On World Refugee Day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the world is currently witnessing the greatest population displacement since World War II—some 65.6 million people worldwide. This includes 22.5 million people who were refugees at the end of 2016; 40.3 million internally displaced people; and 2.8 million asylum seekers. Last year, 10 million people were newly displaced by conflict or persecution, which was the equivalent of 20 people forced to leave their homes every minute of 2016. Half the refugee population in 2016 were children below the age of eighteen.
Given these staggering statistics, what are the strategic and moral implications of this largest global crisis witnessed since World War II? What lessons have we learned from darker moments in U.S. history, when “fortress America” policies denied safe haven to refugees fleeing persecution? What do the Trump Administration’s policies mean for refugees and for U.S. national security? These issues will be the focus of the 2017 Frank Church Conference, “America’s Future: Refugees, Migration and National Security.”
The 34th annual Frank Church Conference, “America’s Future: Refugees, Migration and National Security,” held on October 23, 2017, brought together a number of national, State and local speakers on these vital issues. More than 500 students, faculty and members of the community attended the sessions including some 240 people who attended the luncheon where Anne C. Richard, former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration was the keynote speaker.