18 November 2015: Today I met with US Citizenship and Immigration Services officers in the San Francisco Asylum Office to brief them on the Syrian conflict and some of the issues they will confront as they consider resettlement cases involving Syrian refugees. The meeting is made possible by UC Berkeley’s Center for Middle East Studies, which facilitated the discussion as part of my duties as the Center’s visiting Syria historian.
This appointment comes on the heels of President Obama’s promise to grant 10,000 Syrians the right to resettle here in 2016. Unfortunately, this week’s attack on Paris has made refugee resettlement the target for politicized scapegoating; though this makes discussions like the one I hope to have with USCIS more important, the work is suddenly made more daunting by the increased attention (and obfuscation). I hope to write something about this event in the weeks ahead.
Update: I prepared a synopsis of this event for the CMES Spring 2016 newsletter (p.10).