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Today we are pleased to welcome a new contributor to the Anxious Bench, Melissa Borja. A specialist in Asian American studies, religion, and migration, Melissa is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan in the American Culture program. Her first book, Follow the New Way: Hmong Refugee Resettlement and Practice of American Religious Pluralism, “explores the religious dimensions of American refugee care—how governments have expanded capacity through partnerships with religious organizations and how refugee policies have shaped the religious lives of refugees,” and is under contract with Harvard University Press.
Another showdown over immigration is in the works in Congress, where members of the House are preparing to vote on two immigration measures next week. After months of failed efforts to find a legislative compromise on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, it’s possible that things will turn out differently this time around. Public outrage about U.S. immigration policies is at a high, especially after revelations that the U.S. government been systematically splitting up asylum-seeking families at the border and driving parents to such despair that at least one man committed suicide after being separated from his wife and child. The pressure for reform is mounting, domestically and internationally, and even the United Nations criticized the United States for violating migrants’ human rights.
Vote - Conditions - Opening - Lawmakers - Compromise
And yet I’m not optimistic about the upcoming vote. Even if political conditions offer a new opening for lawmakers to carefully craft a legislative compromise on DACA, many of the central issues in the broader debate about immigration policy remain unresolved. As politicians campaign for the upcoming midterm elections, they are deploying familiar rhetoric—promises to “stop illegals from taking our jobs” and to “build the wall”—that rally voters, but also set lawmakers up for failure by obscuring the complex reality of immigration....
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