God Says Come or God Says Stay Away: The History of Religion & Immigration in America
America is a nation of immigrants, except for the Indigenous Peoples who were here before European colonization and the Africans brought here against their will and sold as enslaved people.
I just read this in the newspaper a few days ago “Administration short of shelter space amid ‘overwhelming’ [immigration] surge: record number of unaccompanied minors being held in adult cells far longer than legally allowed.” This morning’s paper had another front page piece on the surge at our southern border. Immigration reform is a major policy task of the current administration.
It is also important to note that there has been a recent rise in attacks against Asian Americans, addressed in an editorial of a major national newspaper over the weekend.
We feel that a better understanding of how religious beliefs have influenced the attitudes and government policies towards immigrants throughout U.S. history can benefit us in our present moment.
Today we have a panel of fantastic scholars who will help us do a deep dive:
Melissa Borja, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, and author of the forthcoming book Follow the New Way: Hmong Refugee Resettlement and Practice of American Religious Pluralism;
Grace Yukitch, Professor of Sociology at Quinnipiac University, and author of One Family Under God: Immigration Politics and Progressive Religion in America;
Fenggang Yang, Professor of Sociology at Purdue University, and author of Chinese Christians in America: Conversion, Assimilation, and Adhesive Identities;
Shari Rabin, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Religion, and author of Jews on the Frontier: Religion and Mobility in Nineteenth-century America;
Kristy Nabhan-Warren, Professor and Chair in Catholic Studies at the University of Iowa, and author of the forthcoming book Meatpacking America: How Migration, Work, and Faith Unite and Divide the Heartland.
And, Nick Pruitt, Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Nazarene College and author of the forthcoming book Open Hearts, Closed Doors: Immigration Reform and the Waning of Mainline Protestantism.
It is Free