Dr. Suarez-Orozco Addresses Students On Immigration in America at ASM

This week, PA welcomed Dr. Marcelo Suarez-Orozco as the speaker for an All-School Meeting, a day after he participated in a panel discussion on immigration. Both events are part of a series honoring National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15. According to Dr. Suarez-Orozco, immigration is a global issue that defines the world today. He divided countries into groups based on immigration patterns: sending countries, such as Mexico, receiving countries, such as the U.S., and countries that people travel through. According to Dr. Suarez-Orozco, people migrate primarily to reunite with family and to work, satisfying the massive demand for cheap labor in industrial countries. He continued by noting that many European cities, such as Rotterdam and Leicester, have populations where nearly 50% of the residents are immigrants.He further noted that the United States has received a steady stream of one million immigrants a year since 1990 from Latin America. Overall, he estimated, there are 36 million immigrants living in America, more than the entire population of Canada. Dr. Suarez-Orozco also noted that in comparison to European countries such as Switzerland, the United States has a relatively low rate of immigration. The lecture also presented the economic effects of immigration, stating that the Latino GDP in America is $700 billion, more than the GDP of Spain or Mexico, and that immigration is generally “recession-proof.” Additionally, for every million immigrants, $1 billion is sent back to their countries of origin, making immigration a potent economic force. Dr. Suarez-Orozco also outlined the social effects of immigration on Europe. He said that immigration “is at the center of [the] European future,” as it would act as a counterweight to negative population growth rates. “Even completely sealed borders would still result in a Latino population redefining social demographics as a result of ensuing generations of immigrants,” noted Dr. Suarez-Orozco. At the end of his lecture, Dr. Suarez-Orozco fielded questions, including one on the topic of illegal immigration, to which he stated that roughly one-third of all immigrants are undocumented, and that there are three million undocumented children attending school in Los Angeles. Dr. Suarez-Orozco closed by asking the audience, “At what point does controlled immigration spurn democratic ideals?” and reiterated that immigration policy requires a “multi-pronged solution” in order to resolve such a complex issue. Dr. Suarez-Orozco was uniquely qualified to speak on this issue. Born in Argentina, Dr. Suarez-Orozco earned a Masters in Psychology and a PhD in Anthropology. In September of this year, the Mexican government awarded him their highest honor given to foreign nationals, the Order of the Mexican Aztec Eagle, in recognition of his contributions to the study of immigration. Dr. Suarez-Orozco is currently the first Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, and Co-Director of Immigration Studies at NYU.