tv U.S. Cold War Refugee Policy CSPAN November 18, 2018 10:59am-12:01pm EST
entirety on our series, "real america." 10:00 a.m. and on sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. up next, the national history center hosts a congressional u.s. refugee and asylum policy during the cold war. called on tempo and maria cristina garcia -- which amended several laws and created several federal refugee programs. seriesart of a regular providing historical context to current events for congressional members and staff. >> good morning. the national history center is not part of this. our purpose is to bring historical perspectives to current issues and not to
advocate for particular policies. we would like to begin this morning by thinking the foundation for their financial support. and also congressman gerry connolly's office for arranging the room. my name is alan, i went to american university. and i want to welcome you. as i was thinking about how to set the stage for this morning's presentation, i was driving past a field of youngsters playing soccer and i cannot help her calling that when i was a child, the only kids i knew were playing soccer were my friends refugee kids. who came to the united states with their parents in the late 1940's or early 1950's. so often, their parents had been liberated from concentration and bore on their forms, numbers that have been branded on them by the nazis.
the attitudes of many americans were not generous. that changed in 1980 when president jimmy carter signed the united states refugee act. that law that amended the immigration and nationality act from 1962and an act was intended to offer permanent and a systematic procedure for admitting refugees to the united states. the main objective was to create a new definition within american law for refugees. based off of the human definition and to raise the limit on refugee admissions from 17,000 250,000 per year. and to establish the administrative mechanisms for managing rep easy -- refugee assistance. as most of us remember, the definition of "refugee" refer to
individuals who are outside of their country's residence or nationality and were unwilling or unable to return. because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on the top of race, religion, or nationality or political opinion. at the time it was passed, there were some americans who fear a flood of refugees. ofaccounted for only 10% immigration in the united states. it allowed for only one refugee per 4000 americans. over the years, the number of refugees accepted as and and ebbed and flowed. 1980, average, since around 80,000. from 1990 through 1995, an
average of about 112,000 refugees arrived each year. formerny coming from countries of the soviet union. after 9/11, the u.s. suspended refugee resettlement for a a while. paul security measures were examined -- while security measures were examined. they can take as long as 18 to 24 months. they include the review of applications by the state department and other agencies. in person interviews. health screenings and so on. in the fiscal year ending in september 2016, the united $84,095 --itted 84,095 refugees. year, the largest numbers
came from syria, myanmar, the republic of the congo, iraq, somalia. when president trump took office, the refugee cap in place was 110,000. two weeks ago, the administration announced they will admit more -- no more than 30,000 refugees. that would be a significant cut from the 45,000 accepted in the current fiscal year. this new number is a small fraction of 1 percentage point of the estimated 69 million displaced people in the world today. thee mike pompeo has said night states remains the most when other eight is taken into account, including funds to shelter refugees and camps closer to their home countries, the new ceiling would be the lowest level of annual
refugee admissions allowed since the 1980 act was enacted. ragee political storms over the refugee issue, we might well turn to the past for a clear understanding of how we got where we are. and shining the light of historical perspective on current discussions can only help to that end. the national history center this morning has invited two qualified experts to assist us in kerning -- inputting the current situation into perspective. .ur first speaker is carl he's a associate professor of history and a professor at the university of new york in albany. he received his phd from the university of virginia in history. he is the author of "americans at the gate." united states and
refugees during the cold war, published in 2008. a co-author of immigration and american industry -- history. he is working on a book entitled "human rights at home." the united states and human rights in the 1980's. ,rofessor maria cristina garcia is a howard newman professor of cornell studies at university. she also joined an appointment in the latino studies program. dr. garcia teaches about immigration and refugee history. the most recent book is "refugee challenge in post-cold war america." which was published in 2017. i urge you to read it, it is a great read. she is the author of "hub and a usa" cuban exile and seeking refuge.
both published by the university of california press. as well as dozens of book chapters and articles on various aspects of refugee and asylum history. she is coeditor of a nation of immigrants, u.s. society and an agent restriction. 1924 through 1965. which is published by -- will be published by the university of illinois press in 2019. she is completing a book on the environmental origins of climate refugees. she is the past president of the immigration and history society. without further ado, let me welcome our speakers to the podium. >> good morning.
thank you for that very nice introduction. in the decades after 1945, the united states did make a commitment to the admission of refugees. some of the stories are well known. when he think about the 1950's, the decade in which eastern european refugees arrive. the 1960's, cuban refugees. the 70's, chinese refugees. the 1980's, persons from around the world and the refugee act. that phrase that i just used, commitment to refugee admissions is actually more tricky and more slippery than it might appear at glance. this is what i hope to do, is take a closer look at the history behind those admissions. the history suggests just how fragile and subject to contemporary events the
commitment actually was. my goal is to deconstruct this notion of a commitment and some of the forces that shaped it. and made it fragile. i think in doing that, we will begin to have a foundation for understanding some of the forces that might be in play today. as first point i would make we think about the fragility of thatcommitment is to say during the cold war, roughly from 1945 through 1990, that commitment moved from and ad hoc amendment to regularized admissions. in the 1950's and 1960's, the u.s. government largely responded to refugee crises and they did so by passing through congress and admissions programs to law or by using april power to bring refugees to the unite -- a parole power to bring
refugees to the united states. in the 1980's, something different happened with the refugee act. that act provided for annual admissions. and a global quota system. basically what we have in place today. my point is that the legal foundation for this commitment to refugees have shifted over time. the second point i would make is that refugee admissions in the cold war era were contested politics. forget thethink, to of opponents of refugee admissions. if you go back and look at public opinion polling, what you learn is that at any one point, somewhere between 30 to 40
percent of the public opposed refugee admissions. aose folks were motivated by variety of concerns. sometimes it was national security. sometimes it was economic fears. sometimes it was racial or religious or cultural animus that brought about that position. , often in ourhat national memory, we think of the united states as a country that welcomes all refugees. there is always been a significant portion of the ,ublic who have been skeptical if not outright opposed to that effort. on the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the supporters of refugee admissions. those people cut across religious and racial divides. and most importantly, almost always included both democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives. ist i am getting at here that the two blocks of contested
refugee policy and politics during the cold war era are heterogeneous and shifting in terms of their energy and relative power and the clinical system. they were both always present and they were always battling each other. in a way that would suggest that refugee politics and the battle we have today are a continuation or a tradition the unite states has enjoyed since 1945. -- the united states enjoyed since 1945. the point i would make when i think about this era is that the cold war and u.s. foreign-policy did indeed help drive refugee admissions. those two things were not static entities, they were changing after the post-1945 period.
changed, so did the basis of refugee admissions. i might point to the ship, in the early cold war, the 1940's and 1950's, one can see the anti-communist foreign-policy of the united states laying a key role in determining which refugees were considered for admission. 1970's, with the human rights revolution in full bloom, you can see human rights consideration within american foreign policy playing a larger role. i would add one more couple getting factor to this. because there was a foreign-policy imperative, it did not mean all refugees got treated equally. in the cold war era, there had to be a refugee fleeing a communist country. this helped the cubans, who were trying to come to the united states. that same foreign-policy imperative served very little purpose for haitians who are looking to come to the united
states. and who found themselves locked out. units, theicy front cold war cut both ways in terms of admissions or in terms of keeping people from coming to the united states. just foreign-policy, though. that helped determine who might come to the night states. domestic policies -- domestic politics shaped who the united states considered worthy of admission. i would use two separate examples. in the 1950's, the red scare, the great anti-communist purge of the 1950's, helped shape how americans considered who might be a worthy refugee for admission. in fact -- fast forward 20 years after that, the civil rights revolution of the 1960's shapes who the united states considers
to be a worthy refugee. of admission. both of those domestic political moments, in view, refugee policies have helped shape who into the nighted states. the last point i would make, as you think about this commitment to refugees in a way which is fragile, is that the implementation of refugee admissions programs mattered greatly to the final outcome. put another way, it does not matter as much what congress passes. it matters how it gets implement it in the field. it matters greatly who administers the refugee program. both here and in washington, d.c., and on the ground in other parts of the world. because those folks have the power to slow or cede the entry
of refugees. an example of this emerges in the early 1950's. the united states passed a refugee program, the refugee release act. opponents of refugee admissions controlled the key committees of congress and they put, at the head of that refugee release program, a man by the name of scott mccloud, who was the state department's head of internal security. phrase, the chief red hunter of the state department. he was put in charge of the refugee program. he slowed, greatly, the refugees. this only changed when president eisenhower decided we cannot have this. and he put someone in place was much more sympathetic to refugees with a background in refugee policy. all of this is meant to show that it matters who is in charge
of programs. you have to when that bureaucratic battle after the law is passed. of all away, if i think of these points together is that american refugees admissions would deeply embedded -- were deeply embedded in social and foreign-policy, cultural and economic political currents a home -- at home and abroad. embeddedess of being makes the commitment to refugees fragile. if the commitment to register used -- if the commitment to refugees is fragile, i would suggest the fragility comes from larger forces that are at play they were at play from 40 or 50 years ago. many of them are still shaping of the united states makes its commitments, or lack thereof to
refugees. thank you. [applause] thank you for coming out this morning. over the course of u.s. history, americans have used the term refugee in a variety of contexts. the 19th century, americans used the term refugee when talking people who fled the failed revolution of 1848. they also used the term when discussing americans left homeless in the civil war. more recently, journalists have used the term refugee when discussing those displaced by hurricane katrina, irma, and maria. despite the very different uses, the term refugee as one precise meaning in u.s. law and in international law. this limits those were eligible for admission into the night
states as refugees. we may call someone a refugee but that does not mean that they qualify for refugee resettlement in the united states. craft at attempt to distinct refugee policy occurred in the wake of the second world war as my colleagues have discussed. and 1965, a series of loss and policies were enacted that fast tracked the admission of hundreds of thousands of people. because it was deemed in the national interest. an example, congress passed act in 1948. an act in 1953. the 1957 refugee escape act among others for postwar recovery of our allies by accommodating a share of those who had been left homeless by the war. most of those who entered,
because of these laws would not have been admitted into the united states otherwise because of the racist national origins intas that had been placed 1924. each of these laws and policies passed between 1924 and 1950 f five defined it -- 1955 find a refugee in ways -- different ways. ehey used terms like escape t and refugee interchangeably. tonight, it is the refugee act that is the foundation of our current policy. the law draws on the you and read definition -- on the u.n. definition. -- or political opinion. the annual quota for refugees is
set. decades, we have admitted hundreds of thousands of refugees as a result of this act. starting in 1980, 207, 000 arrive that year. arrived innumber 2018, we have admitted 21,000 people. during the cold war, it was anti-communism that was the lens through which we interpreted who was worthy to come to the united states as a refugee. coming to this country did not guarantee your admission. the federal government operated on the premise that communist nations were inherently oppressive. not surprisingly, the majority our refugees came from the soviet union, vietnam and cuba. refugees also came from poland,
slovakia and east germany. of people's republic th china. for the admission of refugees from conley's countries because these refugees demonstrate to the rest of the world the desire of democracy and capitalism over totalitarianism. they became symbols of what they said was an innate human desire to live in free societies. they also benefited from refugee admissions because refugees were often among the most educated other society. and the cold war ended communism ceased to be the lens, policymakers began considering a wider range of populations as potentially eligible for refugee. victims of war and civil unrest. religious persecution, people
had fled these conditions drop the 20th century. the had not shaped how refugee visas had been distributed. the refugees admitted to the thand states a wider range ever before. we have exercised greater reliance on non-government agencies like the unhcr in identifying who is in need of humanitarian protection. , hasost-cold war period presented the federal government with a number of challenges. there are two that i consider significant. growinge respond to the number of people who are commissioned for asylum on u.s. territory? and how do you reconcile our obligation with national security? is and ischallenge
highly -- and asylum. abroadee is identified for resettlement in the united states. they murder crust this they may request humanitarian protection. -- they may request humanitarian protection. individuals might be eligible for reseller in the united states and they refer them to our refugee admissions program. the file decision is made by the refugee program. the department of homeland security and justice. and asylum requests protection on u.s. territory. they meet at the u.s. mexico border or at the u.s. canada border or even at the coast guard special. during the cold war, asylum cases were relatively fewer. the cases that generated the most media attention with the defections of high-profile individuals like romanian
and chinese this. until the 1980's, they were released on their own reconnaissance, while they waited for an administrative determination on their case. since the 1980's, the petitions for asylum have increased are medically. largely because of political of people in central america and haiti and other countries. in march of 2018, the most recent that i have access to, we had close to 900,000 asylum cases that were open and waiting for determination. on average, and asylum seeker can expect to wait a thousand days or more before they are able to determine his or her case. we admit on average about 25,000 asylum-seekers per year. in order to discourage people from back lugging the with asylumcourts
claims, the federal government has expedited removal. challenge number two, obligations with domestic concerns for national security. since 9/11, one could say the war on terror has become the new lens from which we determine who is most needing a protection. there is great fear of accepting refugees from certain parts of the world. areas that are believed to be incubators of terrorism. consequently, the burden of proof is even higher today for refugees and asylum-seekers. in -- the lives that they need to jump through our even more difficult to prove their worthiness. -- refugee or asylum applicants
must prove their identity, that they are with a say they are. you cannot have a criminal record. even for crimes that are not recognized in the united states. they must be civilians. army officers are not qualified in the post-9/11 era. refugees must be outside their country of origin. they must industry that they have -- they must demonstrate that they have a reasonable fear of persecution. they must a mistake they cannot find safety by moving to -- they must demonstrate they cannot find safety by moving to another part of their country. less than 1% of refugees worldwide are admitted to resettlement nations likely united states, canada, australia and the u.k.. americans have taken on the impression that refugees -- if refugees wait long enough, they will get admitted and that is not how the immigration system
works. the real burden of accommodating the world is borne by the countries that border areas of crisis. many of which are not signatories to the human dimension. best the u.n. convention. -- the u.n. convention. these humanitarian agencies depend on the united states to do their work. close to 69 are million displaced persons in the world today. over one third of whom are believed to be refugees. expected to grow, especially as a result of accelerated climate change, which acts as a threat multiplier, exacerbating political conflict. since the vast majority of refugees have never been and will not ever be resettled in countries like the united states
, past administrations have recognized that the united states needs to be a top donor to humanitarian agencies like the unhcr to help them find a durable solutions. in 2017, the u.s. was the top donor, donating $1.4 billion so that they could provide the basic shelter, water, food and education. robustabsence of a more resettlement program, basically, unhcr has become all the more important. even they can only do so much. some refugee camps are larger than u.s. cities. and their long-term impact on countries and regions will have an impact on our foreign policy as well. thank you very much. [applause] >> ok. it is time to open the floor for your questions.
yes. >> how much of a risk is there that the general public does not understand the difference between refugees and immigrants? >> if my students are a sample of that, there is a great misunderstanding between refugees, immigrants, asylum-seekers and parolees, there is a lack of familiarity with how the immigration system works. one of the most obvious examples of that is that there is a misunderstanding that there is this mythical line that if and when immigrants get into that line, they enter the united states. have athe line, once you chance of getting admitted, there are many people who'll never be considered for admission as an immigrant. if they don't have skills that are necessary to the u.s. economy, if they do not have relatives to the night states,
their chances of getting in our virtually nonexistent -- are virtually nonexistent. thanks for your question. >> i think that one interesting is to parse this out think "why do americans not understand this?" there is ais that lot of technical, legal categories here, but you have to pert to begin to understand. maybe that does not translate well into public discussion. it is very hard to have public discussions about those types of legal distinctions. the other thing i would point to is that some of the national mythology that we teach in our schools and we see every time we go to new york when we see the statue of liberty and this
notion that the night states accepts all comers is so deeply embedded in how americans conceptualized themselves and their history. in that myth, you flatten out the differences between these different types of folks were coming to the united states. are any, asylum these other category. that makes for a challenging policymaking environment. and the political process comes out of that environment, where you have to explain to americans who are deeply invested in these myths these precise differences and why this group or that group deserves protection in this case or that case. it is embedded within this larger stories we tell ourselves about the nature of the united states. -- that i think helps explains some of the fuzziness americans have about this distinction.
[indiscernible] hear that the opposition is that refugees coming in from the middle east, all of it takes is a few -- all it takes is a few of them to be terrorist sympathizers. i want to get your parallel from the 50's to bringing in folks from communist countries. was there also a heightened scrutiny of screening for communist sympathizers, like a trojan was problem? or was that more of a new development? >> it is not a new development. in fact, there were, in the late 1940's when the various refugee admissions programs of the 50's, there were concerns that opponents were skeptics of
refugee admissions. can you really tell if this person who is applying for refugee status? are we really sure that they do subscribe to american ideals? are we sure that they are not communists being embedded in these camps in eastern europe and brought over to the night states? these are the concerns. those concerns have as much -- just like the concerns about terrorism after 9/11, you can imagine during the red scare and the early years of the cold war, how much those types of complaints and objections would have an american light. one result of this is that opponents managed to put in place in incredibly -- an incredibly stringent screening.
in the refugee release act, they are asking multiple questions about multiple years of these refugees lives. this is one thing that echoes today for me at least, the notion that somebody has been displaced was fled for their years oft 2, 3, 4, 5 paperwork for instance that they can show to officials and say yes, here is what i have been doing on this and this date. peers where i was living, here is my lease. people did not have a in the 1940's and 50's. -- people did not have that in the 1940's and 1950's. one thing they got right was trying to deal with those problems and challenges, in my research i see a degree among some of these refugee administrators saying we are going to have to adjust slightly here to deal with the circumstances. i think it is an interesting question to ask whether or not
those types of adjustments have been made in the current refugee system to deal with the same types of problems and to combat the same types of fears. yes. most of the refugees or countries where they are being admitted from? is the united states making a distinction between political refugees and economic refugees? like they have made for the haitians? for some years, the number of countries where refugees have been -- that has been the number one country, the dramatic -- democratic republic of the congo. the distinction between political and economic refugees,
our policymakers would say that if you are coming for economic reasons, you're not a refugee. the definition of refugee is defined precisely. those of us who study migration have argued for some time that there is a thin line between political and economic motivations for migration. for example, the work that i'm doing right now on climate service and migration, one of the reasons i started working on this project is that i noticed that many of the refugee populations i was writing about work displaced by an extreme weather even of some sort. that force them to move. when they moved, they put enormous pressures on their new locale that led to violence and civil unrest. it was at that moment that they refugees."itical
likewise, for those who are economically driven, it gets into the political motivations, it is hard to phase out the political from the economic. we try to do that all the time. we always have, we really -- rarely have met the quota. it is usually, we really need the quota. -- we really meet the quota. we look at the criteria very carefully. >> one of the important components is also the health screening process. as diseases are perceived to be about and we worry pandemics of different kinds, whether it is ebola or influenza and so on, that too is taken into consideration. because of the potential economic burden of bringing
people into the united states who need extensive medical attention as well as the potential threat of having people as carriers coming into the night states. that component of it is increasingly significant to those were doing the screening. yes sir -- yes, sir. [indiscernible] the u.s., i know that there are some countries that have begun to reserve a certain number of quarters for .eople -- immigration quotas new zealand has discussed accommodating a certain number of people. we have nothing in place here in the united states for people who are displaced for environmental
reasons except for temporary protected status. which benefits only people who are already here in the united states, either as a tourist, a student or as a business traveler. if they are here on u.s. soil when subtype of environmental -- some type of environmental destruction happens, then it is possible that the u.s. might grant nationals from the country as -- temporary citizens that is. it is temporary. granted fore were environmental recent. >> please wait for the microphone to come to you. >> i was wondering if you can talk a little bit about the distinction between the second and third generation refugees and if that plays a role at all in also the status of whether or not they will be admitted or the
issue of refugees that have been in these camps and have lived there for a wild. -- a while. 1% of the when only refugees worldwide have a chance of being admitted, it is, as you say, common to see two or three generations in a refugee camp without an opportunity to practice professions and move about freely or receive an education. or have some of the most basic health care. that is an international problem. it is an outrage. why more people are not talking about this is hard for me to understand. think the eighth united states get to the unhcr and other agencies is so important for them to try to
five best find some solution, whether it is relocation back to their homeland or immigration into the country they find themselves. being a second or third generation refugee in a camp is not necessarily going to give you an advantage for admission into the united states. some of the solution needs to be identified. >> questions on this side of the road? thiswould just ask that multi generational refugee problem is not new. when you think about the post-world war ii crisis and we think about the problems in europe, let's lay aside the problems in asia, which were more expensive than the ones in europe, the european refugee camp's opened in 1945 and there is a big push in 1960 25 -- try -- there is a big
push in 1960 to try to close them. it still took 15-20 years to andn to close those camps find resettlement opportunities for the people there. this is a problem that stretches back and what it shows is that we have not found a solution for this. -- itstymied up before has stymied up before and continues to today. refugees are excepted, nonprofit organizations play a critical role in resettling this country, i'm curious if you talk about the relationship between nonprofits and the government and, in particular, what extent nonprofits are pursuing u.s. policy or challenging it through their actions? >> i can do the cold war story which is an interesting one. --be christina picks it up
there has always been this partnership between the ngo's who do refugee aid and the federal government. there is interesting work done by historians on the nature of that partnership. one of the things we see over time is that in the 1930's and 1940's, those ngos, refugee organizations are absolutely running and the implementation of these refugee admissions programs. 1957, a huntat in gary and refugee crisis mounts and you have people from hungary spilling over the borders. five or six in geos are on the ground in austria, who are vital in terms of processing the people coming out and identifying them as establishing a record of who they are.
the u.s. government liens on them incredibly to figure out who a refugee is and some of their baseline data. some of the work shows historians -- some of the historians work shows that the relationship adjusts in the 1960's and evolves so the government plays more of a role in the resettlement game. .he ngo's take a step back where they were maybe in the lead in the 1950's and 60's. largely this happens with the cuban refugee program where the u.s. offers a robust resettlement program and you see the ngo's stepping back. 1980, thes, after ngo's again are important in not only helping to resettle refugees, which of course they are, but i would argue they are -there is a side effect to that which is that they help set
the debate for what it means to be a refugee in the united states. the colors how americans think about who is a refugee and who can be a good refugee, right? who deserves, that might be a word that is loaded with people use it, who deserves resettlement in the united states. that enters into a feedback loop where agents policymaking and how americans in the political scene and just generally think about what a refugee is and what a refugee should look like. it is all about being integrated into the system. perfectly,he said it today, when we think of the u.s. refugee admissions program, there are so many different levels and so may people are involved that it is not just the individuals who are interviewing to see who is going to get one of those coveted refugee -- it is also the 30 or so agencies
the government contracts with our subcontracts with that helps relocate people across the country to places where they might drive. -- thrive. helping them retool for the u.s. economy, introducing them to the culture and normals of -- norms of life in the united states so that they can thrive. the reports of gas that have been coming out recently about refugee integration, so that refugees are contributing, specifically economically to where they are settling. theou mentioned some of definitive distinctions between what is considered a refugee, can you elaborate on what some of the differences are as it pertains to current immigration law and the process that one ?oes through ye
>> i think one of the distinctions that i would want to highlight between the two is seekers haveasylum an even higher burden of proof. especially if they have arrived in the united states without authorization. that puts them on the expensive track for the silent -- asylum. there is the affirmative asylum .rack arrivedive is you have and you're afraid to go back because you have been critical of your country. you apply for asylum and that puts you on one track a bureaucracy. u enter without authorization and your apprehended by law
enforcement and you ask for asylum, that puts you in a defensive track. the burden of proof is always higher on the defensive track because a policymaker operates from the premise that you intend to deceive. there is a heightened burden of proof to prove your worthiness for admission. it becomes even more difficult because unlikem in a criminal court, you are not granted legal representation. you are not -- you don't receive assistance as a translator or interpreter, if you have those services, you have either pay for them yourself or because some organization, and immigrant rights organization has provided those rights pro bono. it increases your chances --
according to the statistics that i have access to, for 2010, those without legal representation only had -- only 11% of those asylum-seekers were successful in their asylum claims. ,t is with legal representation 55% of them were successful. legal representation makes all the difference to your asylum. add toink one thing to round out this story is to understand, christina mentioned is anut asylum policy unintended consequence because it clarifies in the 1970's and in the 1980's with this refugee a law that i studied a fair amount, you look at the debate about it and policy and nobody is talking about asylum law. they don't think it is going to
be that big of an issue. it explodes in the 1980's. a reminder that history does not always do what we think it is going to do. things unfold in interesting ways. then you are in a policymaking situation where you're dealing with a law that does not set up to deal with the problem that you're not confronting. that makes it an extremely challenging moment for policymakers and the folks who need to implement these laws on the ground. that is something to think about when you think about refugee policy or law, things pop up afterwards. those shape the programs in very vital ways and put us in places we never thought we would be. >> questions? for this.ou very much my question is more about the and burdenhe u.s.
sharing, how does this impact the global and the u.s.'s future role? >> you are right. there have been a number of developments from the signal that we are with trying from, or humanitarian and -- i hope i'm wrong about that because as crawl mentioned earlier, i think refugees and asylum-seekers are essential to the american narrative. i would hate to think that we are abandoning that humanitarian tradition. as it is, as inconsistent as the
process has been, is a tradition refugee amelf, as a a beneficiary of the program. i would hate to see the united states abandon that tradition. there are some negative forces out there that say that that is the goal. tot there is an agenda eliminate the refugee program altogether. i would hope that that is not the case. >> a challenge to historians about the future, we get a little squarely to predict the future. i will turn around and say that the past is full of these moments where there is a political battle over the future commitments to refugees should be.
we have not been one since 2001 when the admissions fell way below the quota. we are in a another one of those moments and it is a political and cultural contest in a deeply divided nation. and so, we have done this before in the past. and so, we're doing that right now. as a historian, i look at this and say we have -- we are doing things that we have done before. this is a political battle over refugee admissions. we will see how this one plays out. i am not sure. mentioned, most of this echoes with the past. this is an american tradition at some level, the debate. out of time,ost the last word might belong to a refugee. i'm thinking of a woman who wrote an essay called "we refugees" that she published.
i will read you a couple of sentences. means ther home which familiarity of daily life, we lost our occupation which means the confidence that we are of some use in this world. we lost our language, which means the reactions and simplicity of gestures, we left bestelations and our friends have been killed in concentration camps. that means the rupture of our private lives. in a just world, perhaps, this is a very important discussion, that we could respond to the needs and suffering of those like this woman and those who have come more recently as they seek to escape from their condition and into the united states. thank you very much. [applause]
>> [inaudible conversations] , you'reon c-span3 watching american history tv. >> cbs broadcasted for one hour specials to investigate lingering controversies and unanswered questions surrounding the november 1963 assassination of president kennedy. this weekend on real america, on the worno parts report. anchored by walter cronkite and including interviews with key witnesses, the program set out to answer the question, did lee harvey also old shoe president kennedy? and was there a conspiracy? . they preview.
-- here is a preview. >> we are left with a series of questions about the assassination. questions which have not been answered to the satisfaction of the people in the united states. cbs news will try to cast light on those questions. they fall under 4 headings, which we will examine. "did lee question harvey oswald shoe president kennedy?" for the next two nights, we will take up the question of conspiracy. tomorrow, we will ask was more than one assassin firing? tuesday, we will ask if there was a conspiracy leading to the presence murder? wednesday, we will ask why doesn't america bleed? we will examine these questions in new york and in libraries and laboratories.
barker was at the assassination site. with dan rather on the sixth floor, as for the first time since the assassination, news cameras enter and explore the building itself. this is where she says she saw two meant with the gun -- two men with the gun. >> i saw a man with the gun and there was another man standing to his right. i could not see all of this man. i cannot see his face. the other man was holding a short gun. here thatld be noted the commission failed to follow up with her story. she was interviewed briefly by fbi agents but never call before the commission. >> watch part 1 and 2 on sunday
at 4:00 p.m. eastern on real america. you are watching american history tv, all we can, every weekend on c-span3. next on lectures in history, arizona state university professor kyle longley teaches a class on president lyndon johnson and the vietnam war in 1968. he discusses reaction to the tet offensive and talks about the reasons behind the president's decision in march not to seek reelection. professor longley describes attempts to forge a peace agreement with the north vietnamese and the role the war played in the november election. longley: happy for everyone to be here