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Students meet and discuss immigration reform

The+Immigration+Reform+Panel+educates+students+about+upcoming+policies+that+can+affect+them+at+both+a+global+and+personal+level.+
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Students meet and discuss immigration reform

The Immigration Reform Panel educates students about upcoming policies that can affect them at both a global and personal level.

The Immigration Reform Panel educates students about upcoming policies that can affect them at both a global and personal level.

Photo | Marina Swanso

The Immigration Reform Panel educates students about upcoming policies that can affect them at both a global and personal level.

Photo | Marina Swanso

Photo | Marina Swanso

The Immigration Reform Panel educates students about upcoming policies that can affect them at both a global and personal level.

Tiffany Jones,
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California State University, East Bay students met in the New University Union on Tuesday in an effort to clarify misconceptions, as well as inform the students about the importance of immigration reform.

The event was organized by the Associated Students, Inc. Legislative Affairs Committee. Organizer Shuaib Amiri said the event was hosted in response to the  Nov. 25 incident when President Obama’s speech on immigration reform was interrupted by activist Ju Hong. Hong is a friend of Dr. Kim Geron, who spoke at the event.

For the speakers, immigration reform is an effort to offer ways for undocumented residents in the United States to become legal citizens. Bills have been proposed both on the state and national level, however there has been doubt over whether this will solve the problems the undocumented community faces.

“There is no real immigration reform right now; there is a senate immigration bill. It would be great the bill passed, but most likely the bill will not pass, a version of it will pass, but we must be aware,” said Elenore Zwinger, an attorney from the International Institute of the Bay Area.

Diversification is promoted through allowing people to interact with one another. Immigration reform encourages interaction between people from the U.S. and places all over the world including Mexico, Central America, Guatemala, and many more, explains Zwinger.

“Immigration is about becoming a global society. If you allow immigration reform, you allow stabilizing in a society through learning with people from different societies,” said Jerry Chang, former student government president. Chang was undocumented when he first moved to the U.S.

Chang explains that students are first and foremost humans, like everyone else; therefore it is essential to promote diversity in schooling and education, especially because immigration reform is a global problem as well as a problem in the United States.

Atta Arghandiwal wrote “Immigrant Success Planning,” a self-help book for the younger generation.

Atta Arghandiwal wrote “Immigrant Success Planning,” a self-help book for the younger generation.

“The problem is not just in the United States. Immigration reform is important because understanding the human challenges that we are faced with all over the world is very significant for the younger generation to be engaged and mobilized in,” said Atta Arghandiwal, author of self-help book “Immigrant Success Planning.”

The speakers agree that it is essential for students to incorporate and be accepting of immigrants because there is no change yet in immigration laws, the change is coming still.

“It is so enriching and interesting to know people from different places and their stories. We are living in a diverse society. I encourage you to be interested in the people around you. Every student should care,” said Zwinger.

Arghandiwal explains that although it could be years before there is change, but it starts with discussion and awareness.

“The purpose of the Immigration Reform Panel was to educate the students to understand how upcoming policies can affect people on both a global and a personal level,” said John Quach, member of California State East Bay Legislative Affairs Committee.

Chair of the Department of Political Sciences Geron estimates that there are undocumented students on campus living in a shadow of fear, and that the immigrants on campus, students, are hungry for knowledge; they are willing to do what it takes to become successful.

The Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, a program that seeks to improve public understanding of the diverse Hispanic population in the US estimates that there are at least 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. Undocumented citizens come from a variety of countries, from China to Iran or Afghanistan.

Chang explained growing up as an undocumented citizen made him withdrawn. He said he struggled early on when he first moved to the United States.

“Building a foundation of mutual success starts with understanding one another. Immigration reform offers that opportunity. It emphasizes our desire to create a better world,” said Chang.

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California State University East Bay
Students meet and discuss immigration reform