Teach-out seeks to catalyze civil discourse surrounding immigration


As the debate continues over the current administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, the University of Michigan offers free, online education opportunities for anyone, anywhere to encourage productive ways to engage in civil discourse surrounding timely topics and issues.

The Teach-Out Series is a collection of short, online learning events produced by the U-M Office of Academic Innovation, that provides expert insight on timely topics and seeks to bring people together to engage in constructive conversations.

The teach-out, Crisis at the Border, is led by U-M scholars in law, social work, public policy and political science.

The faculty involved and some of their insights include:

• Margo Schlanger, the Wade H. and Dores M. McCree Collegiate Professor of Law, is a leading authority on civil rights issues and civil and criminal detention. Her teaching and research deal with civil rights, prison reform, torts, and surveillance.

“If the administration wants to confine people long term, where’s it going to do that? There aren’t the beds for family detention to have all those people confined. And not only that, there aren’t the beds to have the kids by themselves either. So where are kids going to be confined and is that going to turn out to be lawful?”

“The Trump Administration set us off in uncharted territory and we are going to have permanent separation as a result.”

• Todd Herrenkohl, the Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Child and Family in the School of Social Work, whose research focuses on child and family well-being, child maltreatment and the psychosocial and developmental underpinnings of health-risk behaviors in youth and adults; substance use, mental and physical health outcomes of adversity; and resilience.

“In this case what’s disturbing is that we see these events unfolding and they have all the marks of extremely traumatic and damaging kinds of interactions and experiences for kids.”

“For some kids the impacts of trauma can be a lifetime of hardship.”

• Ann Lin, associate professor public policy, who researches potential immigration policies such as guestworker programs and legalization, and the political beliefs of American immigrants. She studies the provisions that make policy easy or difficult to implement, the beliefs and behavior of people who implement policies, and the reactions of those who are targeted by policy.

“It’s really important to remember that migrants don’t come to the U.S. knowing American law. They don’t know what it is that will allow them to get protection from the U.S. government as a person who is being persecuted—who is in fear of their life.”

“The problem now is that the Trump Administration has basically decided that almost all of the people who are coming are not only not eligible for asylum—and they’re doing that before interviewing individuals—they’re also deciding that they’re probably only claiming asylum because they want to get into the United States.”

• Mika LaVaque-Manty, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, associate professor of political science, and director of the LSA Honors Program in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, whose degrees are in philosophy, has research interests in political thought from the seventeenth century to today, particularly in questions regarding political action and agency.

“Almost all moral philosophers agree that different rules apply for governments when we’re thinking about ethics. The rules are different for private individuals and governments. It’s not that they agree what those rules are—there a lot of big debates—the interesting question is how ethics apply to politics.”

“Almost everybody agrees governments have to do unpleasant things. But it doesn’t mean—according to moral philosophers and I think most of our moral intuitions—that you can do anything you want.

This teach-out asks: How do we make sense of this? How do we define our own internal debates and productively engage others to address the situation that is rapidly evolving and raises larger questions around law, order, morality, and how these intersect with international crises in Latin America and around the world.

This online learning opportunity provides context on the policy, legal, and health implications of the family separation and detainment policies, and what the new Executive Order may mean for the future.

This self-paced online event will be hosted on the Coursera platform until July 18 and requires a short commitment of about two hours.

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