This conversation will take on the state of American immigrant integration in the 21st century: beyond fiery debates online, in the media, and on the political stage over immigration, ordinary people in communities across the United States confront this integration daily. Some deal with incorporating newcomers into their communities; others are adjusting to life in a new country. What works and where are the challenges we must confront? Research shows significant progress in integration over time and across generations, whether we examine income, education, or English language ability. We also find some problems: immigrants are healthier than those born in the United States and are less likely to commit crimes, but these benefits disappear with their US-born children. As we grapple with the reality of immigration and the changing nature of American identity, how can we build on the best of American values and immigrants’ promise?
Irene Bloemraad’s research examines how immigrants become incorporated into the political and civic life of their adopted countries and the consequences of their presence for politics and understandings of citizenship. Her workhas been published in journals spanning sociology, political science, history, and ethnic/migration studies. She is the author or co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, Rallying for Immigrant Rights, Civic Hopes and Political Realities, and Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada. In 2014 and 2015, Bloemraad served as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences committee reporting on the integration of immigrants into U.S. society. She believes that excellence in research and teaching go hand-in-hand and is the proud recipient of multiple Cal teaching and mentorship awards.
Ali Noorani leads the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration. Growing up in California as the son of Pakistani immigrants, he quickly learned how to forge alliances among people of wide-ranging backgrounds, a skill that has served him well as one of the nation’s most innovative coalition builders. Noorani is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, holds an M.P.H. from Boston University and is a B.A. from Cal. He lives in Washington, D.C., and is the author of There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration.