Academics, politicians, NGO professionals, and students gathered to discuss the challenges of forced migrants in early March, on the occasion of the second refugee conference held by Princeton University‘s Office of Religious Life.
ICMC’s Head of U.S. Office Jane Bloom was among the panelists of the conference, titled “Seeking Refuge: Faith-Based Approaches to Forced Migration”. She spoke of politicization of migration, starting with President Clinton’s “Wet Foot Dry Foot Cuban Policy”, which former President Obama rescinded a few days before he left office.
“Playing politics with migration is not a new thing – it goes far beyond today’s headlines, beyond the current President, beyond Muslims, and beyond refugee resettlement. Migration has been a ‘hot potato’ for every President and Congress since the 1890s”, commented Bloom in her speech. “Migration is seen as a key test of our nation’s powers, of its sovereignty, and most importantly its ability to defend against an influx of those who are often perceived as a ‘threat’: a security threat, an economic threat, or a threat to national cultural identity and lifestyles.”
The “Seeking Refuge” conference provided a platform for engaging debates drawing on a genuine concern for refugees’ wellbeing in the United States.