By Paola Guzman
On Wednesday, April 12, the Timely Conversations series held a panel on “Current Immigration Policies and their Effect,” in the Tilles Center Patrons Lounge. The Timely Conversations series was initiated by Shaireen Rasheed, professor of philosophical foundations and multiculturalism. The series aims to help students gain better understanding of the current issues discussed in classrooms, according to Rasheed.
The panel included Murtaza Hussain, journalist for The Intercept; Maryann Slutsky, executive director of Long Island Wins, and Laura Lemus, special project coordinator of Long Island Wins. It was moderated by Rasheed. The event started off with Slutsky, who spoke about the fear in the homes of immigrant families. According to Slutsky, crime is not being reported by undocumented immigrants because they fear that coming forward will result in their deportation. She also commented on how fear is affecting students. According to Slutsky, students of undocumented parents are afraid to go to school because they fear that they will come home to a parent missing. “Promising students are dropping out because they’re afraid they could get arrested by I.C.E.” Slutsky used words like “fear” and “afraid” constantly when describing the state of undocumented immigrants and their communities.
Lemus discussed the meaning of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and what it would mean if President Donald Trump were to repeal the act. Lemus is a DACA student and shared her experience. She arrived to the United States from Mexico when she was six-months old. Only after DACA was approved, Lemus was able to apply for employment using a social security number, after paying college out-of-pocket due to her citizenship status. “Now under this administration, this executive order which changed my life, has been threatened to be taken away,” Lemus said. Lemus also went over what to do during an I.C.E. raid, including, how to differentiate between an administrative warrant and a judicial warrant, which is vital information that may prevent a deportation. Additional information can be found on https:// longislandwins.com.
Hussain talked about various cases where students from prestigious universities had their visas terminated while abroad without an explanation. “International students contribute billions of dollars to the economy a year,” stated Hussain. “What makes America special, strong and great is that it attracts the best people from around the world. It gives the United States an edge in research, in the medical field and technology.” Hussain also talked about extreme vetting and how it affects immigrants’ opportunities and liberties.
Tiana Collazo, a senior sociology major, attended the event. Collazo said, “I have many immigrant friends and the changes with the new president has affected a couple people I know. So, I’d like to get more information for them, so they know what’s going on.”
The Timely Conversations series will resume in the fall.