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Oct. 28: Invest More, Expect More: The Civic Dimension of Immigration Reform



A discussion of local aspects of immigration reform with Noah Pickus, Associate Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and author of the critically acclaimed new book,
True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civic Nationalism

When: Friday 28 October 9:00-10:30 AM
Where: IUPUI Informatics Building, Room 167 (535 West Michigan St. Indianapolis)

Few issues today are stirring more fear and controversy than immigration. More people are flooding into the country from more parts of the world than ever before. Who should be allowed in, and under what conditions? How many should be allowed to become US citizens, and what should we expect of them? What should be done with undocumented or illegal aliens who wish to remain here? What will happen if the newcomers cannot be assimilated into American political and social culture? Is it possible that in the process of absorbing people from so many different religions and cultures, we will lose sight of what it means to be "an American"?

The best book about these questions that I've read in years is True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civic Nationalism, by Noah Pickus of Duke University. Noah offers a view of assimilation and accommodation of newcomers that is at the same time very new (it is unlike the views that are too often shouted shrilly on TV) and very old (it was the view of James Madison and other founders of the country). He argues that we should expect much more of our immigrants, but that we have an obligation to help them meet these expectations. True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civic Nationalism provocatively argues for a renewed civic nationalism melding principles and peoplehood, a return to a tradition that held sway at the country’s founding and during the Progressive Era. His book takes us through controversies over citizenship for blacks and the rights of aliens at the nation's founding, and examines the interplay of ideas and institutions in the Americanization movement in the 1910s and 1920s. It shows how for the past few decades both Left and Right have promoted a policy of neglect toward immigrants and toward citizenship.

Anxiety about immigration and citizenship is not only fueled by grainy television pictures of people sneaking across the border with Mexico, or by rhetoric from Lou Dobbs. For many people, what is happening (and what they imagine is happening) at home, in their neighborhoods and schools matters even more. Some in Central Indiana aren’t just worried about newcomers “becoming Americans” … they are worried about whether they will become Hoosiers, whether newcomers will embrace local values and integrate into local institutions.

Friday, October 27 at 9:00 AM Noah Pickus will join us to discuss what his idea of civic nationalism means for immigration and Indiana. We are very fortunate to be able to pick the brain of someone with Noah Pickus's experiences and insights, and he may be surprised by what is being achieved here in Indianapolis. I hope this starts a conversation here in Central Indiana that continues long after Prof. Pickus goes back to North Carolina.

This discussion will NOT take place at Sagamore Institute, but will take place in IUPUI's new School of Informatics, room 167. Informatics is located at 535 W Michigan St, at the southwest corner of West and Michigan. Unless you have an IUPUI parking pass, I would recommend you park in the gravel parking lot in front of the Historic Landmarks Building at 340 W Michigan. The Informatics School is a two minute walk from the parking lot.

This event is sponsored by Sagamore Institute and the IUPUI Department of Political Science.

If you like this event, you should check out ...

The discussion on Moving and Staying in a Global Indy at Marian College Nov. 9; and the discussion of Maintaining Religious Values in a Changing Society on Nov. 3.

To see Noah Pickus's philosophy in action, you really should witness the naturalization ceremony at International Festival. Nov. 4 at 3:00 PM the Main Stage at the International Festival transforms into a US District Courtroom where over 150 immigrants will receive the Oath of Allegiance and begin their separate journeys as United States citizens. Join these new citizens and others at the annual International Festival (Nov. 4-6) to celebrate the cultural contributions made by immigrant populations who put their distinctive ethnic stamps on our Hoosier heritage.

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