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Macricostas lectures bring immigration and Greek history to WCSU

Image of Daniel Costa
Daniel Costa, director of Immigration Law and Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute

DANBURY, Conn. — Reflecting the immigrant roots of Constantine “Deno” Macricostas, who rose from childhood poverty in Greece to become the founder of Photronics in Brookfield, the inaugural Macricostas Family Arts & Sciences Endowed Speaker Series at Western Connecticut State University will present a talk by a longtime observer of immigration in America.

Daniel Costa, director of Immigration Law and Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute, will discuss “U.S. Labor Migration: Politics and Policy” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

Labor migration — the movement of people from one country to another for the purposes of employment — is a complex and often controversial issue in most countries. Costa will offer a background on the basics of the U.S. labor migration systems, including the various pathways through which migrants enter the U.S. labor market, and explore what a fair immigration system could look like. The talk will be free and the public is invited.

The lecture is the culminating event of International Education Week at the university, coordinated by Professor of Marketing Dr. A. Ben Oumlil. A second lecture sponsored by the Macricostas Family Foundation and the WCSU Western International Center, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, in White Hall 127 on the Midtown campus.

At that presentation, Maria Georgopoulou, director of the Gennadius Library, of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, will discuss “ ‘To Save the Country,’ Lord Byron, General Makriyannis and the Greek War of Independence.”

Costa, in his role at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., has criticized the government’s recent decisions regarding the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that benefited young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. The program allowed DACA recipients to get work permits and stay in the country legally, subject to two-year renewals. The Trump administration rescinded DACA in September but gave Congress six months to amend the law, potentially allowing about 800,000 immigrants to continue to receive benefits during that time.

Costa argues that not only does DACA help young immigrants earn at least the minimum wage, but it also benefits their American coworkers by enforcing legal workplaces.

“Research has shown that unauthorized immigrants suffer much higher rates of wage theft than U.S. citizens,” Costa said. “The reasonable fear unauthorized workers feel keeps them docile and quiet, which in turn diminishes the bargaining power of Americans who work alongside unauthorized workers. Ending DACA and forcing these young workers out of the formal, regulated labor market, thus making them easily exploitable, will not help American workers, it will do the opposite.”

The lecture series, featuring Costa as its first speaker, was created as the result of a 2014 gift by the Macricostas family, which also supported the naming of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences. The annual lecture is intended to bring renowned speakers to the university for the benefit of students and the community. 

For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.