Religion and Immigration
On Tuesday, May 7, Professors Roberto Mata and Teresia Hinga led the final Religious Studies Conversation of the year, entitled "Beyond Bridges, Beyond Walls: Religion and Im/migration." Students and faculty gathered for the conversation, which covered topics ranging from the immigration crisis and border control to the global migration of women of color seeking a new life outside their countries of origin. Prof. Mata presented ways religious rhetoric and scriptures are used to solidify national borders, as in "Christian nation" discourse, and also highlighted the ways religious texts have been used to proclaim the values of hospitality and acceptance of others. Prof. Hinga added insights from global migration, citing stories of African and Filipina women who move from their home countries to seek stable income in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Hinga highlighted, in particular, the multilayered burden of global migration, which often requires women to leave their own families behind to care for the family of a person in a more privileged context. Students and faculty then addressed various topics in religion and immigration, including the challenge within immigrant communities to accept those who enter countries using legal pathways and those who enter in violation of the law, but often to flee violence and oppression, seeking a new life.