Film, forum to offer closer look at immigration issue

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    A film screening tonight illustrates what it would be like to wake up in California to find that nearly one third the population had vanished into thin air.Students and faculty will have the opportunity to watch the comedy, “A Day Without a Mexican” at 6:30 p.m. and discuss how the proposed legislation on immigration will affect Mexican immigrant workers, students and their families.

    Juan Rojo, an assistant professor in the Spanish department who will be speaking in tonight’s discussion, said the film will demonstrate how Mexican immigrant workers are a vibrant part of the U.S. economy and without them, the economy would crash. “A Day Without a Mexican” is intended to provoke a reassessment of the common thought that immigrants are a drain on public resources, said Bonnie Blackwell, an associate professor of English who organized the discussion. Within minutes of the film, she said, it becomes apparent that immigrant labor and taxes contribute billions to the economy.

    Rojo said he will be exploring the current immigration debate and some of the arguments in the discussion.

    The guest speaker at tonight’s discussion will be Juan Hernandez, a former cabinet member for President of Mexico Vicente Fox’s administration and author of “The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”

    Recent nationwide protests and student walkouts sparked an interest in the TCU faculty forming this event on campus, Blackwell said.

    The faculty isn’t advocating a walkout on the TCU campus, Blackwell said. However, she said, students involved in the walkouts are responding to the immigration proposals in their own ways.

    “We all want to make a difference,” Blackwell said.

    Ultimately, a bill that passed in the House last December that makes it a felony to be in the country illegally would require the deportation of millions of Mexican immigrants who don’t have proper documentation, said John Singleton , the director of International Student Services.

    A Senate bill that failed to pass before the body recessed Friday offered legal permanent residency to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for more than five years. Singleton said.

    “A bill that acknowledges we can’t deport 11 million people needs to be passed,” Singleton said.

    Some faculty members feel that it’s no coincidence that these same immigrant issues that arose in California are now coming up nationwide as the country nears near midterm elections.

    “I’ve seen politicians on television saying that it is more than just possible to deport (11 million) people,” Rojo said. “My guess is that they are rallying the masses into assuming that the illegal aliens are draining the U.S. economy.”

    Singleton said the discussion following the film is aimed to bridge the academic and intellectual engagement with action and relevancy in the world students come from.

    “Students have played a meaningful role in keeping the human face of this issue alive,” Singleton said. “I believe they will be there as co-educators in this topic.