Immigrants and Refugees: The American Dilemma, Lifeblood or Threat
The United States has been shaped by the many immigrants and refugees that have come to our shores. This course will examine the history of immigration, the ethical dilemmas, and the underlying values that have shaped America’s immigration policy. This issue dominates current political discourse but is not anchored in history or values. This course will focus on the deeper ethical issues that are often overlooked. The voices of the refugee and immigrant will be brought forth to tell their story and all they left behind and what they brought to America, including people featured in Bycel’s book, Refugees in America: Stories of Courage, Resilience and Hope. Questions to be asked include: Are Emma Lazarus words from The New Colossus words still relevant in the twenty first century? What is the right balance between immigration and self-preservation, or are they inextricably linked? How does the refugee experience connect to who we are and our identities? How does immigration policy reflect the values of the country?
Lee Bycel is the Sinton Visiting Professor in Holocaust, Genocide and Refugee Studies at the University of San Francisco and a Senior Moderator at the Aspen Institute. Appointed by President Obama, he served on the Board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from 2014‐2019. Lee graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Philosophy, received rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College, and earned a doctorate from the Claremont School of Theology. He has made humanitarian trips to East Africa including Darfur, Chad, and South Sudan where he visited refugee and IDP camps. In 2018 Governor Newsom appointed Lee to the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and in January 2021, he became the Vice – Chair.