The United States as a land of hope and refuge for the persecuted and oppressed is the subject of two talks that will be hosted by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. The first event features an expert on migration, citizenship, race and ethnicity. The second discussion highlights the voices of refugees facing deportation and their advocates. Both events are free and open to the public. Register by clicking here.

The forums are offered by the center as part of its annual Stanley Kwok Lau & Dora Wong Lau Distinguished Lecture Series. This year’s events are part of the center’s 50th anniversary celebration.

On Wednesday, May 15, Mae Ngai, a professor of Asian American studies and history at Columbia University, will present “Mother of Exiles, Refugees in American Myth and History.” Ngai will examine the contemporary recasting of Central American asylum seekers as undocumented migrants and the politics that surround the cold war refugees from Europe, China, Cuba and Vietnam. Ngai is an award-winning author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,” among other books, and write on immigration history and policy for the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and other media outlets. The event, which will be held in UCLA’s Northwest Campus Auditorium, begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, and Ngai’s talk will follow at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, May 23, the Asian American Studies Center and the UCLA Office of Residential Life present the “Southeast Asian Deportation Forum.” Currently, there are more than 16,000 Southeast Asian refugees at risk of being separated from their families and deported to unfamiliar countries. The forum will discuss topics such as U.S. imperialism and military involvement in Southeast Asia, the refugee resettlement process, the criminalization of refugees, and racist policies that lead to the deportation of refugees. Most importantly, the forum will highlight the resilience and activism of Southeast Asian Americans in resisting these unjust policies and advocating for change.

The speakers will be Jenny Srey and Montha Chum of Release Minnesota 8; Somdeng Danny Thongsy of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee; and Houth “Billy” Taing, of the Asian Pacific Islander Reentry and Inclusion through Support and Empowerment, Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

This event, which will be held in room 300 of the Tom Bradley International Hall, will include a reception with the speakers at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7 p.m.