The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Immigration talks persist

Several weeks have passed since many Americans have seen throngs of people participating in marches and boycotts against immigration reforms currently being debated in Congress.

Although streets are no longer lined with people, efforts by CSUN students and professors to change immigration laws in the United States have not ended.

“Just because there are no demonstrations, and we’re not in your face, doesn’t mean it’s over,” said Theresa Monta?o, a CSUN Chicano/a Studies professor who attended some of the demonstrations in opposition to current immigration reform bills.

Monta?o said since the Senate is still debating immigration issues, such as HR 4437 and the DREAM Act, which are immigration reform bills that have the potential to affect the lives of many undocumented immigrants, she does not rule out the possibility of further demonstrations, because they are issues that affect a large part of communities, and is something that they cannot afford to be silent about.

“We are a community,” she said. “It’s our obligation. We were born out of struggle, and it would be a contradiction if we weren’t involved. It would be a travesty.”

Monta?o said that although immigration reform is a important subject in the immigrant community, it is not the only issue that deserves and receives attention.

Monta?o said one of things that she and other organizations are working on is voter registration drives in immigrant communities.

“It’s important that we’re not just on the streets, but also at the ballot box,” Monta?o said.

She said that as important as it is to be there when an event is happening, it is equally important for people to get involved politically.

Monta?o said that it is not just about demonstrating, it is also about remaining alert about political action that is happening around them, and taking part in it.

Getting involved with immigration issues is something many CSUN students are doing. Recently, several CSUN English department graduate students and faculty members wrote an open letter to the editor of the Daily Sundial, expressing opposition to HR 4437, and support of the May 1 protests, where thousands of immigrants took to the streets in support of more positive immigration reform bills. The letter also included criticism of the media and politicians for, “constructing negative identities of immigrants in the U.S.”

Darlene Toscano is one of the graduate students that signed her name to the letter. She said she felt compelled to participate because it addressed a lot of issues she thinks are being strategically neglected and seen as irrelevant in society.

“I feel that the majority of our society remains ignorant of the history and effects of American post colonialism, foreign and local economic policies while foolishly holding onto to xenophobic and scapegoating tendencies,” she said.

Ryan Skinnell, another graduate student who signed the letter said that after teaching his students that they should get involved in causes they believe in, he realized it was his turn to do the same.

“Everybody is in someway affected by this. There’s a massive appeal, there are many who have friends, whose families are possibly affect by HR 4437,” said Skinnell.

Skinnell said the immigration reform bills are a reflection of the problem with the way the economical and political structure has been set up.

Toscano said there is still a lot of progress to be made not only in the United States but throughout the world.

“I feel that the government does not care about the immigration reform issues,” she said.

That sentiment was echoed by Martha Rocha, a senior Women’s Studies major.

“I don’t think that the government cares about the immigrants or the reform bills. Personally, I think that it is a way for them to take away attention from the war and destruction we started in Iraq. They’re taking away what immigrants mean to this country, instead of valuing the hard work they do, they are trying to make them criminals,” Rocha said.

She said that she will continue to participate in events that oppose the current immigration reform bills, but also adds that there are other issues that need to be addressed as well.

Carlos Moran, chair of CSUN Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Atzlan, said that MEChA tries to plan different events and activities to keep students, parents, and the community aware of issues that affect them.

“We’re trying to create a dialogue among the community,” said Moran. “Different communities and organizations have taken it upon themselves to educate others; parents and students, about the issues that are at the heart of the movement.”

Moran said that on campus, different departments and organizations are doing their part in creating awareness and allowing students participate in activities that focus on the immigration issues that are at the center of legal and political debate.

“Everyone from M.E.Ch.A., Chicano/a Studies, and Women’s Studies departments, are trying to create a more ‘global perspective’ of what is going on,” Moran said.

He said although there are not specific plans for demonstrations at the moment against immigration reform bills it does not mean there will not be in the future, adding that demonstrations are the only way to get a message across.

“It’s important to educate others on the different issues that affect them and their families,” Moran said. “There are others ways to reach people; we try to do it through outreach programs, and video presentations of topics that affect them, so that they have a greater awareness of what’s going on.”

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