The Daily Illini

UI panelists discuss immigration and campus views

By Aaron Navarro

That was the question posed by Anthropology Leaders hosting this year’s second “Taboo Talk” Thursday night in Lincoln Hall.EJ The talk was co-sponsored by the Latina/Latino Studies Department, La Casa Cultural Latina and La Colectiva, featuring a panel of seven people — Latino Studies professors, anthropology professors, community activists, Ph.D. sociology candidates and a C-U Immigration Forum member — who discussed immigration myths and legalities.EJ

Cristina Lucio, junior in Anthropology, hosted the event. “A reason we create these events is to attract people to the anthropology department,” Lucio said. “The department isn’t getting as much attention as it should, there are some dope people here that people should know.”EJ

Lucio said one of the main goals of “Taboo Talks” is to address “issues not only here, but around the world.” She said the issues discussed are typically ones students don’t discuss on campus. Before the panel discussion began, a moment of silence was held and an obituary read for Latina/Latino Studies professor Jorge Chapa, who passed away on Oct. 19.EJ A moment of silence was also held for those who have lost their lives at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Following, Joanna Perez, a University Ph.D. candidate in sociology, gave a presentation titled, “Deconstructing Illegality: Latino Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S.”EJ

Perez’s presentation centered around how Latina/Latino immigrants are portrayed in the media and culture, specifically in reference to legalities and experiences.

“I like that (Perez) addressed the aspect of media and how to counter it,” said Cris Hughes, forensic anthropology professor. “We are aware of these issues, we care about these issues, but to get them out to a broader community is very important.”EJ

The panel also discussed how the community is divided by pro-immigration and anti-immigration views.

“This is a large campus … there is a mainstream of folks that would never volunteer for La Linea that would never set foot to do anything,” said Mireya Loza, Latina/Latino studies professor. “And would say to those who want to do that, ‘Well that’s a waste of time.’ I think the larger population here, is very anti-immigrant.” EJ

Alberto Lara Valdivieso, senior in anthropology, said he agrees that there are people in the campus community who do possess anti-immigration views.EJ However, he said he believes “as long as we keep pushing them back, I think we can change this acceptance.”The panel discussion also focused on immigration issues in Syria as well as the difference between people who are documented and undocumented in the U.S.

“The fundamental contradiction in the world today is the one between the documented and undocumented,” said Gilberto Rosas, Anthropology and Latina/Latino studies professor.EJ

Loza echoed Rosas statement and urged attendees to speak up.

“Collectively, we will not stand for the anti-immigrant politics here on campus,” Loza said. “Silence is agreement.”

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