Annual Symposium Focuses on Immigration Legislation

This 1887 image from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper shows immigrants on the deck of the steamer Germanic.
This 1887 image from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper shows immigrants on the deck of the steamer Germanic.

This 1887 image from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper shows immigrants on the deck of the steamer Germanic. (Library of Congress)

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society is pleased to announce its annual spring symposium, Congress and a Nation of Immigrants, 1790-1990: From the First Naturalization Act to the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. The symposium opens with a reception and keynote address at 6 pm on Thursday, May 5 in room B338 of the Rayburn House Office Building. It continues on Friday, May 6 in room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building with six more speakers and a lunchtime presentation by historical interpreter Ron Duquette, presenting Albert Gallatin. A box lunch will be provided to pre-registrants who wish to attend to the lunchtime program.

Symposium speakers will tackle a range of topics that examine Congress and immigration law through various lenses, including race, quotas, politics, and popular culture. As speakers consider immigration law and related issues, they will detail and challenge popular perceptions of racial, ethnic, and political differences in American society from 1789 and the Alien Acts through the Simpson-Mazzoli Act in 1986.

This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested, by clicking here or by calling (202) 543-8919 x38 and leaving a detailed message. See below for the program. Can’t make it to the program? We’ll be live-tweeting as much as we can from @USCapHis #immigrationhistory.

This year’s symposium is made possible in part by a grant from Bank of America.Leadership Council Member: Bank of America

Keynote Address
Thursday, May 5 at 6 pm, room B338, Rayburn House Office Building
Speaker: Paul Finkelman, Symposium Director
Ariel F. Sallows Visiting Professor of Human Rights Law, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Senior Fellow, Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism Program, University of Pennsylvania

Best entrance: South Capitol Street between Independence and First St. SE; use Capitol South or Union Station metro or look for street parking.


Featured Speakers
Friday, May 6, approx. 9 am-4 pm in room 325, Russell Senate Office Building (SR-325)
Gabriel “Jack” Chin, University of California, Davis School of Law
Andrew Gyory, Facts on File
Mariela Olivares, Howard University School of Law
Kunal Parker, University of Miami School of Law
Renee Redman, University of Connecticut
Lance J. Sussman, Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel & Gratz College
Lunchtime Presenter
: Ron Duquette as Albert Gallatin

Best entrance: Constitution Ave. and First St. NE; use Union Station or Capitol South metro; street parking can be difficult but you can validate two hours of parking at Union Station at the machine inside the station.

Program Order, Friday, May 6
Welcome and Introductions

9:10 to 9:55
Andrew Gyory (“‘Wretched Parodies of Men’ or ‘Our Noble Chinee Friend’?: The Image of the Chinese in the Dime Novel and Popular Culture during the Era of Exclusion”)

10 to 10:45
Lance Sussman (“Reopening the Golden Door:  Congressman Emanuel Celler’s 40 Year Struggle for Immigration Reform, 1924-1965”)

10:55 to 11:40
Gabriel “Jack” Chin (“Was the Diversification of America an Unintended Consequence?”–regarding the 1965 Immigration Act)

Bonus program with Albert Gallatin (box lunch provided to pre-registrants); please pre-register.

1 to 1:45
Mariela Olivares (“The Socio-political Effects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act on Latina/o Immigrants in the United States”)

Renee Redman (“A Short History of United States Asylum Law”)

2:45 to 3:30
Kunal Parker (“Immigrants and Other Foreigners in American History”)

3:30 to 3:45
Wrap up and Q&A

Keynote Speaker and Symposium Director

Paul FinkelmanPaul Finkelman, Ph. D., is the Ariel F. Sallows Visiting Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law and a Senior Fellow at the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published more than 150 scholarly articles, more than twenty-five books, and numerous op-eds on the law of American slavery, the First Amendment, American race relations, American legal history, the U.S. Constitution, freedom of religion, baseball and the law, and a biography of Millard Fillmore.

Featured Symposium Speakers
Jack ChinGabriel “Jack” Chin is the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor at the University of California, Davis School of Law. His scholarship has appeared in the Penn, UCLA, Cornell, and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties law reviews and the Duke and Georgetown law journals among others. The U.S. Supreme Court cited his work on collateral consequences of criminal conviction in Chaidez v. United States (February 20, 2013), in which the Court called his Cornell Law Review article “the principal scholarly article on the subject” and in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), which agreed with his contention that the Sixth Amendment required defense counsel to advise clients about potential deportation consequences of guilty pleas. Working with students, he persuaded the Ohio legislature to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, and the California Supreme Court to posthumously admit an attorney after he was excluded because of his race (In re Hong Yen Chang, 334 P.3d 288 (Cal. 2015)).

Andrew GyoryAndrew Gyory is Editor-in-Chief at Facts On File and holds a Ph.D. in American History. A former college professor, he is the author of Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act (1998), winner of the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Award. He has also written numerous articles and book reviews, most recently for the Washington Post on Donald Trump and the politics of immigration, and for Perspectives on History on affirmative action. He has published numerous award-winning encyclopedias and reference works on American and global history.

Mariela OlivaresMariela Olivares is an Associate Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law. She has taught at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and was a fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Her professional and scholarly interests include the intersection of family law, domestic violence, and immigration law and policy, including access to justice for immigrants and limited-English proficient populations. Prior to teaching, Olivares was an attorney in the areas of family law and domestic violence law and has experience litigating employment discrimination and director and officer insurance liability cases. Olivares clerked on the Supreme Court of Texas.

Kunal ParkerKunal Parker is a Professor of Law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami School of Law. He is the author of Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America, 1600-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Common Law, History, and Democracy in America, 1790-1900: Legal Thought Before Modernism (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Parker’s teaching areas and interests include American Legal History, Estates and Trusts, Immigration and Nationality Law, and Property.

Renee RedmanRenee C. Redman is a sole-practitioner in New Haven, Connecticut where she focuses on immigration and business litigation. She also teaches immigration law as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Her prior positions include executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut. Until 2004, she practiced commercial litigation with Hughes Hubbard & Reed, LLP in New York City. She clerked for the Immigration Courts in New York City and Newark, New Jersey, and the Honorable Warren W. Eginton of the United States District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Lance SussmanLance J. Sussman, Ph.D., is the Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, and Adjunct Professor of American Jewish History at Gratz College. He is the author of numerous books and articles including Isaac Leeser and the Making of American Judaism and Sharing Sacred Moments, a collection of his sermons. An editor of Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Source Book, Sussman is a member of the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the American Jewish Archives (Cincinnati) and past chair of the Judaic Studies Department at Binghamton University SUNY. He currently serves as the president of the Delaware Valley Association of Reform Rabbis, as a member of the Executive Council of the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis, and as a Trustee of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lunchtime Presenter
Albert Gallatin arrives at a speaking engagement. (Ron Duquette)Ron Duquette
is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and the lineal descendant of a French soldier who was at Mont Royal (Montreal), New France, in 1640. He is a 1974 graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont with a Bachelor of Letters degree (cum laude) in French Language and Literature, and has a 1984 Masters of Science Degree (summa cum laude) in Government from Campbell University, North Carolina. He began serving in the  United States Army as a Second Lieutenant in 1974 and spent twenty years in assignments and schools in the U.S. and Europe. Duquette’s theatrical experience is broad, ranging from French classical and modern theater to Shakespeare to musical theater. He has also interpreted several historic personages, including Harry Truman and the Marquis de La Fayette. For the last two years, he has presented Gallatin in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York City, Alexandria (VA), and Arlington (VA).