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December 10, 2020 2020 US Elections Aftermath: A Social Justice Policy Summit

Our Country is Full. True or False?

In addition to individual-level and structural discrimination, the coronavirus crisis inspired institutionalized discrimination - laws, policies, and practices excluding immigrants and other perceived cultural, racial, and ethnic outsiders.

Last April, for instance, the UN warned that the United States was using the pandemic to summarily expel asylum seekers. As part of a long-term strategy to slow the influx of newcomers, President Donald Trump has implemented additional restrictions. He also falsely claimed that the construction of a barrier wall on the border with Mexico will prevent further infections.

Still, from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the recent Muslim and African Bans, barring racial, ethnic, and cultural minorities is not particularly innovative. Indeed, it is the same xenophobia but the subject of official derision simply evolves in response to the political, social, and economic context. This panel examines root causes, manifestations, and practical policy responses to such legal measures with an eye on the next four years.


  • César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, JD, Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Erika Lee, PhD, Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies, University of Minnesota; Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota; Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, University of Minnesota; Director; Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota; Vice President, Organization of American Historians
  • Karla M. McKanders, JD, Clinical Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School; Director, Immigration Practice Clinic, Vanderbilt Law School; Advisory Committee Member, ABA Commission on Immigration
  • Faiza Patel, JD, Director, Liberty & National Security, Brennan Center for Justice


  • Engy Abdelkader, JD, LL.M., Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States; Co-Chair, Rights of Immigrants Committee, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice; TILN’15

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Human RightsABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic JusticeABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & ResponsibilitiesABA Commission on Homelessness & PovertyABA Commission on ImmigrationABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender IdentityABA Council for Diversity in the Educational PipelineABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers DivisionABA Section of State and Local Government LawABA Standing Committee on Gun ViolenceABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service


2020 US Elections Aftermath: A Social Justice Policy Summit Resources

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Transcript: Our Country is Full. True or False?

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