Immigration a Hot Topic — KU journalism student E Padway


Posted on November 5, 2010 by
Immigration a Hot Topic

Members of the KU community met last month in order to discuss and debate Arizona’s controversial new immigration enforcement law. The forum was moderated by Reuben Perez, director of SILC, and the panel consisted of Tanya Golash-Boza, professor of Sociology and American Studies, David Trevino, a Lawyer specializing in immigration law, and Representative Benjamin Hodge, a Republican in the Kansas House of Representatives.

The discussion touched on all parts of the immigration debate, but the most important topic was how it related to students at KU. The truth is that over the past few administrations, congress has splurged into a trillion plus dollar deficit they will never have to worry about solving, it will be passed on to younger generations such as the generation of current students.

Golosh-Boza spoke of the three options the United States has in dealing with illegal immigration. The first is to deport all the illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S. This option carries an astronomical cost to enforce; it is, according to Golosh-Boza, $200 billion, three times larger than the budget of the Department of Homeland Security. The second option is attrition through enforcement. It is the belief that if the U.S. makes life difficult enough for illegal immigrants they will leave. It is the current strategy and it is not working. The problem is, according to Golosh-Boza, too many people in the U.S. do not want it to work. The third option is legalization for all. According to Golosh-Boza it is the most cost efficient way to deal with illegal immigration and greatly reduces the chances for any Human Rights Violations by the government.

In response to Golosh-Boza, Hodge brought up the costs of raising under-educated immigrants on the welfare system.

“What I don’t think is a good idea at all, is what we are witnessing in America right now, a very large welfare state with a system that is basically an open border system. If we just today legalize everybody we will be fooling ourselves into thinking the problem will fix itself,” Hodge said to the crowd.

The panel also talked about the most pressing issue with the Arizona law, the possibility that the law will subject legal residents to racial profiling.

“In practice police officers and immigration agents do racially profile. It is basically obvious because of the fact that in the United states today 25% of undocumented migrants are not of Latin American Decent. Over the past 10 years where we’ve seen about 2 million people be deported, less than 5% of them have been from countries outside of Latin America. Deportation in the United states basically is directed at Latin American and Caribbean immigrants,” Golosh-Boza said to the crowd.

Currently Trevino is unaware of any legislation that is on the floor of the Kansas government, but he did mention that the currant nominee for the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach did have a role in drafting the Arizona legislation.

Trevino just wants students to stay informed and up to date on the issues so they know where the people they vote for stand.

“I think the students at KU should try to get as much information on both sides of the issue as possible. Whatever data your looking at take a look at who’s putting that data forward and just check to make sure it’s unbiased, as much as it can be. The students need to be informed about it and what these strict enforcement laws are doing to the citizenry of the people of Kansas,” Trevino said.