Climate Change, Refuge, and Migration Policy in the Americas: A Roundtable on María Cristina García’s Book State of Disaster (UNC Press, 2022)

Solicited by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS)

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Type: Panel Discussion

Tags: Environment; Immigration and Internal Migration; Politics


What policies should the United States adopt in response to the growing number of climate refugees? María Cristina García takes up this question in her urgent new book State of Disaster: The Failure of US Migration Policy in an Age of Climate Change (2022). She examines recent US responses to environmental disasters in Central America and the Caribbean to see what lessons might be learned for shaping humanitarian and immigration policies in an era of accelerating climate change. A diverse group of scholars will assess García’s contributions to our understanding of some of today’s most pressing environmental and political issues.

Session Participants

Chair: Julio Capó Jr., Florida International University
Dr. Julio Capó, Jr. is Associate Professor of History and Deputy Director of the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab (WPHL) at Florida International University. He researches inter-American histories, with a focus on queer, Latinx, race, migration, and empire studies. His book, Welcome to Fairyland: Queer Miami before 1940 (UNC Press, 2017), received five awards, including the Southern Historical Association’s Sydnor award for best book written on the U.S. South. He curated the award-winning exhibition Queer Miami: A History of LGBTQ Communities for HistoryMiami Museum, and has been published in top academic journals. A former journalist, he has also written for Time, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), and The Washington Post, where he also serves as editor for its Made by History section. He’s held fellowships at Yale University and the University of Sydney.

Panelist: Kimberly Phuong Beaudreau, University of Illinois Chicago
Kimberly Phương Beaudreau is a History PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research analyzes the evolution and enforcement of the “economic migrant” category in American refugee and asylum history during the late twentieth century. She has also contributed to the University of Pretoria’s 2019 global study on the domestic impact of United Nations human rights treaties and worked as a policy research analyst for Reform for Illinois and Alianza Americas.

Panelist: Laura Briggs, University of Massachusetts
Dr. Laura Briggs is professor of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is an expert on U.S. and international child welfare policy and on transnational and transracial adoption. Briggs's research examines the relationship between reproductive politics, neoliberalism, and the longue durée of U.S. empire and imperialism. Briggs has also been at the forefront of rethinking the field and frameworks of transnational feminisms. She is the author of Taking Children: A History of American Terror (University of California Press, 2020); How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump (University of California Press, 2016); Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption (Duke University Press, 2012); International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (New York: NYU Press, 2009); and Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2002).

Panelist: Maria Cristina Garcia, Cornell University
Professor María Cristina García is the Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies in the Department of History at Cornell University. She is a leading researcher and writer on the recent history of US immigration policy and is past president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. In 2017, García was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of American Historians. Her previous books have examined Cuban immigrants in Miami; Central American migrants in the transnational context of Mexico, Canada, and the US; and US refugee and asylum policy in the post-Cold War era. García's new book is State of Disaster: The Failure of US Migration Policy in an Age of Climate Change (UNC Press, 2022).

Panelist: Adam Goodman, University of Illinois Chicago
Adam Goodman is an associate professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program and Department of History at the University of Illinois Chicago. His award-winning book, The Deportation Machine: America's Long History of Expelling Immigrants (Princeton UP, 2020), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. Goodman is a co-organizer of the#ImmigrationSyllabus project and serves as a member of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation History Advisory Committee.