Free

The Color of Surveillance: Government Monitoring of American Immigrants

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Hart Auditorium

600 New Jersey Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20001

United States

View Map

Friends Who Are Going
Event description

Description

Since the Snowden disclosures of 2013, it's been a truism in Washington that "everyone is watched." But history shows that not everyone is watched equally: Instead, people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and LGBT persons have disproportionately been the targets of government tracking. This is what we refer to as "the color of surveillance."

On June 22, the Center will hold The Color of Surveillance: Government Monitoring of American Immigrants. American surveillance of immigrants is far from new. The interrogations and surveillance of Chinese and Indian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the misuse of Census data to locate and incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II; and the inspections and workplace monitoring of Mexican guestworkers in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s all evince a long history of disparate government tracking — a trend that has expanded rapidly since 9/11.

How have the geopolitical and technological shifts following 9/11 changed the nature of that targeting? What is the relationship between the surveillance of immigrants and monitoring of the broader American population? How can policymakers address the lessons of history while meeting their obligations to public safety and national security? These are the kinds of questions the conference will grapple with.

We are thrilled to announce the participation of the following guest speakers:

  • Professor Margo Anderson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a historian who twice uncovered the misuse of Japanese Americans' Census data to locate them for incarceration during World War II (New York Times, Scientific American)

  • Joan Donovan of the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, a researcher of how white supremacists understand and mobilize around genetic science (Culture Digitally)

  • Artist Hasan Elahi, recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, who has meticulously tracked and made public nearly all aspects of his life after an erroneous FBI investigation in 2002 (TED)

  • Professor Ronald Mize of Oregon State University, an expert in the border inspections and workplace surveillance of Mexican braceros in the 1940s, 50s and 60s

  • Ken Montenegro of Advancing Justice Los Angeles and the National Lawyers Guild, who has spent over two decades supporting social movements as a technologist and lawyer

  • Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, author of two expert studies dispelling the notion that immigrants are disproportionately dangerous or inclined towards criminal conduct (Cato Institute)

  • Professor Mae Ngai of Columbia University, a scholar of the history of immigration who has argued that the border interrogations of the modern-day Muslim ban echo the practices of the Chinese Exclusion era (CNN)

  • Paromita Shah of the National Immigration Law Project of the National Lawyers Guild, who is pressing the Department of Homeland Security to release information on mobile biometric fingerprint scanners used in immigration raids (NILP-NLG)

  • Christina Sinha of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, an advocate for limiting police cooperation with the FBI in light of racial profiling and bias (San Francisco Examiner)

  • Professor Seema Sohi of the University of Colorado-Boulder, a historian of U.K./U.S. surveillance of Indian immigrants and intellectuals in the Pacific Coast during the early 20th century

  • Professor Xiaoxing Xi of Temple University, a Chinese American physicist who was wrongly prosecuted for allegedly sharing sensitive secrets with the Chinese government (New York Times)

This is the second Color of Surveillance conference. In 2016, the Center held its first conference on the subject, which focused on government monitoring of the African American community. The conference was covered live, in its entirety, by C-SPAN, and featured the Pulitzer-winning biographers of W.E.B. DuBois and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the general counsel of the FBI; and a range of scholars, advocates, and technologists.

That fall, the Center helped convene a coalition of local grassroots advocates led by the Center for Media Justice — the Color of Freedom coalition. It is our shared belief that for surveillance reform to occur in a way that addresses historical racial disparities, the leaders of that movement must be diverse, diffuse, and local.

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

Hart Auditorium

600 New Jersey Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20001

United States

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved