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Wed 2/21, 2024, 7:30pm
Town Hall Seattle and OneAmerica present
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández
Redefining the Borders — How to Shape Inclusive and Just Immigration Practices
Headshot of César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (with short black hair, light-medium skin, and red shirt)

Is it possible to reshape immigration practices to align with the values of inclusivity, justice, and the historical promise of the United States as a welcoming haven for all?

Law professor and immigration lawyer César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández presents a powerful case for divorcing immigration law from criminal law in his book, Welcome the Wretched. He challenges the status quo by advocating for the abolition of so-called immigration crimes, questioning the criminalization of border crossings, and proposing a shift towards allowing migrants, even those accused or convicted of crimes, to remain in the U.S. as residents or citizens.

Delving into the historical context, García Hernández reveals that the perception of immigrants as criminals is a relatively recent development, pointing out that until the late 20th century, crossing the border into the United States did not make one a criminal. Drawing on his own family’s immigration stories, García Hernández explores how immigration law and criminal law became entwined and contends that immigration policies are shaped more by politics than a sense of morality. García Hernández sheds light on the personal stories of individuals whose lives changed due to a single decision and challenges the perception of “criminal aliens” as overblown, inaccurate, and rooted in racism and bias.

Join us for an essential discussion as García Hernández advocates for a reevaluation of immigration policies, calling for a decoupling of immigration and criminal legal systems, and urging America to uphold its promise as a safe and welcoming haven for all.

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and an immigration lawyer. He has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Guardian, and many other venues. The author of Crimmigration Law as well as Migrating to Prison (The New Press). You can read more at

On Topic: A Writing Club

Join us in the Otto Bar to warm up for the main event through writing! This On Topic writing club will be facilitated by Miriam Tobin of SCRiB LAB and will focus on themes inspired by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández’s Welcomed the Wretched. No preparation needed – just bring your own writing tools of choice and get ready to flow!

Register Here

Presented by Town Hall Seattle and OneAmerica.



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