Sunday, January 15, 2023: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Encanto B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Immigrants and Refugees
Odessa Gonzalez Benson, PhD, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Migration policies have come to be hotly debated globally. Immigration has constantly increased over the past five decades, as families seek reunification and individuals pursue opportunities. Demographic changes have prompted nationalist sentiment due to fear of the other. Meanwhile, forced migration is at its highest levels, due to a surge inanti-democratic regimes and escalating violence. Migrants from South and Central America arrived at the southern U.S. border, seeking to escape violence and extreme poverty. Recently, Russian aggression in Ukraine has forced millions of Ukrainians to seek asylum in neighboring countries including the US. As global response, countries design and follow policies with different implications, thus warranting attention. In this symposium, we investigate policies on migration and refugee resettlement with a global perspective, examining histories, modalities and impacts. The papers yield geographical diversity, covering government policies pertaining to the United States, Nigeria, Mexico, Central America and humanitarian policies implemented by the United Nations. The first paper provides a historical and contextual overview of U.S. policy vis-a-vis international refugee policy. Gonzalez Benson takes a look back into the approach of human rights into the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980. Using critical discourse analysis, Gonzalez Benson examines the ways through which human rights were evoked language in public testimonies. The next three papers delve deeper into current and more specific policies on substance abuse, internal displacement and family separation to interrogate their modalities and impacts in the U.S., Nigeria and Central America and Mexico, respectively. Routte focuses on an under-examined aspect to U.S. refugee admissions: admissibility in relation to substance abuse. Using Foucauldian notions of governmentality and biopower, Routte finds that substance abuse is viewed in policy as limiting productivity of refugees and therefore justifies inadmissibility. In addition she argues that streamlined frameworks that link substance abuse to the biological or moral, similarly deem people inadmissible based on certain ideas of desirability and without attention to social determinants of health. Next, Ilesanmi's qualitative study draws from in-depth, semi-structured interviews to explore the impact of the Nigerian welfare state on internally displaced persons (IDP) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic served as a natural experiment illustrating in clear terms how Nigerian policy prioritized citizens in social policy provisions for safety, health, and wellbeing, while neglecting IDPs. Finally, Naseh closes out discussions by providing a review of health implications of family separation as U.S. policy, particularly for migrant families from Mexico and Central America . Naseh' comprehensive systematic review of academic articles brings in an interdisciplinary, integrative perspective to illustrate the role of migration policies as social determinants of health. The four studies in this symposium discuss migration policies at a broader scale, illustrating diverse perspectives globally, from the United Nations and the United States to Nigeria and Mexico and Central America. As a collective, the set of papers in this symposium aims to generate conversations with a comparative, global approach to policy. Our symposium aims to illustrate how policy as a macro-structural factor yields impacts upon the micro-personal level.
* noted as presenting author
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