During the 90 minute event, the panelists touched on many issues regarding global immigration, refugees and borders.
The panel, moderated by Krys Boyd of KERA, was made up of journalists Ed Lavandera and David Noriega, TCU anthropology professor Dr. David Sandell, Director of the Scholar Rescue Fund Institute for International Education Sarah Wilcox and Immigration Attorney Gerry Davis.
Immigration lawyer Garry Davis discussed the difficult cases he has dealt with regarding refugees seeking asylum in the United States.
Davis said that “you have to show that you are in danger or have been persecuted or tortured” in order to be granted asylum in the U.S.
“The motivation for that persecution or torture you experienced is your religious beliefs or political activities or something related to your race: some characteristic that you can’t change and shouldn’t be required to change,” Davis said.
When asked if securing the border would result in more jobs for Americans, Vice News reporter David Noriega discussed why immigration’s effect of jobs is more of a complex issue than some may think.
“One thing that really annoys me about the left in America is their idea that immigration has no effect of the labor market in the U.S. One of the things that really annoys me about the right in America is the portrayal of immigration as necessarily ruinous to the American labor market,” said Noriega. “Both of those perspectives are not rooted in actual research. What I can say with some confidence is that the idea of sealing off the United States is a fantasy.”
CNN’s Ed Lavendera also told the audience that “having a discussion and understanding the bigger picture of what it is that is coming through the southern border” will help people to have a better picture of immigration as a whole.
“At the end of the day, we’re just people. We all have the same needs and the same desires and the same hopes and the same dreams for ourselves and for our families,” Davis said. “I wish there were a way that everyone could see it that way and break down that barrier to recognize that were just one big family of people interconnected to each other.”
Junior nutrition major Rachel Winter said the panel was a great learning experience.
“I think the panelists did a great job of discussing the multiple aspects of immigration, not just the political side,” said Winter. “It really put the whole issue of immigration into a new perspective I hadn’t thought of before.”
“I loved the great insight all the panelists had to offer about important issues on immigration,” said junior communications major, Chris Cole. “Each seemed to have distinctly different views and you could definitely see their perspectives were based on their direct experiences. Great questions were asked that really brought the conversation to the audience.”
Students in attendance of the event were encouraged to submit a response to one of the two questions on the event topic to be entered into the student competition for $100 and to be published through Discovering Global Citizenship media.