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Brookings Seminar Considers the Impact of Changes in Immigration Policy

On September 22, 2017, Dr. Daniel Melnick attended an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC at which a distinguished panel discussed the impact of the current Administration’s immigration policy.  The panel included former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano [currently the President of the University of California System], Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and former Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Doris Meissner, and UnidosUS  Senior Policy Advisor Carlos Guevara.

The panel members strongly criticized the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program [DACA].  They called attention to the impact of this decision on the status of more than 800,000 people and the possible negative impact if other programs—such as those protecting people who have come here from Haiti and El Salvador are also ended.

The panel noted the difficulties that any government would face in taking action against these creative and responsible people who have lived in the United States for long periods of time.  They also noted that the costs of taking action, as well as the costs of building a border wall, would be very high.

In response to a question from Dr. Melnick, Doris Meissner said that the current administration’s actions have created an atmosphere of fear, “changed the image of America” and eroded a core value of America as a welcoming country. She noted that the current Administration views immigration as “a threat and a danger to the country not as an asset.” She noted that “if any group are the victims of threats around the world, it is … the refugees.”

More information about this event can be found on the Brookings website – including a video of the entire event. See

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