Insult to Injury: Disaster Displacement, Migrant Threat Perception, and Conflict in Host Communities

Environmental disasters are complex problems not only for the communities directly hit but also for areas that receive the people forced out of their homes. In developing nations, this situation is called internal displacement and is recognized internationally as a protection and security problem similar to refugee flows. Wealthier countries like the United States, however, have not yet acknowledged similar concerns domestically. Michael Locke, in a video discussing his CHDS Master’s thesis, “Insult to Injury: Disaster Displacement, Migrant Threat Perception, and Conflict in Host Communities,” explores the right to freedom of movement, the potential for conflict and weakened social cohesion in post-disaster settings, and the ways American communities can identify these challenges and avoid perceiving fellow citizens as threats to stability.

About the Presenter

Michael Locke is the Supervisory Management & Program Analyst for the San Francisco District of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), overseeing data interpretation, process improvement, and records management activities at four field offices in Northern California. He has served with USCIS in multiple roles since 2014. Prior to joining USCIS, he served as an economist for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Mr. Locke holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and an M.A. from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS). He is still wary of homeland security as a discipline, but predicts that internal freedom of movement is reemerging as a point of public contention. 

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