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LeFrak Forum: Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy - Department of Political Science

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A Conference in partnership with the Reason Foundation "A 21st Century Immigration Policy for the West"


October 11, 2018 - October 13, 2018

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Industrialized countries in general, and the United States in particular, face a conundrum. On the one hand, many are experiencing a nativist backlash—and a resurgence of nationalistic politics long thought dead—against previous waves of immigration. On the other hand, an impending demographic crunch might make immigration ever more necessary even as the future pool of immigrants dries up.

The great waves of economic migration in the last 75 years came not from the most impoverished nations, but from those in a state of “demographic transition.” These countries had modernized enough to greatly lower their infant mortality rates, but not yet enough to depress fertility rates. The result was a population explosion that drove many of their people to seek opportunities elsewhere. Over time, however, this imbalance naturally corrected itself as families adjusted to the lower rates of infant mortality and began having fewer children. Virtually every part of the world, with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, is now close to completing this transition, including countries that send many immigrants to the United States such as China, India, and Mexico.

At the same time, in the West fertility rates have fallen below replacement levels. If these aging and shrinking western societies are to have any hope of maintaining their economic and cultural vitality, they will likely need to grow their populations through immigration—at a time when the supply of immigrants will be rapidly diminishing.

The organizing hypothesis for this conference, then, is that in the coming decades the great “problem of immigration” as we have known it will likely undergo a reversal: the problem will no longer be too many immigrants knocking on our doors, but too few. The policy issue we will be hotly debating won’t be how to restrict immigration, but how to court and facilitate it. But the outcome of the debate may depend on whether there is a defensible normative case for relatively unfettered mobility rights. It will also require that we examine and resolve the cultural, political, and institutional concerns that immigration raises: Will large numbers of immigrants be able to rapidly assimilate, will they uphold our commitments to liberal democracy, will their presence strain or strengthen the welfare system?

The conference will consider these and other issues in a series of six panels. Each panel, except for the last, is set up as a debate in which the two main panelists present opposing positions on a motion. A discussant for each panelist will then challenge the panelist’s thesis. The concluding panel will discuss the pros and cons of the wildly different immigration policies that other industrialized countries have embraced.

Thursday, October 11 

Keynote Speech, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Auditorium, Kellogg Hotel 

Doubling Down on a Bad Bet: Immigration Policy Before and After Trump 

Douglas Massey (dmassey@princeton.edu)
CV: http://wws.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/person/cvfiles/vita.Massey.pdf 
Massey is the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University. He has served on the faculties of the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on international migration, race and housing, discrimination, education, urban poverty, and Latin America, especially Mexico. He is the author, most recently, of Climbing Mount Laurel: The Struggle for Affordable Housing and Social Mobility in an American Suburb and Brokered Boundaries: Creating Immigrant Identity in Anti-Immigrant Times. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is past president of the American Sociological Association and the Population Association of America.

Friday, October 12 

Panel One, 9:00 am – 10:45 am Lincoln Room, Kellogg Hotel

Does the immigration tide, on balance, lift or sink boats in an economy? 

Lift: Madeline Zavodny (m.zavodny@unf.edu)
CV: https://mzavodny.domains.unf.edu/cv/ 
Zavodny is Professor of Economics at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. She received a Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1996 and a B.A. in economics from Claremont McKenna College in 1992. She previously was a professor of economics at Agnes Scott College and Occidental College, a senior economist and policy advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Discussant: Daniel Costa: 
Bio: https://www.epi.org/people/daniel-costa/
Daniel Costa is an attorney and researcher focusing on immigration and labor issues, and currently working on projects relating to the UN Global Compact for Migration. He previously worked as a Special Assistant to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, serving as his senior advisor on immigration and labor law and policy. Before that he was at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) from 2010 to 2018, and was EPI’s Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research from 2013 to 2018. His areas of research include a wide range of labor migration issues, including the management of temporary labor migration programs, both high- and less-skilled migration, immigrant workers’ rights, and forced migration. Costa has testified on immigration before the U.S. Congress and state governments, been quoted by a number of news outlets, and appeared on radio and television news. He was an affiliated scholar with the University of California, Merced from 2015-2017, and has earned degrees from Georgetown Law, Syracuse University, and UC Berkeley.

Sink: Philip Martin (
martin@primal.ucdavis.edu)
Bio: https://poverty.ucdavis.edu/profile/philip-martin 
Martin is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975. He has examined the effects of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the impact of Turkish migration to the European Union, as well as the effect of immigration on the economies of Malaysia and Thailand. He received UC Davis’ Distinguished Public Service award in 1994 and was a member of the Binational Study of Migration between 1995 and 1997.

Discussant: Patricia Cortes (pcortes@bu.edu)
CV: https://sites.google.com/site/pcortesbu/
Cortes is Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law at Boston University’s Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. She received her Ph.D. in economics from MIT and a M.A. in economics from Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. She is an expert in labor economics, immigration, and gender and has published numerous articles in top journals on these subjects.

Panel Two, 11:00 am – 12:45 pm
Lincoln Room, Kellogg Hotel
Will Immigrants Drain or Save the West’s Welfare-Entitlement State?

Save: Theresa Brown (tbrown@bipartisanpolicy.org)
Bio: https://bipartisanpolicy.org/person/theresa-cardinal-brown/ 
Brown is director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. She was a policy advisor in the office of the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and was on Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s Second Stage Review of US Customs and Immigration Service. She was the director of the Immigration Legislation Task Force in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Policy.

Discussant: Kim Rueben: KRueben@urban.org
CV: http://www.ppic.org/wp-content/uploads/Rueben.pdf 
Rueben, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, is an expert on state and local public finance and the economics of education. Her research examines state and local tax policy, fiscal institutions, state and local budgets, issues of education finance, and public-sector labor markets. Rueben directs the State and Local Finance Initiative. Her current projects include work on state budget shortfalls, financing options for California, the fiscal health of cities, and examining higher education tax credits and grants. She serves on a Council of Economic Advisors for the Controller of the State of California and a National Academy of Sciences panel on the economic and fiscal consequences of immigration, and she was on the DC Tax Revision Commission in 2013. In addition to her position at Urban, Rueben is an adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Before joining Urban, Rueben was a research fellow at the PPIC. She has served as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute and the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley; as a visiting scholar at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank; and as a member of the executive board of the American Education Finance Association.

Drain: Robert VerBruggen (rverbruggen@nationalreview.com)
Bio: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-verbruggen-3472a712/ 
VerBruggen is a veteran journalist at the National Review where he serves as Deputy Managing Editor. He grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 2006, and has held positions at The American Conservative, RealClearPolitics, The Washington Times, and The National Interest.

Discussant: Dan Griswold (DGriswold@mercatus.gmu.edu)
Bio: https://www.mercatus.org/daniel-griswold 
Griswold is a Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Program on the American Economy and Globalization. Griswold is a nationally recognized expert on trade and immigration policy. He previously served as president of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones. Prior to NAFTZ, Griswold was director of trade and immigration studies for the Cato Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a Masters in the Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Panel Three, 2:45 pm – 4:30 pm
Lincoln Room, Kellogg Hotel
Are Today’s Immigrants Assimilating As Well as Those of Yore? 

No: Peter Skerry (peter.skerry@bc.edu)
CV: https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/schools/cas_sites/polisci/pdf/updated%2 0cv%27s/Skerry%20CV.pdf  
Peter Skerry is Professor of Political Science at Boston College and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where his research focuses on social policy, racial and ethnic politics, and immigration. Professor Skerry has been a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and served as Director of Washington Programs for the University of California at Los Angeles’ Center for American Politics and Public Policy, where he also taught political science. His book, Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority, was awarded the 1993 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His most recent book is Counting on the Census? Race, Group Identity, and the Evasion of Politics, published by the Brookings Institution Press.

Discussant: John Skrentny 
CV: http://quote.ucsd.edu/jskrentny/files/2018/08/CURRENT-CV.pdf 
Skrentny is Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and Professor of Sociology at the University of California-San Diego. His research focuses on law, politics and access to employment, as well as comparative analysis of immigration policy. He is the author, most recently, of After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace (Princeton University Press, 2014). His current research projects include a comparative analysis of immigration policy in North America, Europe and East Asia and a study of the American faith in scientific innovation from the Progressive Era to the present. He received his PhD in sociology from Harvard University.

Yes: Philip Kasinitz (pkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu)
CV: Kasinitz 2018 CV
Kasinitz is Presidential Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College of the City University of New York. Kasinitz earned his B.A. from Boston University in 1979 and his doctorate in sociology from New York University in 1987. He specializes in immigration, ethnicity, race relations, urban social life, and the nature of contemporary cities. Much of his work focuses on New York. He is the author of Caribbean New York for which he won the Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award. His co-authored book Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age won the Eastern Sociological Society’s Mirra Komarovsky Book Award in 2009 and the American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Book Award in 2010.

Discussant: Cynthia Feliciano (cfeliciano@wustl.edu)
https://sites.google.com/view/cynthia-feliciano/home
Feliciano just moved to Washington University from University of California, Irvine. Her research investigates how descendants of Latin American and Asian immigrants are incorporated in the United States. She is the author of Unequal Origins: Immigrant Selection and the Education of the Second Generation, and numerous articles in journals including American Sociological Review, Social Problems, Social Forces, Sociology of Education, and Demography. She received her B.A. from Boston University and her Ph.D. from UCLA, and has been a fellow of the Ford Foundation, the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Program, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Saturday, October 13 

Panel Four, 9:00 am – 10:45 am
Lincoln Room, Kellogg Hotel
Does the U.S. Constitution Hand the Federal Government Unconstrained Authority to Control the Border and Restrict Immigration? 

No: Ilya Somin (isomin@gmu.edu)
CV: https://www.law.gmu.edu/assets/files/faculty/cv/somin.pdf 
Somin is Professor of Law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and the study of popular political participation and its implications for constitutional democracy. He is the author of Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain. Somin was the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Northwestern University Law School. He has clerked for the Hon. Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He received an M.A. in Political Science from Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Discussant: John Eastman (jeastman@chapman.edu)
CV: https://www.chapman.edu/our-faculty/files/curriculum-vita/Eastman-John- CV.pdf 
Eastman is the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at Chapman University Fowler School of Law. He also served as Dean from June 2007 to January 2010 before stepping down to pursue a bid for California Attorney General. He has served as a law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge J. Michael Luttig at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and a Ph.D. and M.A. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School.

Yes: Josh Blackman (joshBlackman@gmail.com)
CV: http://www.stcl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Blackman.cv_.2016.pdf 
Blackman is Professor of Law at the South Texas College of Law Houston who specializes in constitutional law, the United States Supreme Court, and the intersection of law and technology. Josh is the author of Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare. Blackman was selected by Forbes
Magazine for the “30 Under 30” in Law and Policy. He is the founder and President of the Harlan Institute, the founder of FantasySCOTUS, the Internet’s Premier Supreme Court Fantasy League, and blogs at JoshBlackman.com. He clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and for the Honorable Kim R. Gibson on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the George Mason University School of Law.

Discussant: Mike Ramsey (mdrams@gmail.com)
CV: http://www.mdramsey.com/ 
Ramsey is Professor of Law and Director of the International & Comparative Law Programs at the University of San Diego School of Law. He clerked for J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Antonin Scalia at the Supreme Court. He practiced international business law with Latham & Watkins. Ramsey was senior articles editor of the Stanford Journal of International Law. He is the author of The Constitution's Text in Foreign Affairs. He obtained his J.D. from Stanford University.

Panel Five, 11:00 am – 12:45 pm
Lincoln Room, Kellogg Hotel
Can Robots Solve the West’s Impending Demographic Crunch Instead of Immigrants? 

Yes: Alex Salkever (alex.salkever@gmail.com)
Bio: http://alexsalkever.com/bio/ 
Salkever is a writer, futurist, and technology leader. He is the co-author with Vivek Wadhwa of Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning The Battle To Control Your Brain - And How To Fight Back. His previous book The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Can Change the Future was a finalist in the 2017 McKinsey/Financial Times Book of the Year Competition. He is a columnist for Fortune and previously served as the Technology Editor at BusinessWeek.com and as a Guest Researcher at the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering.

Discussant: Ron Bailey (RBailey21@aol.com)
Bio: http://reason.com/people/ronald-bailey/articles 
Bailey is the award-winning science correspondent for Reason magazine and Reason.com, where he writes a weekly science and technology column. He is the author of the book The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century and Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution. In 2006, Bailey was shortlisted by the editors of Nature Biotechnology as one of the personalities who have made the "most significant contributions" to biotechnology in the last 10 years. From 1987 to 1990, Bailey was a staff writer for Forbes magazine, covering economic, scientific and business topics.

No: Robin Hanson (rhanson@gmu.edu)
Bio: http://mason.gmu.edu/~rhanson/home.html 
Hanson is Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University. He is an expert on idea futures and markets, and he was involved in the creation of the Foresight Institute's Foresight Exchange and DARPA’s FutureMAP project. He invented market scoring rules like LMSR (Logarithmic Market Scoring Rule) used by prediction markets. Hanson received a B.S. in physics from the University of California, Irvine, an M.S. in physics and an M.A. in Conceptual Foundations of Science from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in social science from Caltech. Before getting his Ph.D., he researched artificial intelligence, Bayesian statistics, and hypertext publishing at Lockheed, NASA, and elsewhere. In addition, he started the first internal corporate prediction market at Xanadu in 1990. He is the author most recently of The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life. Hanson has elected to have his brain cryonically preserved in the event of medical death.

Discussant: Roman Yampolskiy (roman.yampolskiy@louisville.edu) 
Bio: http://cecs.louisville.edu/ry/ 
Yampolskiy is a Latvian born computer scientist at the University of Louisville, known for his work on behavioral biometrics, security of cyberworlds, and artificial intelligence safety. He holds a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo. He is currently the director of the Cyber Security Laboratory in the department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at the Speed School of Engineering. Yampolskiy is an author of some 100 publications, including numerous books. His work is frequently profiled in popular media such as the BBC, MSNBC, Yahoo, New Scientist, and many others.

Panel Six, 2:45 pm – 4:30 pm
Lincoln Room, Kellogg Hotel
Immigration Policies in the Industrialized World: Different Countries, Different Bets 

Japanese Exceptionalism: Understanding an aging Japan’s resistance to immigration from a historical institutional perspective

Ito Peng (itopeng@chass.utoronto.ca)
Bio: http://sociology.utoronto.ca/people/faculty-and-staff/ito-peng/ 
Peng is the Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She teaches political sociology, comparative social and health policy, and qualitative research methods. Her research interests include social policy reforms in East Asian and European countries, gender, family, and demographic changes and their impacts on social policies, political economy of welfare state transformations, and immigrant women’s health and its policy implications in Ontario. Peng is a research fellow at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. She received her Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

Welcome math: How to make immigration more palatable to voters, lessons from the European Union
Robert Guest (
RobertGuest@economist.com)
Bio: http://mediadirectory.economist.com/people/robert-guest/ 
Guest is the Foreign Editor for The Economist. Previously, he covered Africa for seven years, based in London and Johannesburg. Before joining The Economist, he was Tokyo correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. He is the author of The Shackled Continent, a book that tries to explain why Africa is so poor and how it could become less so. From July 2009 through May 2010, Guest wrote the opinion column on the United States for The Economist under the pseudonym "Lexington." He then returned to London to run The Economist's business coverage. Guest is also the author of Borderless Economics that argues in favor of freer migration and describes the role that diasporas played in economic development around the world.

The History and Economics of Immigration in Singapore
Alex Nowrasteh (
anowrasteh@cato.org)
Bio: https://www.cato.org/people/alex-nowrasteh 
Nowrasteh is a senior immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. His popular publications have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and most other major publications in the United States. His peer-reviewed academic articles have appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Economic Affairs, the Fletcher Security Review, the Journal of Bioeconomics, and Public Choice. Alex regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg, and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. He is a coauthor of the booklet Open Immigration: Yea and Nay. He received a B.A. in economics from George Mason University and an M.S. in economic history from the London School of Economics.