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Compassionate Migration and Regional Policy in the Americas



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Book Chapter

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Political ethics, Conflict resolution, Compassion, Hostility (Psychology), United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy, Hazleton (Pa.) -- Social conditions, Donald Trump (1946- ) -- Political and social views


“Compassionate migration” carries social significance and implies moral criteria. This practical notion should provide means to review, envision, and develop laws, policies, and practices for how we engage noncitizens and build political community within wider human relations. Yet “compassion” is an elastic concept; competing discourses and practices reveal conflicting meanings, assumptions, and orientations. “Compassionate migration” needs criteria upon which its “compassion” is evaluated, including how this notion evolves and what practical results it inspires—such as social cohesion, immigrant integration, strengthened community, and societal transformation. Bookending the chapter’s conceptually driven discussion are two recent, and opposite, case studies in the American immigration debate: Donald Trump’s odd rhetoric of “compassion” and Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s normative shift from a locus of “enmification” toward a community of “Thanksmas.”


This is the author's version of a chapter that subsequently appeared in "Compassionate Migration and Regional Policy in the Americas," S.W. Bender & W. F. Arrocha (eds.), published by Palgrave Macmillan (2017), pp. 217-236. May be found at

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