In an effort to increase student awareness, the Sociology Students Association and the Center for Immigration and Research panel members discussed misconceptions about immigration, proving that while the media and
politicians portray immigration to be increasing, it has actually been decreasing over the years.
Immigration Clinical Professor Geoffrey Hoffman and Assistant Professors Jessica Brown, Jeronimo Cortina and Lydia Tiede were all involved at the Wednesday event.
Some of the speakers, including Cortina, presented studies they are currently working on and research of the changes in attitudes about immigration in relation to time periods and races.
“When we’re talking about immigration, there is this perceived notion that we’re all equal in the eyes of the law,” Cortina said. “However, immigrants may not be equal in the public opinion.”
President Barack Obama increased deportation to 400,000, which is 10 percent more than the Bush administration, Hoffman said. Since the ’80s and ’90s, there has been an expansion of the enforcement and of immigration laws.
Tiede argued whether individuals in the appeals courts are treated equally and what the causes of those variations might be. She said her research suggests that variations are caused by many reasons, not only gender, age and race of the individual, but also attorney and judge caseload.
SSA’s objective was to give students the opportunity to understand the immigration issue from different perspectives, SSA member Monalisa Chandra said.
This event was SSA’s first, but the organization plans on hosting two other events in the spring.
The panel was co-sponsored by the UH Law Center, Immigration Law Clinic and the Center for Americans.