Friday, July 5, 2019

Block and Diamond on immigration issues

(UK) University World News, 7-4-19: 

Universities have an important role to play in protecting and educating students, changing cultural perceptions and informing policy with evidence-based research in an era of heightened migration – particularly in a world where the rights of migrants are coming under threat from populist politicians – university leaders heard at a conference on the issue. 

Universities should not take positions “but we can provide data”, said Gene Block, chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, which hosted a meeting of some 130 university leaders of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities or APRU. They included around two dozen university presidents and vice-chancellors from Asia and the Pacific, North America, Latin America and China.

“Accurate information is so important. When you hear in the news that undocumented people in the United States are responsible for a high level of criminal activity, that doesn’t actually comport with the data,” said Block, current APRU chair, at the conference held from 23-25 June under the theme of ‘Universities in an age of global migrations’.

“Even with illegal immigration in the US there are questions of the benefits and the costs and I think an honest discussion of that could better inform voters of the advantages and disadvantages of current policies,” he said...

“Immigration is going to increase in the world for demographic reasons, so immigration is going to be a bigger and bigger issue,” said Jared Diamond, professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles or UCLA, who made a case for interdisciplinary university centres to study immigration...

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