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Café Inquiry

Tuesday, January 29
6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Neighborhood Library
1630 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001 US

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Organized by:
Center for Inquiry–DC (CFI–DC)


This month’s discussion topic is: immigration.

The United States is a nation of immigrants. Almost everyone living in the U.S. is descended from people who hopped in a ship or plane and came here for a better life. In some ways we have exulted in this identity, and celebrated the ingenuity, drive, and ambition of immigrants. The plaque at the base of the statute of liberty, for example, states “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” The U.S. has benefited in the past, and notably continues to benefit economically and culturally, from immigration.

Even if immigration is a net positive, however, it can also carry risks. Local resources can be overwhelmed by an influx of new residents, and integration of differing cultures and languages can be difficult in the best of times. New immigrants can also be vulnerable to human traffic, economic exploitation, and isolation. Having enforceable borders is, in some ways, an integral part of any nation.

Additionally, immigration policy in the past, and the present, has sometimes been a vehicle of racism and prejudice. As just one example, from 1880 through the 1940’s Asian Americans were largely prohibited from becoming naturalized citizens under U.S. law. There is an argument that the current administration’s focus on immigration, to include the recent/ongoing shutdown, borrows from this aspect of American history.
How much immigration is ideal? What are the benefits of immigration? What are the risks of immigration?

After the discussion we will head over to Beau Thai down the street for those who wish to have food and continue the conversation.