Students spoke with a panel about foreign policy and immigration at Wednesday night’s Speak Up, Speak Out forum in preparation for the Nov. 6 election.
Facilitator and associate professor of political science David Jesuit hosted the panel in the University Center auditorium. Political science professor Justin Hoyle, political science professor Sterling Johnson, Weidman junior and College Democrats representative Robert Matevich, Gratiot sophomore and College Republicans representative Alex Porrett, political science professor Won Paik and associate professor of Spanish Alejandra Rengifo were panelists.
“I was disappointed at how many people came tonight. I’m not surprised, though, because people just don’t seem interested in hearing about foreign policy,” Jesuit said.
A clip of Tuesday’s presidential debate sparked conversation about immigration, denying hands of security to Lybia and outsourcing of jobs.
Paik discussed China’s relationship with the United States.
“China is going through a rapid growth rate of 10 percent,” Paik said. “China has become a global power. The U.S. government can’t just push it around.”
Concerned about China taking away jobs from the U.S. and manufacturing competition, Clare junior and College Republican member Mike Palmer asked panelists whether jobs outsourced into other countries such as China would return. The panelists said no.
“We’re allowing other countries to take advantage of the United States. People in this room want jobs,” Palmer said.
Paik said in order to compete with China and encourage them to change their currency in order to create a level playing field, the U.S. must approach the issue from a multilevel platform.
“The only way for China to change is through pestering them on a multilevel. Their goals are to maximize trade … and maximize wealth,” Paik said.
Illegal immigration and laws regarding issuing green cards to immigrants were also discussed, a topic brought up in Tuesday night’s presidential debate.
“Most illegal immigrants (who don’t play by the rules) are the ones that violate touring visas with no economic ties to their own country,” Johnson said.
Rengifo said the U.S. needs to be conscious of policies regarding immigration.
“If you are an illegal immigrant, we will just hand you a green card. It doesn’t work like that. Immigration is a big deal, and (the government) needs to fix it,” Rengifo said.
Audience member and Port Austin junior Caitlin Homrich asked about American imperialism and why President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney avoid talking about the issue.
“They’re chickens. Both candidates are afraid of losing the election,” Paik said.