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Profs and Pints DC presents: “Understanding Refugee Law,” with Paul Grussendorf, former director of the Immigration and Asylum Law Clinic at George Washington University and author of My Trials: Inside America’s Deportation Factories.
Never in our nation’s history has the debate over immigration and the protection of asylum seekers escalated to the fever pitch we see now. President Trump’s administration dismantled the complex infrastructure necessary to process asylum claims overseas and domestically, reduced the number of refugees allowed resettlement here annually to less than a third what it had been before, and considered totally eliminating refugee admissions to the United States. Now President Biden’s administration is meeting resistance and coming under fire from all sides in trying to fulfill pledges to reverse the policies of President Trump and raise the annual cap on refugee admissions to above where it had been under President Obama.
This whipsawing in policy occurs at a time when war and civil upheavals creating additional flows of refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan. As the world community ponders how to respond to staggering humanitarian need, the United States confronts the basic question: What’s the right thing to do?
Come hear that question tackled by Paul Grussendorf, a leading expert on refugee law who will take the Profs and Pints stage to offer a primer on the basics of U.S. and international law dealing with our nation’s conduct in such matters. He’ll discuss the development and language of the UN Refugee Convention and the United States’ adoption of the UN refugee standard into American law. And he’ll cover relevant issues pertaining to immigration—both legal and illegal—and the challenges posed by surging numbers at our southern border.
Along with formerly directing George Washington University’s immigration law clinic, Grussendorf has served as an immigration law judge, writing the critically acclaimed memoir My Trials based on his experiences. He also has worked for the U.S. government’s refugee settlement agency and for the U.N. Refugee Agency, most recently at a U.N. refugee camp in Rwanda. Hearing him speak will give you an understanding of refugee law and policy and, perhaps, more empathy of those who have found themselves having to flee their homes. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in. Bring proof of vaccination and a mask, as both may be required in response to local infection rates. The Bier Baron will be requiring event attendees to purchase a minimum of two items, which can be food or beverages, including soft drinks. )
Image: Civilians evacuating Kabul, Afghanistan in August 2021. Photo by U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla / U.S. Central Command Public Affairs.