The International Studies Institute selects the theme for this year’s “Hot Spots” discussion series.
The International Studies Institute at the University of La Verne has voted on this year’s theme: immigration.
Every year, the University has a new theme focusing on a global issue or concern that either affects people, forces them to think about their opinions or inspires them to help.
Kenneth Marcus, associate professor of history, is a member of the International Studies Institute and is excited about this year’s theme.
“Immigration is something that affects everyone,” Marcus said. “We are a nation of immigrants because what does it really mean to be an American? We need an in-depth, balanced discussion on immigration. The media only covers the surface.”
Marcus, along with other members of the institute, would like to bring the colleges together with the chosen theme.
“We want members of the arts, sciences, communications and all other departments to be involved throughout the year to bring this theme to the forefront,” Marcus said.
Immigration is a big topic not only in the United States but all over the world, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is estimating a big increase in immigration for the upcoming year.
In 2008 alone there were more than 11 million immigrants living in the United States.
The theme at the University seems to be attracting invested attention and support for immigration and the many immigrants in this country.
Ian Lising, assistant professor of speech and debate, is a firm believer of immigration, not only in the United States, but also as a global issue.
“Some people forget that immigration is more than just here in the U.S.,” Lising said.
“There are others who need amnesty, for example political refugees and those escaping persecution. Immigration is not one-dimensional, it is not enough to just scratch the surface.”
Lising considers himself an American despite having Filipino roots, but understands the need for immigrants to have ties to their own roots.
“We have many cultural clusters, like Chinatown, and places that are dominantly Mexican,” Lising said. “Cultures tend to stick together, but what happens to a person whose identity is something else?”
Although Lising supports immigration, he believes in acquiring citizenship the right way. “It is important for people to still follow certain guidelines and procedures.”
Lising had some trouble bringing his wife here from the Philippines but nonetheless he went through the process.
“It takes a long time but it is not fair when others want things for free. It’s as if they cut in line. Everything is a process, there are certain procedures to follow, a legal way of pursuing immigration,” Lising said.
Daniel Loera, the Multicultural Club Council adviser, is a strong advocate for amnesty, and cultural recognition for immigration.
“We have 8-11 million people living in the shadows of our economy and society. They do not have a voice,” Loera said.
Although immigrants can go to school from K-12, there is very little they can do to go to college.
“There has been much lobbying for the Dream Act, where students can have an education while still being able to get citizenship,” Loera said. “This is vital because we are not benefitting from their voices and their brain power.”
In general the participants believe that the immigrants in the United States need to be addressed and be part of our society and our culture, not be shadowed and troubled individuals.
Julissa Cardenas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.