California State University, Fullerton

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Forum Focuses on U.S. Immigration Laws and Their Impact on Higher Education

April 18, 2013

Since our nation's founding, immigration has often been seen as an unjust system, favoring some while discriminating against others.

"From AB 540 to Legal Resident: Preparing for the New Challenges and Opportunities," a forum on the topic will be held Friday, April 19, from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 141 of University Hall. Attendees are invited to bring their lunches, their ideas and their voices for the timely conversation. The forum is in support of a nationwide focus on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, undertaken by many colleges and universities throughout the nation.

A panel of speakers will focus on the national agenda of U.S. immigration laws and their impact on higher education. The panelists are: Alexandro J. Gradilla, chair of African American Studies and Chicano and Chicana Studies; Julián Jeffries, assistant professor of reading; and undergrad Alexis Guzman, math and Spanish major.

Writing in an op/ed addressing immigration issues in The Daily Titan, President Mildred García states: "For me, these issues have always been important. I was born in New York, the sixth child of parents who emmigrated with their first five children from Puerto Rico. I came from humble beginnings, and as a first-generation college student, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of higher education. In part, this is why I feel so strongly both about the subject of immigration and the comprehensive immigration reform legislation now working its way through Congress. I also embrace the richness of diversity in this country and in our academic institutions, understanding that our strength as a nation and the value of our educational programs are bolstered by bringing together many voices, perspectives and experiences."

Because the Immigration and Nationality Act establishes a specific number of immigrant visas to be granted each year, the demand is much higher than the supply of visas. At present, there is an enormous backlog. This means it may take years — or decades — for visa applications to be processed. 

Considering that there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, the backlog will continue to grow and hardships will increase. 

For undocumented young adults, applying to colleges and universities, obtaining a driver's license or even getting a part-time job is increasingly challenging. 

For more information on the forum, call 657-278-3488.

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