Leila Kawar speaks on immigration hosted by International Relations Club

By Alvin Buyinza

(Aakanksha Gupta/ Daily Collegian)

The International Relations Club at the University of Massachusetts hosted its first speaker on immigration and migrant rights Wednesday.

Leila Kawar, a university professor in the legal studies department who specializes in immigration and migrant rights, spoke in the Campus Center at 7 p.m.

At the event, Kawar highlighted key immigration and human rights policies from the latter half of the 20th century to the early 2000s. Her primary focus was the type of labor the migrants face when coming to new countries.

After the lecture, Kawar entertained a conversation between students about immigration and global policies. Students of the UMass IRC added to the political conversation, most notably on the subject of trafficking.

“Trafficking is essentially migration gone bad,” Kawar said.

Kawar spoke of the high amounts of human trafficking in relation to Bangladesh and Qatar. One of the effective strategies she suggests to stop such horror is through licensure and regulation of private immigration companies.

When it comes to immigration, Kawar added, “I don’t think it’s an issue of whether people are in or out of this country, but whether they are treated well.”

Kawar also commented on the highly controversial immigration ban implemented under President Trump.

“At the moment there is this punishing scapegoat mentality and need for people to blame others from different countries,” Kawar said.

“As a Muslim American I feel as if this ban is pretty rash, the fact that it was an executive order shows what direction this country is going,” Noosha Uddin, a junior economics and political science major said. “The fact that is happened in the first two weeks is terrifying.”

Alvin Buyinza can be reached at [email protected].