TEDTalk: Immigration and Social Circles

Duarte Geraldino is an American journalist with a focus on analyzing culture and its impact on our nation. He is known for his work on long-term projects and has produced short films/documentaries with common themes of building a sense of community between cultures. In addition to his independent work, he is a special correspondent for PBS NewsHour and reports on business, demographics, and technology.

One project he is working on right now involves the stories of U.S. citizens losing loved ones to deportation, called Hear Our Stories Now. He is creating a global archive for people to tell their stories in a way that can not only spread awareness but also show patterns in the stories being told. Geraldino also recently produced a short documentary called Ordered Out, and it is to be screened at multiple film festivals later this month. The film follows a family facing the reality of deportation and how U.S. laws are tearing the family apart.

This short TEDTalk touches on Geraldino’s personal experiences and the importance of social circles within a given society by looking at the bigger picture.

TEDTalk Highlights

The point Geraldino makes in his TEDTalk is not about choosing sides. It is about looking at how immigration reform affects everybody, not just the immigrants themselves. He says, “I am not suggesting that no one should ever be deported; don’t confuse me with that. But what I am saying is that we need to look at the bigger picture,” he comments on the crucial aspect when it comes to immigration policy: “Rather than focusing on individuals, we should focus on the circles around them, because these are the people who are left behind: the voters, the taxpayers, the ones who are suffering that loss,”

Geraldino continues the discussion to explain one of the projects he is working on. “I’m building a global archive of first-person accounts and linking them with mapping technology so that we can see exactly where these circles break because this is not just an American issue,” He pauses for a moment and then goes on: “There are a quarter-billion migrants around the world; people living, loving and learning in countries where they were not born.”

The current issue of immigration, particularly in the United States, has been brought to the forefront of political matters. Although many people express disapproval of President Trump’s decisions, it is clear there is a divided opinion. Some Americans approve of the plan to deport thousands of illegal immigrants back to their passport countries and support the crackdown on illegal immigration. Others believe in continuing the support of previous programs in place, like DACA and the Dream Act, to provide more opportunities for citizenship for those in search for a better life.

Much of what is debated on the issue of immigration policy does not cover the well-being of immigrant families that have settled here for years, nor the psychological and emotional cost once they are deported. From 2008 to 2016, more than three million people were deported from the U.S. back to their passport countries.

Zach Vick is a college student concerned with the recent calls to change policy. He states, “I see this easily affecting the economy in a positive and negative way depending on how everything plays out. I see both sides to the issue, but what it comes down to is human rights and the patterns we are seeing are more destructive than effective.”

Here are a few policies Trump plans to enforce:

  • Build a wall along the southern border between Mexico and the U.S. to increase national security.
  • Rescindment of DACA legislation – illegal immigration and chain migration poses an unfair burden on Americans.
  • Quicker deportations for unaccompanied minors and removal of illegal immigrants in a timely manner.
  • Cutting off federal grants to sanctuary cities.
  • Discouraging illegal re-entry and visa overstay.
  • Increase employment at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Hire 370 new judges and 1,000 attorneys to oversee immigration cases.
  • Placing a new limit to the number of refugees to 45,000.
  • Placing an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
  • People traveling who are from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are not permitted to enter the US for 90 days or be issued any type of visa.
  • Crackdown on legal workforce: require “E-Verify”, a status-verification system for employers and imposing penalties for not following new-hire requirements.

For more information on immigration principles and policies, click here.

Prahlad Adhikari was born in Nepal but moved to America for a better education. He shares his opinion on the matter: “I have seen so many good opportunities appear for immigrants looking for a better life here. It has changed my life, and I know many others who can say the same. I believe some things need to change, but I don’t think putting up a wall or banning foreign travelers is the answer.”

Geraldino emphasizes on the social circles that are fundamental when communities are formed. The people we are supported by help shape our experiences, whether that be friends, family, coworkers, and so on. Geraldino challenges his audience to take a step back and think about the importance of human connection, politics aside. If we shift our perspective just slightly and look past differences in culture, we might discover a more feasible solution for everyone involved.

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