The discussion among experts and the audience will take place Nov. 15 at the Allen Theatre in the Student Union Building at Texas Tech University.
Perhaps no issue galvanized the opposing sides of debate in the most recent U.S. presidential election more than immigration. President Donald Trump, as a candidate, at almost every political rally held leading up to the election, promised a new, better and bigger wall along the U.S.-Mexico border with the controversial promise that Mexico would pay for it.
In the year since his election, the president has maintained his pledge to build that wall and has even exhibited various designs for the wall, but Mexico has continually denied it will pay for the wall.
In another controversial immigration-related move, President Trump announced in September the end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has prevented roughly 800,000 children, brought to the U.S. by their parents and known as DREAMers, from being deported to a country of which they know little to nothing or where some do not speak the language well if at all.
The questions of immigration, citizenship, border walls, amnesty, education and legalities remains some of the most divisive challenges faced by the U.S. They are questions that resonate loudly on college campuses.
In 2001, Texas was one of 18 states that passed legislation allowing non-U.S. citizens, including some undocumented immigrants, to pay in-state tuition at public colleges if they could prove state residency for at least three years and earn a high school diploma from a Texas high school. These students also signed an affidavit promising to pursue a path to permanent legal status, should one become available. That opportunity never arose.
With the decision to end DACA, colleges, universities, businesses, families and communities will be forced to confront how to define who is an American and whether, in deciding the fate of the DREAMers, the country's waking from the American Dream.
Experts from Texas Tech University and a local immigration lawyer will pose a diverse range of perspectives on DACA and the many issues surrounding immigration at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 15) in the third installment of the Civil Counterpoints in the Allen Theatre of the Texas Tech Student Union Building. Audience interaction is encouraged, and a reception with the expert guests will follow.
"Immigration policy and enforcement have long been controversial issues in U.S. society, especially in larger cities and the border states," said Kent Wilkinson, the Thomas Jay Harris Regents Professor in Hispanic and International Communication in the College of Media & Communication. "DACA policy has intensified the debate in recent years, especially on university campuses. The organizers hope this Civil Counterpoints session will help members of the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities understand these complex and consequential topics."
Experts for this installment of Civil Counterpoints include:
- Jorge Ramirez, the Walter and Anne Huffman Professor of Law in the Texas Tech School of Law and an expert on international and humanitarian law;
- Benjamin Powell, a professor of business economics in the Rawls College of Business and director of the Free Market Institute, who specializes in economic development and public choice; and
- Paola Ledesma, an attorney from Lubbock who is dedicated to aiding the Hispanic and minority communities through assistance with immigration benefits and helping minority business owners
Eric Bucy, the Formby Professor of Strategic Communication in the College of Media & Communication, will moderate the discussion.
Civil Counterpoints is a collaboration among faculty members from the College of Media
& Communication, the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources and the Honors College to encourage civility and open-mindedness in discussions of controversial topics.
The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in the event can also follow along on Twitter and contribute to the discussion using the hashtag #ttubecivil.
For more information on Civil Counterpoints, including dates and topics for future discussions, go to its website.