Franco American Programs to host panel discussion on 14th Amendment

Franco American Programs at the University of Maine will host a panel discussion to explore questions of citizenship and the Franco-American experience on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

From noon to 2 p.m. three scholars will discuss “The 14th Amendment in Franco-American Life” at the Franco-American Centre on the Orono campus.

In 1938, Claudia Breton Emond was arrested in Biddeford, Maine, and deported to Thetford Mines, Canada, the town she left in 1927. Her daughter, born in Thetford Mines during a two-week vacation, was deported when she was 9 years old in 1939.

The deportations and enforcement of the border were a harsh contrast to the way Emond and her family had regularly crossed back and forth between the countries for work since 1899.

Throughout the 1920s, the United States increasingly regulated and closed the border, affecting the migratory patterns and, as a consequence, the Franco-American community. Following the passage of the 14th Amendment, the U.S. made distinctions between citizens and noncitizens, between those who had a right to be in the country and those who — without that right — could be deported.

The panel will use Emond’s story to discuss how and why the changing definition of citizenship affected the Franco-American community, as well as immigration and citizenship in America today.

Members of the panel are Patrick Lacroix, a Dissertation Year Fellow at the University of New Hampshire; James Myall, co-author of “The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn” and writer of “Parlez-Vous American?” a BDN blog on Franco-American history, culture and people; and David Vermette, a researcher, writer and blogger of “French North America.”

The event is free and open to the public. A light lunch will be provided. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Lisa Michaud at 581.3789 or Susan Pinette at 581.3791.

The event is funded by the Maine Humanities Council and Franco American Programs at UMaine.