There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration

Tuesday, May 9
4:30–6 p.m.
Instructional Building
72 East Concord Street
Hiebert Lounge


Ali Noorani (SPH’99)

Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

Ali Noorani has more than a decade of successful leadership in public policy advocacy, non-profit management and coalition organizing, across a wide range of issues. As a key figure among a new generation of national leaders, he continues this mission as Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum advocating for the value of immigrants and immigration to the nation.

Under Ali’s leadership since 2008, the Forum is a powerful and key advocate on numerous immigration issues, working closely with business, law enforcement, faith and immigrant leadership across the country to advance much needed reforms to our nation’s immigration system. Ali has led the Forum through a transition process to prepare the organization for the future, focusing on creative alliance building toward a better future for immigrants and America. With a keen eye for accountability and good business practice, Noorani secured for the Forum accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and a four star rating from Charity Navigator.

Ali provides a principled and reasoned voice on immigration policy and politics, and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, ABC News, and various radio and local news programs. He has been quoted on the pages of most of the nation’s major dailies and is a regular speaker at conferences and campuses across the country. Born in California, Noorani is the son of Pakistani immigrants. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and received his Master’s in Public Health from Boston University. In 2007, Noorani received the Boston University Young Alumni Award.

Established in 1982, the Forum is one of the nation’s premier pro-immigrant advocacy and policy organizations and has been at the center of every major immigration debate over the past 25 years. The Forum uses its communications, advocacy and policy expertise to create a better, more welcoming America that treats all newcomers fairly and respects the rights of all.

webpage-embed--DSS-Book-NooraniThis compelling approach to the immigration debate takes the reader behind the blaring headlines and into communities grappling with the reality of new immigrants and the changing nature of American identity. Ali Noorani, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, interviews nearly fifty local and national leaders from law enforcement, business, immigrant, and faith communities to illustrate the challenges and opportunities they face. From high school principals to church pastors to sheriffs, the author reveals that most people are working to advance society’s interests, not exploiting a crisis at the expense of one community. As he shows, some cities and regions have reached a happy conclusion, while others struggle to find balance.

Whether describing a pastor preaching to the need to welcome the stranger, a sheriff engaging the Muslim community, or a farmer’s wind-whipped face moistened by tears as he tells the story of his farmworkers being deported, the author helps readers to realize that America’s immigration debate isn’t about policy; it is about the culture and values that make America what it is. The people on the front lines of America’s cultural and demographic debate are Southern Baptist pastors in South Carolina, attorneys general in Utah or Indiana, Texas businessmen, and many more. Their combined voices make clear that all of them are working to make America a welcome place for everyone, long-established citizens and new arrivals alike.

Especially now, when we feel our identity, culture, and values changing shape, the collective message from all the diverse voices in this inspiring book is one of hope for the future.