Only In America: How Did We Get Here?

We often hear people say they don’t have a problem with people coming to the U.S. — as long as they are coming here legally. But our legal immigration system is complex and challenging to navigate — and the increasing number of threats it faces from the Trump administration only intensifies this.

In this podcast series, we’ll hear from experts discussing how the past applies to the present moment, and what it means for the future of immigration.

You can catch all the latest episodes in our “How Did We Get Here?” series here:

Trailer: How Did We Get Here?

How Did We Get Here?: Jia Lynn Yang

Ali talks to Jia Lynn Yang, deputy national editor at the New York Times and author of One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965.

She provides fascinating context about what led to immigration restrictionism 100 years ago, the fight to change those laws, and how that affected where we are today.

 

How Did We Get Here?: Charles Kamasaki

We take a look at what happened in immigration between the 1960s and 1980s. Following the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the next major immigration reform came during the Reagan era of the 1980s, and Charles Kamasaki was a firsthand witness. He’s now a Senior Cabinet Adviser for UnidosUS, and author of Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die. Charles told Ali about the hurdles we must overcome to create solutions, the politics of compromise, and how we can bring future reforms across the finish line.

How Did We Get Here?: Doris Meissner

We hear about what happened around immigration in the 1990s, and how that’s affected today’s conversations.

Ali talks to Doris Meissner, a former Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. She’s currently a Senior Fellow and Director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute.

 

How Did We Get Here?: Becky Tallent

Ali talks to Becky Tallent, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain and adviser to House Speaker John Boehner, about the push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2007 and 2013.

Becky is currently head of U.S. Government Relations at Dropbox and serves as Vice Chair of the Forum’s Board of Directors.

 

How Did We Get Here?: Ainee Athar

For our last week in our “How Did We Get Here?” series, we’ll see the human impact of flawed policies.

Ali talks to Ainee Athar, Immigration Program Manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Born in Pakistan, Ainee and her family sought protection from religious persecution. But in coming to the U.S., they faced a slew of obstacles over many years: navigating bureaucracy, a rejected asylum application, multiple changes in immigration status, and dealing with immigration enforcement.

 

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