What is the mission of the Center on Immigration?
The Center on Immigration promotes immigrant justice through education, research, and advocacy. We strive to engage students and scholars in the pursuit of social justice to advance the human rights and dignity of people in migration. Mainly, the center aims to work in solidarity with our immigrant communities to amplify their voices and transform the dominant narrative about immigration. The Center seeks to engage scholars and students in activism and advocacy at the local, national, and global level for migrants, refugees, and survivors of trafficking. The Center also strives to be a leading resource for proposed solutions to the inherent problems in immigration law and policy.
What prompted you to create this Center?
Issues affecting the immigrant community are nothing new. However, we currently live in a time where so much is happening politically, thus creating divisiveness, that there’s no better time to use education to the service of a just cause. The Center’s focus is to use education as a tool to stop the stigmatization of immigrants in this country. The goal is to influence the narrative about people in migration and also promote acceptance and inclusivity at a local and national level. The Center aspires to further the work and legacy of Mother Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants.
What do you want everyone to know about the Center?
The Center is a welcoming place for everyone. We are a nonpartisan organization fostering interdisciplinary collaboration. We want to engage and captivate student interest in the issues currently affecting people in migration. The Center is also a source for students who might be going through trauma and need legal advice. In the near future, the Center hopes to provide legal advice and representation prioritizing the needs of our student body.
How is the Center taking action while the current administration is looking to build a wall on the Southern border?
The Center on Immigration takes action by being a vocal force in our community. We engage our students in advocacy and activism on a local and national level. Every semester the Center organizes a day of advocacy, and we take our voices straight to Washington D.C. We meet with legislative staff to advocate for more just immigration policies. We urge members of Congress to ensure the highest level of funding for humanitarian aid efforts. What is happening on the southern border is a humanitarian crisis and must be addressed. The United States must be a global leader in aiding refugees and displaced people and addressing the root causes of forced displacement.
Where is the department located?
The Center on Immigration shares a space with the Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education located in Grace Hall, Room 243B.
Are there upcoming events that you would like everyone to know about?
In the fall, the Center will host a symposium focusing on the humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. The Center will also establish a colloquium series for migration scholars in the Philadelphia area. We invite everyone to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter on our website.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Right now is a critical time for people in migration. Misconceptions and political rhetoric surrounding immigration can lead to harmful discourse that attempts to dehumanize persons in migration and encourage hostility. It is critical that we continue to educate others and combat falsehoods. We must resist fear with truth, love, humanity, and solidarity.