The seventh event in the 2023 Ten Years Hence lecture series Is Globalism Dead on ThinkND featured David Robinson, American Diplomat and Ambassador to Guyana (Retired), United States Senior Foreign Service. In this talk, Ambassador Robinson discussed the issues of global immigration and mass migration.
Robinson opened his discussion by reminding the audience how essential immigration is to the American national identity. Through his retelling of the mass migration of thousands of people from unstable Kosovo to the United States, Robinson unpacked his perspective on the lives of refugees and how he grapples with different global issues of immigration. While he sympathized deeply with Kosovar immigrants in the early 2000s, he does not feel the same sense of outrage toward the migration issue at the US southern border. However, he also recognized that the United States is an immigrant nation and that much good can come from immigration. Robinson differentiated his responses as one being a feeling of emotional distress for immigrants at a far-away border, and the other being a feeling of hesitancy for immigrants at one’s own border. He explained how safety and security, resource availability and underlying circumstances influence the reaction to different immigration situations.
Robinson explained the importance of harmonious migration policies between countries to ensure already vulnerable migrants are not put at greater risk as they move from country to country. The Global Compact for Migration, not signed by the United States, helps immigrants be recognized as legal human beings and ensures that they are able to transfer and receive cash, become employed and buy property, rather than being undocumented floaters invisible to all nations. Robinson believes that the United States is responsible for protecting state sovereignty and ensuring the safety of migrants as human beings.
Most of Robinson’s discussion involved questions and answers from the audience and host James O’Rourke. When asked about political party agreement, Robinson explained that historically Republicans and Democrats have agreed on immigration issues, but recent years have led to more disagreement concerning the number of migrants allowed to enter the country rather than the composition of immigrant choices. Robinson continued turning to examples of immigrant stories of success and inspiration, including a boy he met in Kosovo, the lost boys of Sudan and shepherds working in Montana. Robinson and O’Rourke also considered how those with high S.A.T. (legal stability, agricultural systems, and technology) scores might influence the economy of a country to which they migrate differently than an individual with a lower S.A.T. score. Robinson emphasized the importance of considering the underlying human genius in each person, rather than cherry-picking immigrants based on the hard skills they offer or the countries from which they come.
Visit the event page for more.