Series kicks off with immigration talk

By GEORGINA RUPP | February 21, 2013

JHU Politik hosted the first event of the Politik Conversation Series on Sunday, which centered on a discussion on the Future of Immigration Reform.

“Immigration reform is front and center on Congress’ agenda,” senior Jeremy Orloff, one of JHU Politik’s two Editors-in-Chief, wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “It’s a topic that many Hopkins students have had personal experience with. We want to highlight areas that are controversial, accessible and relevant.”

Junior Rachel Cohen, JHU Politik’s Head Writer, was in charge of organizing this first discussion. The conversation covered many different elements of immigration reform. Orloff discussed the meaning of citizenship in a world that is supposed to be globalized and porous.

“Well, we were born here. Does that give us the right to be citizens?” a student said.

The group discussed the implications and evolution of the American Dream.

“As long as people can make a better life here, people will come,” a student said.

Another found that tightening border control goes against the concept of the American Dream.

“It’s like the legalization of marijuana,” she said. “If we make [immigration] so illegal, people are going to do things the bad way.”

Orloff tried to find a middle ground in the discussion.

“There must be some happy medium in which [immigrants] are brought into society but it’s still equitable,” he said.

Rachel Cohen, Head Writer for JHU Politik, led the conversation to cover topics such as the E-Verify system as well as issues of gender and race as they pertain to immigration reform.

Students participating in the discussion had varied backgrounds and levels of knowledge on the topic of immigration. Many decided to attend the event because they wanted to learn more. Students expressed that they were excited by the opportunity to talk in a small group at Hopkins and hear new perspectives on the issue. For example, one attendee was interested in immigration because of his experience growing up on the border in Texas. Another chose to attend in light of his experience working in a congressional office.

Junior Sarah Horton, who attended the event, found it to be a valuable opportunity for spearheading a conversation on what she finds to be a significant and relevant issue.

“I hope that students can keep discussing immigration issues on campus,” Horton wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

“I think it’s especially important that we learn more about the Maryland Dream Act since this policy affects college students.”

Conversations like these will continue as JHU Politik plans to remain active throughout the semester.

“We really want these events to be candid discussions in which everyone has a chance to participate and that was certainly the case at this event,” Orloff wrote.

Including the discussion’s leaders, there were 24 students in attendance. Orloff was pleased with the event’s turnout.

“We had been mulling over the idea of “salon-style” conversations for a while and this was our first attempt,” Orloff wrote. “The turnout was perfectly appropriate to our conversation. We’ll likely hold three to five more Politik Conversation events.”

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