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Faculty roundtable focuses on U.S. immigration, migration, and refugees


Americans have always resisted immigration despite ample evidence that it benefits the country, argued three Cornell professors at a faculty roundtable on June 10, 2016 in the Lewis Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall.

Historian Maria Cristina Garcia, sociologist Shannon Marie Gleeson, and lawyer Stephen Yale-Loehr discussed problems with the U.S. immigration and refugee systems, and what Congress and the next president can do to fix them. To see a video of the event, please click here

The annual reunion event was hosted by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. The topic of migration and immigration has been a focus area for the center over the past academic year, and the subject of several on-campus events. 

About the speakers

Maria Cristina Garcia is Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida (California 1996) which examines the state policies that facilitated the post-revolutionary migration of Cubans to the United States, and the Cubans’ emergence as an influential political lobby and entrepreneurial business community. Her second book, Seeking Refuge: Central American Migration to Mexico, the United States, and Canada (California, 2006), is a comparative study of the international responses to the Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Nicaraguan refugee crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, and the role non-governmental organizations and transnational advocacy networks played in re-framing national debates about immigration and influencing a more responsive refugee policy. She won a 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship supporting her research on “Climate Refugees: The Environmental Origins of Refugee Migrations.”

Shannon Gleeson is associate professor of labor relations, law, and history at the ILR School. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology and demography from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, and joined the ILR faculty in 2014, after six years in the Latin American & Latino Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on the experiences of low-wage workers, the bureaucratic processes of labor standards enforcement, and the importance of civil society in making rights real. Her first book, Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston, was published in 2012 by Cornell University Press. A new book, Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States, is forthcoming from the University of California Press.

Steve Yale-Loehr has practiced immigration law for over 30 years. He is co-author of Immigration Law and Procedure, a 20-volume treatise on U.S. immigration law. He also teaches immigration and asylum law at Cornell Law School as Professor of Immigration Practice and is of counsel at Miller Mayer in Ithaca, New York. He founded and was the original executive director of Invest in the USA, a trade association of EB-5 immigrant investor regional centers. Mr. Yale-Loehr received his B.A. degree from Cornell University in 1977 and his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School in 1981. He is a member of the New York bar, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is also a founding member of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers,, a global consortium of top business immigration attorneys.He chairs the asylum committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

About the roundtable:

The Einaudi Center regularly organizes roundtable discussions on campus and in major metropolitan areas to give Cornell alumni an opportunity to interact with faculty on important topics and to provide them with insights on international affairs.