Immigration and Citizenship

Sunday, September 20, 2009
First Aired: 
Sunday, November 11, 2007

What Is It

What are the effects of immigration on culture in America?  Does it promote homogenization, diversity, or both?  Cultural enrichment, or assimilation? What challenges does immigration raise?  What immigration policies should the American government adopt, with respect to economics, culture, and ethics?  How can we justify denying privileges and protections to people based simply upon where they were born?  What, if any, restrictions on immigration and citizenship are permissible?  John and Ken welcome Noe Lozano, Dean of Diversity at Stanford's School of Engineering, to discuss the challenges and benefits of immigration, in a program recorded live at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA.

Listening Notes

Ken kicks off the show out by pledging allegiance to the justice of John Rawls, the major political philosopher of the last century. He and John then welcome Noe Lozano, Associate Dean of Student & Diversity Affairs at Stanford's School of Engineering, to the show, and he tells them about his beginnings as a migrant farm worker. They then discuss the justifications for national borderlines: why should we care about people moving from Mexico to the US, and not about people moving from Oklahoma to Hawaii?

They then move from arguments about borders to arguments about the characteristics of people crossing borders. What difference does a card make? Should political invitation be important to immigrants if the people the government represents extend economic invitations?  Before breaking for the last section, Ken, John, and Noe start to discuss what justifications individual nations might have for border control if it turns out to be better for the world as a whole not to have borders. 

In the last section, Ken, John, and Noe continue to talk about the place of national interests in immigration issues and what a nation may legitimately require from prospective citizens. What is the importance of a national culture and language? Does concern for culture and language have to seep into racism? They conclude the show by discussing their own views on justice, immigration, and a better world. 

  • Roving Philosophical Report (Seek to 6:30): Zoe Corneli gets a first person perspective on the shows' topic by interviewing immigrant farm workers and their families in Plainview Valley, California.  
  • 60-Second Philosopher (Seek to 51:00): Ian Shoales reviews the history of sovereignty, from the Roman Empire and the Peace of Westphalia to today.