What is in a Category? Telling Political Refugees and Economic Migrants Apart

Please join us for our Annual Bucerius Lecture with David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, followed by a conversation with Jutta Allmendinger, President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

Unlike Europe, where there are two separate migration issues that are coming together in a complicated way, the US conversation on migration has until recently been more neatly divided between economic immigrants coming from Latin America and East/South Asia on the one hand and refugees being resettled in the country largely from the Middle East and Africa. But the unaccompanied minors crisis a few years ago, the Trump administration’s rhetoric that does not distinguish between immigrants and refugees, the TPS issue, and most recently the asylum-seekers fleeing Central American violence have brought the US conversation closer to where Europe is – trying figure out how to differentiate between the two groups and clarifying their rights and our responsibilities to them.

David Miliband is the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He oversees the agency’s relief and development operations in over 30 countries, its refugee resettlement and assistance programs throughout the United States and the IRC’s advocacy efforts in Washington and other capitals on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Prof. Dr. h.c. Jutta Allmendinger, Ph.D. is President of the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and Professor of Sociology in Education and Labor Market Research at Humboldt Universität Berlin. Currently, she is spending four months at Thomas Mann House Los Angeles as one of the first Thomas-Mann-Fellows, appointed by the German Federal Foreign Office.

The Bucerius Lecture is part of an annual lecture and workshop program at GHI West, funded by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, one of the major German private foundations active in the field of migration and transformation studies. This year’s lecture is also co-sponsored by the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles and the International Rescue Committee (New York).