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Who Gets a Voice? Immigrants and Civic Engagement

Jun 30 2009 12:00 am

Public Debate:
Who Gets a Voice? Immigrants and Civic Engagement 
Demos and the World Policy Institute
are pleased to present a panel discussion and reception:
The promise of American democracy is that all members of our society should have a voice in the decisions that govern their lives. Yet today, record immigration has created a population where nearly 20 million adults in the United States cannot vote. More than half of this group – or an estimated 12 million people – do not even have legal authorization to live and work in the United States. Beyond this, immigrants often stand apart from the communities in which they live and experience social exclusion.
To some, immigrant civic exclusion and a growing “representation gap” constitute a crisis of American democracy and has profoundly negative economic and social consequences for immigrant communities, as well as for the broader cohesion of U.S. society. In this view, urgent action is needed to grant immigrants greater political rights and ensure their access to economic and social protections. To others, immigrant civic exclusion is not a crisis because the process of incorporating immigrants into American life is ongoing and organic, and we shouldn’t rush this process by prematurely granting rights and protections to millions of recent immigrants. Still others argue that formal political rights like voting may matter less than a broad range of practices for increasing civic engagement among immigrants and speeding up their integration into U.S. society.
·         Maria Teresa Petersen, Voto Latino
·         Tamar Jacoby, Immigration Works USA
·         Gara Lamarche, Atlantic Philanthropies
·         Hiroshi Motomura, UCLA and Author of Americans in Waiting
Moderator: Michele Wucker, World Policy Institute and author of Lockout
June 30, 2009
6:00-8:30 pm
6:15:  Welcoming Remarks, Miles Rapoport, Demos
6:30: Panel Discussion
7:30: Cocktail Reception
Baruch College – Newman Conference Center
151 E. 25th St, 7th Floor, New York, NY
Cost and RSVP:
This event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Please RSVP by June 29 to secure your seat and help us to minimize waste when we order refreshments.
212-481-5005 x465
Demos and the World Policy Institute are grateful to the McCormick Foundation for their generous support of this event.



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