Michele Wucker is the author of The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore, to be published in February 2016 by St Martin’s Press. She also is the author of LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right (Public Affairs; a Washington Post Book World “Best Nonfiction of 2006” Selection) and Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians and the Struggle For Hispaniola (FSG/Hill & Wang, 1999). A 2009 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, she has been interviewed by many US and international media including National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN. Previously she was Vice President for Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, following a position as President of the World Policy Institute in New York City, where she oversaw the organization’s successful spinoff from The New School in 2007.
World Rhino Day is a reminder each September of the way we often don’t address crucial problems until it is too late, as is the case for the four remaining Northern white rhinos, a sub species facing extinction. But that doesn’t have to be the fate of the rest of the rhinos still walking the earth, as I argue in the Huffington Post.
Sam Koebrich from cfr.org recently interviewed me about the expulsions to Haiti by the Dominican Republic of Dominicans of Haitian descent and recent migrants. “Deportations in the Dominican Republic,” August 13, 2015. Several people have noted that my approach to the issues avoid hyperbole and focus on constructive suggestions.
Acento republished the interview in Spanish in the Dominican Republic, prompting a series of tweets and posts to my public Facebook page from Dominicans who refuse to accept any criticism. At least one was outraged by the supposed international plot for “fusion” of the two countries sharing the island of Hispaniola -you know, the same plot that exists only in the mind of Dominican ultra-nationalists. But I don’t mind. They at least spelled my name right.
The killing of Cecil the Lion this summer sparked a frenzy of outrage, first over the killing itself and then degenerating into fury over how-over-the-top some of the reactions were and, above all, over the fact that the lion was the subject and not whatever the complainer’s cause-of-choice happened to be. There’s a better way to respond. Read my thoughts in the New York Observer
In the latest chapter in a long and complicated history of tensions with neighboring Haiti, the Dominican Republic is poised to deport recent Haitian migrants and expel Dominicans of Haitian descent who have not been able to prove that they were born there. This week, the deadline to apply for “regularization” passed, with many people saying they applied but have not been given proof, and many others having been rejected or having been unable to get past bureaucratic chaos.
National Public Radio’s Audie Cornish interviewed me June 17th, 2015, on All Things Considered about the history of tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the subject of my first book, WHY THE COCKS FIGHT: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola. You can listen to the interview and read the transcript HERE.
For additional information about the history of the two countries and current efforts by Dominicans and Haitians to overcome the past, please visit www.borderoflights.org.
I highly recommend Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, a novel about the 1937 massacre, and Julia Alvarez’s A Wedding in Haiti, a contemporary and nuanced account of relationships among Dominicans and Haitians.
One of the best things about joining The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has been the chance to return to immigration public policy debates. It was an honor to speak about immigration and business Monday, March 9th, in honor of International Women’s Day at the Union League Club of Chicago with a fantastic panel including Mary Meg McCarthy of the Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center, Crate & Barrel founder Carole Segal of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Maria Socorro Pesqueira of Mujeres Latinas en Accion, and Moderator Alison Cuddy of the Chicago Humanities Festival. For more information about the event click HERE.
Here also are links to a few recent media appearances: “Obama’s Immigration Plan Gives Ohio Businesses a Taste of Reform,” in the Cleveland Plain Dealer November 25, 2014; Executive Action Is Here -Time for a New “Start” on Legislative Reform on the Chicago Council’s Running Numbers blog, November 21, 2014; an interview “Immigration Reform” on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight November 20, 2014, and a radio interview on “Could Executive Action Clear the Way for Comprehensive Immigration Reform?” on WDCB-FM November 14, 2014
I’m delighted to be joining The Chicago Council on Global Affairs this month, where as vice president of studies I’ll spearhead The Chicago Council’s efforts to generate new ideas and influence policy debates in the United States and abroad. The Chicago Council is an important global voice on addressing critical policy challenges, so I could not be more excited to be joining its talented team to develop impactful new ideas and approaches to some of today’s most important issues. On a personal level, I’m so happy to come home to the Midwest and the city where my great-grandparents met a century ago as newly arrived immigrants.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922, is an independent, non-partisan organization committed to educating the public — and influencing the public discourse — on global issues of the day. The Council provides a forum in Chicago for world leaders, policymakers and other experts to speak to its members and the public on these issues. Long known for its public opinion surveys of American views on foreign policy, The Chicago Council also brings together stakeholders to examine issues and offer policy insight into areas such as global agriculture, the global economy, global energy, global cities, global security and global immigration. Learn more at thechicagocouncil.org and follow @ChicagoCouncil for updates.
Read the press release about my appointment here.