CDI hosts conversation on immigration

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s latest Cultural Conversation series tackled immigration and citizenship Wednesday at the Student Center South.

Hispanic studies freshman Rosaura Martinez was one of several students at the event who participated in the talk. 

“This was my first cultural conversations and I was very excited to be (there),” Martinez said.

The purpose of the conversation was to foster constructive dialogue in the UH community, allow for self-expression and learning and tell the history and current state of immigration and citizenship in the U.S.

“We highlight the basic concept of immigration,” civil and environmental engineering junior Itay Porat said. “Why people immigrate, what happens when they immigrate, what happens to the country that they immigrate to, what happens to their home country. (These) are things that sometimes seem trivial (but) I think it’s important to talk about.”

Porat is an international student from Israel and gave a presentation showing immigration trends from the late 1800s to present day.

While the late 1800s showed a majority of European, namely Irish immigrants, the 1980s  had a spike from South American immigrants. Now, immigrants come mainly from Asia.

“Immigration has always happened,” Porat said. “It’s what this country is based on and it keeps on happening. That’s how demographics, ideologies and policies change. It’s very influential.”

The conversation focused on people who migrated to the U.S. at different ages and for different reasons. Some choose to live here temporarily while others want to live here as citizens.

From paperwork to culture shock, the intent was to discuss the various challenges that documented and undocumented immigrants face while in college, as well as the anxieties they may feel about graduation and starting their career.

“We are discussing concepts of immigration citizenship and how they influence daily life in the U.S.,” finance sophomore Neil Hernandez said.“Much of the United States’ stage growth and development have been products of vast waves of immigration and that’s since our beginning.”

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