Panel co-hosted with the Goethe Institute Boston
Refugee resettlement and immigration have rapidly become two of the most contentious issues in the US, Germany and far beyond. In 2015, TIME magazine named Chancellor Merkel as Person of the Year for leading the efforts to resolve the European refugee crisis and allowing Syrian refugees to pass through the German-Austrian border. Since then, Germany’s “Willkommenskultur” has turned into a polarized pro- versus anti-refugee debate. A right-wing populist party has entered the Bundestag for the first time since WWII and Chancellor Merkel herself has stated that 2015 must be prevented from repeating itself.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Trump administration has released wide-ranging executive orders to limit immigration and refugee resettlement. This has included curtailing the refugee resettlement program, advocating the construction of a border, and implementing a travel ban for citizens from certain majority-Muslim countries. The number of refugees accepted to the U.S. is projected to drop from over 70,000 in 2015 to less than 30,000 in 2019. Meanwhile, the total number of refugees is only expected to increase, due to ongoing wars, poverty and increasing pressures due to climate factors.
This panel explores whether wealthy countries such as Germany and the U.S. have a responsibility to provide for refugees and, if so, what suitable migration policies would look like. The growing skepticism towards migration in both countries has also revealed that migration cannot be discussed without considering integration. How can we move from “welcoming” refugees to living with them as fellow citizens?