Enrique’s Journey: How to Fix Immigration and the Fight for Child Migrants

Hosted by the James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs at the University of Nebraska at Kearney
2003 Feature Writing winner Sonia Nazario. (The Auburn Plainsman)

The world we live in is filled with visible and invisible lines—directing us, connecting us, and dividing us. We create them, negotiate them, erase them, replace them, and, of course, cross them both accidentally and deliberately every day of our lives. We cross streets to visit our neighbors but sometimes also to confront them. We cross class, ethnic, religious, and gender lines in ways that expand and enrich our social fabric but sometimes also risking tearing it. We cross national lines to see the world and learn about new cultures but also to conquer other civilizations, imposing our own cultural values upon them. And meanwhile, nature itself ignores all our artificially imposed boundaries—storms, heat waves, fires, viruses, and species move and cross these lines at will—sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

The 2022 James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs cannot begin to address all the ways lines may be crossed or the resulting consequences, but here are a few of the ways we hope to stimulate thought and discussion on this topic. Our keynote speaker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sonia Nazario, will discuss the modern-day odyssey of many child migrants—some as young as seven, all of them traveling alone—who cross the line from Mexico in a quest to reunify with their mothers already living in the United States. Dr. Margaret Jacobs from the University of Nebraska Lincoln takes a slightly different perspective on children crossing the line with her research into Indigenous Child Removal. The Conference will also host two original art exhibits relevant to these issues: an invitational show of six established immigrant printmaking artists from Japan, France, Korea, Russia, and Estonia and a curated exhibition of the artists affected by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

-- from the event page


Registration is required for the free conference at this link. Registrants must indicate whether they intend to attend virtually or in-person at the university.

Nazario's address is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. CST on November 14. A book signing will follow from 10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.