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"Contested Boundaries" Colloquium Brings Together Citizenship Experts

October 7, 2021

On Friday, October 1, American University Washington College of Law hosted "Contested Boundaries: The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Citizenship."  The colloquium brought together 19 citizenship experts for a day-long conversation about the history of citizenship policies and the pathway to a productive future. Participants included academics from a variety of disciplines, leaders of NGOs, and government officials.

Amanda Frost and Dean Fairfax
Prof. Amanda Frost and Dean Roger Fairfax welcome guests.

AUWCL Professor Amanda Frost and Dean Roger A. Fairfax welcomed participants to the law campus in Washington, DC. 

The morning sessions focused on the history of citizenship and immigration policies from the colonial era onward, with a focus on the role of settler colonialism and twentieth-century empire-building in shaping such policies. Award-winning authors and historians Erika Lee and Martha Jones engaged in a lunchtime dialogue about the uses and misuses of history in setting public policy and shaping public opinion, moderated by Frost. 

Citizenship Conference attendees

The afternoon sessions focused on policy challenges facing the United States today regarding barriers to naturalization and pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.  The event concluded with remarks by Kelly Ryan, Chair of the Interagency Working Group on the Promotion of Naturalization and a senior advisor at the US Citizenship Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security.

The program for the event with a full list of participants is available here.