Speak Up, Speak Out panel discusses immigration


Speak Up Speak Out panelists talk about immigration with the audience on Oct. 23 in the Bovee UC Auditorium. 

Topics such as safety and methods of immigration sparked differing emotions between panelists and audience members at the Speak Up, Speak Out forum. 

More than 60 people were present at the discussion titled "Immigration and What It Means in the USA" Oct. 23 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium. 

The panel consisted of: 

  • Christi Brookes, department chair of World Languages and Cultures
  • Tracy Nakajima, director of International Student Scholar Services; 
  • Senior Jeremy Rodgers of College Republicans
  • Sophomore Julia Dobija of Refugee Outreach Collective
  • Shaminul Shakib, graduate assistant in the Master of Public Health program.

Students, faculty and staff in attendance bounced questions back and forth off one another for more than an hour on the topic. 

Rodgers said the term "immigration" is strongly used within society, and it’s important to understand how people use it. 

“(The term) is not always used in a bad way, but many people view it differently if you’re local," Rodgers said. 

The panel and audience agreed safety should be a priority when admitting immigrants into the U.S. However, there was disagreement on methods of immigrations and the opinions evoked when the term immigration is used. 

The panelists also discussed President Trump's plans on border control and shared their personal thoughts. 

“We need to make sure that people have good intentions when they come here, to avoid harming U.S. citizens," Rodgers said. 

Panelist Christi Brookes, said after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, things changed for immigrants due to rising fears from Americans.

“Things had changed drastically in the world, especially for adults at that time," Brookes said.

During the panel, Nakajima brought up the topic of the benefits immigrants bring.

“We need to keep in mind there are several immigrants in the United States helping with the economy,” Nakajima said.

Other topics discussed included immigrant family reunification, which brought up the conversation of how things have changed within families as time goes on, noticing the different changes within the years. 

The students and panelists also discussed their thoughts on who deserves to be in the U.S., and elaborated on the precautions needed to do it properly.  

The next Speak Up, Speak Out forum of this semester “Justifying Force”, is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the UC Auditorium.