Wellesley Sociologist Advocates for Transnational Social Protections

February 21, 2018
Hundreds of people stand in line at a transportation hub waiting to cross a boarder.

“We have to stop pretending we live in closed spaces; people raise families, earn their livelihoods, exercise their rights and responsibilities, and access social welfare across borders,” said Peggy Levitt, the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American Studies and chair of the sociology department at Wellesley, in a recent interview with UA Magazine. The magazine has republished an opinion piece Levitt wrote for Sapiens in April 2017 in which she argues for transnational social protections for migrants. The op-ed is particularly relevant as the March 5 DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals) deadline looms.

Levitt told UA, “We are so interconnected that we need to feel a sense of responsibility for communities beyond our own, but we are increasingly seeing the opposite. In fact, social welfare policies are often used as immigration control policies, because when you deny people access to services, you are basically telling them to go home.”

According to Levitt, despite what the current political climate in the United States and Europe might suggest, globalization is here to stay. Levitt said in an email, “When one of out of every seven people in the world today is an international or internal migrant, who moves by force or by choice, with great success or great struggle, it means that we are all global citizens now. We need to better understand how the many people who belong to more than one nation at the same time are piecing together their health care, senior care, and education across borders and to evaluate whom the new winners and losers are.” 

Read Levitt’s full opinion piece.