In this panel discussion at the Migration Policy Institute, Morten Kjaerum, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and former Founding Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, discussed the state of rights protection in Europe as well as his agency’s role in this evolving arena. The FRA’s goal is to promote understanding and secure fundamental rights in the European Union, and the discussion explored the organization’s work collecting and analyzing hard-to-find data, and its strategies for using this to combat discrimination against migrants and other minority populations. Other speakers focused on the evolution of the immigrant-rights movement in the United States, with comments by Lucas Guttentag, Founder and former National Director and Senior Advisor of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Becky Monroe, Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The speakers discussed shared challenges and opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic, a conversation that was particularly relevant in light of the loss of human life at Lampedusa and the deportation of a teenage Roma girl seeking asylum in France. The panel was moderated by MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix.
The Mexican-origin population in Hawai’i represents a small, but fast-growing group, and one that is little examined. This briefing at the State Capitol in Honolulu, organized in conjunction with the University of Hawaii at Manoa, marked the formal release of a Migration Policy Institute report that presents key demographic and socioeconomic information about the Mexican-origin population in Hawai’i. The briefing to discuss the report, Newcomers to the Aloha State: A Portrait of Mexicans in Hawaii, featured researchers Jeanne Batalova of MPI and the University of Hawaii's Monisha Das Gupta and Sue Haglund. Other speakers included Minister Juan Manuel Calderón Jaimes, Deputy Director General for Consular Affairs at the Mexican Foreign Ministry, and Bruce Coppa, Chief of Staff to Governor Neil Abercrombie. This is the first time that a comprehensive study on the Mexican-origin population in Hawaii has been undertaken, and the speakers discussed the demographic characteristics and experiences of this population, the vast majority of whom are either U.S. born or naturalized citizens, as well as the immigration enforcement and other policies that affect them.