The population of foreign-born Americans represents a significant portion of those individuals living inside U.S. borders. In fact, there are 43 million foreign born living in the U.S.; the entire population of Canada is only 38 million. We are living in a time where the most basic human rights of immigrants in the U.S. and across the world are being called into question, as growing conservative political movements call for their expulsion. More and more in developed nations worldwide, the voice of the people suggests that refugees are no longer welcome.
On October 28th, a shared event from BCSSW and the Boston College School of Law presented concrete programs and opportunities that exist against this alarming backdrop: Leaders in the field participated in a panel discussion that addressed the exploitation of immigrants, including fraud, scams, and financial threats to the foreign born living in America, as well as resources for lawyers and social workers working to mitigate these threats.
“Successful immigrant integration, and the subsequent unfortunate exploitation of immigrants that occurs in our country affects massive numbers of people,” said event convener BC Social Work Associate Professor Westy Egmont, Director of the School’s Immigrant Integration Lab. “We are a wonderfully rich community at Boston College with a variety of folks interested in immigration and justice. We have a real opportunity to work together here to think creatively about how to best serve New Americans by increasing awareness, service and legal defense. Interschool and interdisciplinary efforts will advance our commitment to applied research, excellent professional training and a shared BC value of learning in service of others.”
The event began with a presentation from Robin E. Eichen, Senior General Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, on immigrant-specific programs designed to protect these new Americans against fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the market place.
Responding panelists included:
- Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law at BC, and the Director of the International Human Rights Program
- Mary Holper, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of the Immigration Clinic at BC Law
- Timothy Depin, Constituent Services Coordinator, Community Engagement Division, Office of Attorney General in Boston
“It’s really uplifting, and I’m very happy to see the FTC doing this work,” said Kanstroom. “Ronald Reagan… used to say, ‘the most terrifying words in the English language are we’re from the federal government and we’re here to help.’ But in fact, the federal government does help, even as other aspects [of the federal government] have hurt them deeply by deporting them.”
Kanstroom then went on to discuss the intersection of these realities in his response. For these astute remarks, and the rest of the event, watch the complete video below.