Deputy Director Sufyan Sohel participated in a panel on the 7th Circuit Bar Association Foundation’s symposium, E Pluribus Unum – the Immigration Conundrum. The event was held at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago on March 3 & 4. Sohel’s panel, titled, Asylum, Assimilation, and Security, addressed some of the problems facing countries around the globe, particularly, the United States, Mexico, and Europe, that are faced with the migration of refugees of all kinds fleeing war and natural disaster. Along with Sohel, panelists included Adam Chilton, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago College of Law, Gustavo Mohar, former immigration and national security official for the Government of Mexico, and Susan Gzesh, the Executive Director of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago.
Sohel discussed the different causes of the refugee crisis as well as the impact of Islamaphobia on the status of refugees entering the United States. “American was built on the notion that all people, no matter their faith or country of origin, could find safe refugee here, away from threat or fear of persecution. The current normalized rhetoric of anti-Muslim & anti-refugee sentiment expressed by our elected officials and those running for President, undermines the very values of freedom and compassion that America prides herself on.”
Last year, more than half of U.S. Governors announced that they would block Syrian refugees entering their state which was followed by the U.S. House of Representatives calling for an immediate suspension of the U.S. refugee program. In January, the U.S. Senate blocked the bill calling for tougher refugee screening. Due to the civil war in Syria and attacks by ISIS, there are over 11 million displaced Syrians of which over 4.5 refugees are seeking safety in other countries. More than half of those displaced are children.