Economics and Immigration

Timothy Guinnane ‘81, Charles Mario Russell ‘87, and Alex Ferrara ’14 were back on campus for the annual Alumni Economics Forum.

Last Wednesday, Timothy Guinnane ‘81, an economics professor at Yale University, and Charles Mario Russell ‘87, the director of Catholic Charities Immigration Services, came back to campus to speak at the Annual Economics Alumni Forum. The theme of this year’s discussion was “Immigration Reform: Human and Economic Perspectives on the Need for Change,” and Alex Ferrara ’14, who currently works for Teach for America, moderated.

The talk, which was held in Sharpless Auditorium, engaged with the question of how and why migrants should be welcomed into the United States through two different lenses. Guinnane presented the economics perspective, giving an overview of the demographic and labor market impacts of immigration. Russell, who also practices human rights law, then presented the humanitarian perspective, focusing on the identity and the rights of the migrants and providing anecdotes from his clients.

Both the Economics Department and the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship collaborated to create this alumni speaker series in 2008. In the years since, the forum has focused on the presidential race’s impact on the economy, the relationship between climate change and the economy, and education and social mobility. Immigration was chosen as this year’s topic in order to engage with current international dialogue around the issue, according to Anne Preston, chairman of the Economics Department, who opened the forum by saying, “Europe is suffering from a terrible refugee crisis, and the presidential hopefuls are in a debate about how to reform immigration policy.”

Watch a video of the entire panel discussion.

-Marcelo Jauregui-Volpe ’18

Photos by Caleb Eckert ’17