West Cosgrove delivers Hispanic Heritage Month keynote address; immigration reform a must
The audience in Plachta Auditorium was full of questions for West Cosgrove the moment he finished his speech Monday night.
About 90 people attended the national immigration analyst’s presentation entitled “Immigrants and National Values,” emphasizing immigration reform.
Cosgrove has worked in El Paso, Texas, for 15 years serving as the assistant director for Project Puente, which aims to educate the public about issues concerning the border.
“I think if we can inject knowledge and understanding to the situation, we can do a good thing,” Cosgrove said.
His presentation explained the history of immigration and immigration law. He showed statistics involving increased border security costs, along with the tax contributions of undocumented workers.
The kick-off Hispanic Heritage Month event was hosted by Minority Student Services. Cosgrove was selected as a speaker not only because of his relevance to students and to the community, but because immigration is a critical national issue, said Keisha Janney, assistant director of MSS.
“I really thought he brought some of the facts about immigration to the audience,” Janney said.
Many of the questions asked afterward concerned Cosgrove’s opinion on the speed and scope of new laws passed for immigration reform.
“I am in favor of incremental change,” Cosgrove said.
Midland sophomore Keegan Swihart said he was impressed with the ideas and opinions Cosgrove had to offer to the audience.
“He was great, I spent the summer with him and loved it,” Swihart said. “I really want to encourage students to go down to the border and help out with these kinds of things.”
Cosgrove also gave suggested solutions to border problems and held a question-and-answer session following his speech. One solution he offered was supporting companies who promise to pay their workers livable wages, even if the workers are undocumented.
Another proposed solution was allowing companies to hire as many migrant workers as they need, but only after the company tries and fails to hire American citizens.
But no matter what action is taken, Cosgrove said, change is vital.
“Both sides of the argument agree that the system is broken,” Cosgrove said.
He also stressed the importance of understanding the issue and delivered the stories several migrant workers and their working conditions.
“We don’t have to be ‘us versus them’,” he said.
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