NMSU conference to discuss new perspectives on immigration

Feb. 20, 2009 by Mario A. Montes NMSU News Center

Jorge Bustamante will be the keynote speaker at the “Economic Crisis and Immigration Policy: New Perspectives from Mexico and the United States” conference. His keynote address will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at New Mexico State University’s Anderson Hall Auditorium at the Las Cruces campus. The conference will continue from 9 a.m. - noon Friday, March 13, at NMSU’s Anderson Hall Auditorium. New Mexico State University’s Center for Latin American and Border Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Government and the International Relations Institute will host a vital conference on immigration, “Economic Crisis and Immigration Policy: New Perspectives from Mexico and the United States,” Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13.

Scholars will discuss immigration to the U.S., mainly from Mexico and Central America. Topics will focus on the economic causes of immigration, the conditions facing migrant workers in both Mexico and the U.S., and the debate regarding the possibilities for immigration policy reforms from the Obama administration.

The conference will open with a keynote address by Jorge Bustamante at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at NMSU’s Anderson Hall Auditorium at the Las Cruces campus.

Bustamante is a United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants and Eugene Conley professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame. He has more than two decades of experience studying immigration issues and has conducted extensive research on the subject. His talk is titled “Mexican Immigration to the U.S.: 2009 and Beyond.”

“We hope to provide new perspectives on the causes of migration from Mexico and Central America to stimulate dialogue on the connections between trade policies, economic development and immigration,” said Neil Harvey, director of the Center for Latin American and Borders Studies and a professor of government at NMSU. “We also want to open debate about the scope of potential policy reforms with regard to immigration and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) under the new administration of President Obama.” The flow of migrants from Central America and Mexico to the U.S. is a consequence of significant changes in labor markets and development policies during the past two decades, Harvey said.

“Unemployment and cuts in government support, particularly in rural areas, have led many to seek work in the U.S.,” he said.

“We hope to get some information and insights from our panelists on what the future holds for immigration policy,” said Delano Lewis, director of NMSU’s International Relations Institute and former U.S. ambassador to South Africa, who is also a fellow at NMSU.

The other scholars and experts who will be addressing the conference are:

•Gerardo Otero, professor of sociology at Simon Fraser University. He will speak on “NAFTA and the Neoliberal Food Regime: New International Division of Labor and Migration.”
•Daniel Villafuerte, professor of economics and director for the Study of Mexico and Central America at the University of Arts and Sciences in Chiapas, Mexico. He will speak on “Central American Migrants and Migration Policy on Mexico’s Southern Border.”
•Laura Carlsen, director of Americas Policy Program at Washington, D.C., and Mexico City, will address “Opportunities for New Trade and Immigration Policies under the Obama Administration.”
•Isabel Garcia, from the Human Rights Coalition in Tucson, will discuss her work in Arizona with immigrants.

Panel discussions will be from 9 a.m. to noon, Friday, March 13, at NMSU’s Anderson Hall Auditorium at the Las Cruces campus.

For more information, contact the Center for Latin American and Border Studies at (575) 646-6814 or the government department at (575) 646-4935 or write to Roberta Gran, International Relations Institute, at rgran@nmsu.edu.

The conference is free and open to the public. Those attending the panel discussions on Friday are asked to get a free parking E-Permit online at https://corridor.nmsu.edu/auxadmin/ParkingForms/epermit.aspx. No parking permit is needed for the keynote address.

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