Deepak Bhargava has a big idea: America should live up to the best parts of our national identity and become the most welcoming country on Earth for immigrants and refugees. His Statue of Liberty Plan proposes a target of welcoming 75 million people over the course of the next decade. To do that, and counter broader authoritarian appeals, we need a new narrative rooted in progressive values.
Deepak is a CUNY distinguished lecturer in Urban Studies, a Roosevelt senior fellow, and former President and Executive Director of Center for Community Change, and his ideas come at a crucial moment. In the coming years, an existing trend will accelerate: The people who contributed the least to the climate crisis will bear the worst of its effects. According to the World Bank, there will be 143 million climate migrants from Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia by 2050. Given the scope of our country’s historic contributions to the climate crisis, this presents an urgent question: As Deepak asks, “If you burned your neighbor's house down and they came to your door, knocking, asking for refuge, what's your responsibility?”
Deepak, Michael, and Felicia discuss the moral imperatives behind a progressive vision for immigration and what kind of civil society movement would be necessary to see it through.
Deepak also talks about his vision and strategy for the broader progressive movement: Returning to the fundamentals of organizing. Listening seriously to what people want and need. And telling a good story that makes sense. “There are millions and millions of people in this country who would participate in its renewal, who would participate in this fight if they are asked,” he says. “We can win this.”
Presented by the Roosevelt Institute, The New Republic, and PRX. Generous funding for this podcast was provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network. Views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of its funders.
You can find transcripts and related resources for every episode at howtosaveacountry.org.