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Haiti & Cuba: The Politics of US Immigration Policy

Thu June 15 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT

Haiti & Cuba

The Politics of US Immigration Policy

June 15, 2023, 8:00 pm

The U.S. is experiencing great waves of migration to its borders. There are multiple factors driving this migration, economic, climate-related, and socio-political.  But importantly, and not for the first time in its history, the reception that these migrants receive as they try to enter the United States is not the same for all and perhaps needs to be understood in both the U.S. domestic and U.S. geopolitical context.  There is a push-me-pull-me effect that is, well, confusing.  We want to understand what drives migration, and we also want to understand why it is that different migrants from different countries are treated differently when they get here.

To undertake this analysis we are going to look at two countries that are frequently in the news, Cuba and Haiti, as a way to begin to understand U.S. immigration policy and the U.S. immigration narrative.  Both countries have experienced revolutions against foreign and colonial domination, Haiti some 220 years ago, Cuba just 64 years ago and then were met with unrelenting intervention from the United States.  When this intervention and meddling contributed to migration from those home countries to the United States by individuals seeking relief from the hardships faced at home, migrants from Haiti and Cuba have faced very different receptions when reaching the U.S. border.

Why? And can understanding both the intervention and meddling and the different reception at the U.S. border help us understand U.S. immigration policy as a whole?

We have asked two leading experts on immigration from these countries to help us understand both the migration from Haiti and Cuba and understand U.S. policy towards these countries and their migrants. We have asked a 3rd expert on Haiti and the Caribbean to moderate. Let’s see if out of this discussion, we can understand the complexities and impasses of U.S. immigration policy better. 

Susan Eckstein is a Professor in the Pardee School of Global Studies and in the Sociology Department at Boston University. She has a strong focus in her work on Cuba, Cuban immigrants, immigration policy, and the impacts of Latin American revolutions. Her books include The Immigrant Divide: How Cuban Americans Changed the U.S. and Their Homeland, Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro, Power, and Popular Protest: Latin American Social Movements (editor), The Poverty of Revolution: The State and Urban Poor in Mexico, The Impact of Revolution: A Comparative Analysis of Mexico and Bolivia, and her most recent book, Cuban Privilege: The Making of Immigrant Inequality in America

Guerline Jozef is a leading human rights advocate who dedicates her life to bringing awareness to issues that affect us all locally and globally, such as immigration, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and other human rights issues. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies. HBA provides migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, deportation defense, legal, and social services. It has a particular focus on Black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. She has won numerous awards for her work.

Marc Prou will moderate the discussion.  Dr. Prou is an Associate Professor of Africana and Caribbean Studies in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Director of the Haitian Language and Culture Institute, and co-founder of the Haitian Studies Association. The research work undertaken by Dr. Prou focuses on Haiti and the Caribbean within a global context. His research interests place special attention on social and cultural history, migration and Diaspora, language, education reform, and national development. His scholarship and applied research address the intersection between cultural studies and post-colonial theories as a means for developing critical transnational and trans-cultural perspectives on matters of race, class, and gender.

RegisterSponsored by MAPA’s Latin America/Caribbean working group, Cuba Subcommittee, and Racial Justice/Indigenous Solidarity working group.  Register to attend.


Thu June 15
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT


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