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Refugee Assistance Project

Observations & Issues

From the Chinese Exclusion Act of the late 19th Century, to the Red Scare of the 1920s, to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, immigrants have long borne the brunt of political, economic and cultural conditions in the U.S. Today is no different, as political, national security and economic factors have converged to create a number of obstacles for asylum seekers.

In addition to providing legal services, the City Bar Justice Center works to educate the public and evolve the debate over immigration issues. At a packed forum hosted by the Justice Center last spring, leading experts on immigration provided some fresh perspectives on a topic around which discussion has otherwise become predictable, if not calcified. Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, presented immigration not as a problem but as "the human face of globalization." Chung Wha Hong, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, proposed reframing the issue from "what immigrants want" to "what America needs."