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Global conflict

Nationality, Religion and Immigration: We Are All Children of Babel
Judge Bruce J. Einhorn (ret.), Professor of Law and Director, Asylum and Refugee Law Clinic, Pepperdine University School of Law

The fair adjudication of asylum claims in the United States, and in particular the determination of an asylum seeker’s credibility, has been made difficult by the cultural dissonance between the Immigration Judge or other government adjudicator on the one hand, and the foreign-born litigant on the other.  Cultural factors of language, understandings of time and chronology, and differences in ethnic background combine to create a disconnection between legally-trained American lawyers and judge, armed with a democratic, Western orientation in communication and comprehension, and non-Western asylum seekers whose narratives are informed by the trauma of their persecution and the cognitive, demeanor-based, and social characteristics of the developing world.  This disconnection causes frustration and suspicion between judges and asylum seekers which in turn occasion the former to discredit the testimony of the latter even when the truth has been told.  Only when judges and other adjudicators are made sensitive to cross-cultural issues and their resolution through interdisciplinary tools shared among lawyers, anthropologists, sociologists, and therapists does the credibility or confabulation of asylum seekers become subject to fair resolution.  Specifically, the creation of a United States Asylum Court, with judges specially trained in cross-cultural communication and with greater access to expert witnesses in the aforementioned fields of study, would be the best way of ensuring justice in credibility determinations regarding the allegedly persecuted.  


United States Occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq: A Hindrance to Combating Global Terrorism
Kema Irogbe, Professor of Political Science, Claflin University

The infamous attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, by Osama Bin Laden-led Al Qaeda network marked a turning point in the relationship between the United States and the Islamic world.  This watershed event led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan (where Al Qaeda organization was harbored by Taliban regime) and the subsequent unjustifiable invasion of Iraq.  How do the continued U.S. occupations of the two Islamic countries help to combat global terrorism? And  do the occupations bridge the gulf between the Islamic world and the United States?
      Drawing aggregate of quantitative and qualitative data, it is argued in this paper that the continued occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq ignite rather than reduce global terrorism and that complete withdrawals hold enormous promise for global peace and security.  In doing so, the paper provides an analysis of the mounting cost of human and financial resources of the wars, the abuses or atrocities committed by the invaders including the application of extraordinary rendition, the indefinite detention of prisoners of war without the benefit of trials, the looting of Iraq treasures, and the effects of the seemingly perpetual and unwinnable wars on the polarization of Muslims and Christians in the United States.  The conclusion is that there is insufficient evidence to establish an optimistic prognosis for the prospects of peace and security in the region of Middle East but ending the U.S. occupations of Islamic territories can be a turning point for the illusive peace.

Religious, Civic, and Interpersonal Capital: Catholic Sisters in One Community’s Response to Migrant Families
Meg Wilkes Karraker, Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Family Studies, and Family Business Center Fellow, University of St. Thomas

How do communities organize public response to the challenges of diversity?  My research uses archival data, content analysis, and interviews with Catholic sisters and other leaders across a spectrum of religious and civic organizations serving migrant families in a medium-sized city in the Midwestern United States.  Earlier analysis revealed that the traditional charisms of Catholic women’s congregations and Catholic sisters’ embeddedness in inter-congregational networks incite their ministries to migrant families today.  In this paper I substantiate that, even in the face of declining demographics, Catholic sisters and their congregations have leveraged social networks across Catholic archdiocese and other faiths, as well as business, education, government, journalism, philanthropic, and social service organizations into critical policy-relevant social capital on behalf of migrant families. 
My research in Bluffton offers implications for communities seeking to serve the common good in the twenty-first century.  Yet the work of securing the position of migrant families in Bluffton remains unfinished.  Hence, I pose questions involving what communities may need to do to maintain the momentum for addressing critical social problems in the twenty-first century.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Human Rights and Immigration
Richard H. Morgan, School of Social Welfare, Stony Brook University

This paper explores the concepts of human rights and immigration.  These two concepts are often associated with each other because of the questions that arise about the duties and obligations that a society has toward newcomers who have migrated into the community from foreign lands.  To what extent should such newcomers be able to expect that they would share in the rights and privileges of native members of the society?  The language of human rights is often used by advocates on behalf of immigrants in an attempt to suggest that certain rights adhere to the human person regardless of current location on the globe.  While the concept of human rights is one that has great appeal, the question of the foundation of human rights remains an ongoing philosophical concern: what are human rights, where do they come from and how are we to understand the basis upon which all human beings and societies could be held accountable for honoring human rights? 
            Amartya Sen is an economist and philosopher who has struggled with these questions in several publications.  In his writings Sen has suggested that attempts to ground the concept of human rights in the traditional Western notion of the Social Contract are not adequate since such contract language has tended to be applied to those who are already members of a society.  What is lacking is a universal understanding of human rights that is not bound by membership in a particular society but is prior to any such considerations as rights belonging to the human person as member of the human race.  This paper explores Sen’s alternative conceptual framework for grounding of human rights as well as the duties and obligations associated with them.  The implications Sen’s theory of human rights has for the rights of immigrants is also explored.  Finally, the need for human rights advocates to balance Sen’s normative/deontological approach to human rights with a narrative/teleological approach is also suggested. 

The Effects of Redistributive Conflicts on Immigrants
Marcella Myers, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Andrews University

In October 2010 German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared multiculturalism a failure. Merkel’s comments come on the heels of the controversy over Thilo Sarrazin’s comments regarding the negative impact Muslims have on the German welfare state.  In a new, recently released study the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung found that 30 percent of Germans agree that foreigners come to Germany to exploit the welfare state, that there are too many foreigners in Germany and that the number of foreigners in Germany is dangerous.
The perception on the part of Germans regarding the exploitation of the welfare state by immigrants is illustrative of redistributive conflicts within welfare states. The conflict over distribution and redistribution may lead to the exclusion of immigrants from not only social benefits to which they may be entitled, but to other forms of exclusion, including exclusion from the labor market. This paper presents a discussion of social exclusion, how such exclusion may violate the welfare state principles of social justice, and the ways in which the conflict over redistribution negatively affects immigrants in Germany.

Moral Obligation and Social Rationality of Government: The Affordable Care Act
Timothy C. Okeke, Chair, Department of Social Work/Director of Social Work Program, Livingstone College
Fifteen percent Americans lack access to health care. The central focus of the current and previous debates on attempts to reform health care has been the projected cost of ensuring accessible and affordable care to all Americans amid rising costs. The provision of care to a sicker/more disadvantaged population and the direct/indirect costs of health inequities such as loss in productivity, low wages, absenteeism, family leave and premature death convince the majority of Americans that the health care system is broke and needs to be fixed. The low-income group, the racial/ethnic minorities and other underserved populations often had higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options, less access to care and are less likely to have health insurance than the population as a whole. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of March 23, 2010 is designed to help millions of uninsured/underinsured Americans get adequate/affordable health care through a series of government-imposed mandate and subsidies and reduce the growth of health care costs while improving care. This paper examines the moral obligation of individuals and the social rationality of the government under two claims: (1) that opposition to the ACA, based on individual-ethnic considerations expressed in regard to existing conditions of the uninsured, is morally, socially and economically irrational and (2) that the social rationality of the government, based on community-ethical considerations, is not only morally imperative but also consistent with Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution re: the “individual mandate” provision requiring people to purchase health insurance. It concludes that the Congress’ enactment of the ACA is based on social rationality principle and the method of defraying costs used is the appropriate and right thing to do.


Nativism, Immigration and the Latinization of America
Guadalupe San Miguel Jr., Professor, History Department, University of Houston

There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the draconian anti-immigrant measure passed by the Arizona state legislature in April 2010. Liberal groups on the left and conservative groups on the right as well as national political leaders, including President Obama, have taken positions on it. Why is it so controversial? Is this an isolated case or merely the latest one of many contentious anti-immigrant measures? What do the strong nativist responses by political leaders in that state tell us about who we are as a nation and how we view foreigners? This essay explores the significant underlying historical and contemporary factors that help explain the anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States during the early 21st century. I argue that while nativism is impacted by a variety of social, economic, and political factors, one of the most significant is the perceived and actual impact undocumented immigrants are having on American society. These immigrants are contributing to and driving the “Latinization” of America. Latinization, in turn, is changing the face of America.



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