate setting and were encouraged to engage in more reflective arguments, including the sharing of personal insecurities, frailties of logic, and biases.

The discussions raised larger questions such as the free flow of labor in relationship to the free flow of capital; the impact of the American imperium on the mobility of mankind. Iraq has more than 4 million refugees with no sure destination and are generally barred from entering the United States, a situation that has parallels in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Other questions explored are the role of immigrants in the expansion of the dwindling middle class and the impact of the non-Western bourgeois aspirant on Western neo-liberal values and the discursivity of these aspirations in shaping the quotidian and cultural references of American society.


Mehdi Bozorgmehr isAssociate Professor in Sociology at The CUNY Graduate Center (GC) and City College, City University of New York (CUNY). He is also Co-Director of the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC), at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the leading authority on Iranian immigrants in the United States. He is the co-editor (with Roger Waldinger) of the award-winning volume, Ethnic Los Angeles, and the co-author with Anny Bakalian of Backlash 9/11: Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans Respond, a comprehensive, national study which will appear in March 2009 by University of California Press.

David Dyssegaard Kallick is Senior Fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute and coordinator of the Labor Community Advocacy Network to Rebuild New York. He recently authored the report, “Working for a Better Life: A Profile of Immigrants in the New York Economy.”

Philip Kasinitz is Professor of Sociology and the Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in Sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He also serves as the Associate Director of the CUNY Center for Urban Research.His publications include: Caribbean New York: Black Immigrants and the Politics of Race; Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Time; The Handbook of International Migration: the American Experience; Becoming New Yorkers: Ethnographies of the New Second Generation; and most recently, Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age with John Mollenkopf, Mary Waters and Jennifer Holdaway.

John H. Mollenkopf is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at The Graduate Center, CUNY and directs its Center for Urban Research. He has authored or edited more than twelve books, most recently Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age (with Kasinitz, Waters and Holdaway); the Urban Politics Reader (Elizabeth Strom) and Becoming New Yorkers: Ethnographies of the New Second Generation (co-edited with Philip Kasinitz and Mary Waters). His Place Matters: A Metropolitics for the 21st Century (with Peter Dreier and Todd Swanstrom) won the Michael Harrington Award from the American Political Science Association. Other publications include People and Politics in America's Big Citie" (with John Logan), Rethinking the Urban Agenda (co-edited with Ken Emerson) and E Pluribus Unum? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives of Immigrant Political Incorporation (co-edited with Gary Gerstle).

Maritsa Poros is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at The City College of the City University of New York, where she specializes in international migration, urban sociology, race and ethnicity, and inequality. Her current research on ethnic communities in Chicago is funded by the National Science Foundation.She also conducts research and survey development on international migration for the U.S. Census Bureau and has begun work on migrant mobilization in southern Europe. Her recent publications have appeared in American Behavioral Scientist, Global Networks, and Research in the Sociology of Work.


Anny Bakalian is Associate Director of the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMAC) at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of Armenian Americans: From Being to Feeling Armenian and Backlash 9/11: Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans Respond (with Mehdi Bozorgmehr). She has served on the Board of Alwan since 2003.

Last updated: 2008-06-23 12:14:04

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