Once again, New Mexico State University (NMSU) will host a timely summer immigration conference. Drawing seasoned scholars from different backgrounds and institutions, the conference plans on delving into many issues that remain unresolved in spite of years of political debate and posturing on both sides of the border.
Keynoting the June 17-22 series of talks and community events will be award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, Public Broadcasting Service veteran and host of the long-running radio show “Latino USA” aired on many National Public Radio-affiliated stations. The daughter of immigrants, Hinojosa’s June 18 speech is entitled “Stories from the Frontlines: Detention, Deportation and the New America.”
In a series of panels, scholars from the United States and Mexico will explore topics including the relationship between security policies and immigration, education and immigration, legacies of the old Bracero Program, human trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico border, and enforcement policies. A presentation by Jose Villalobos of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) will examine the gap between the Obama administration’s promises and immigrant deportation.
According to conference organizers, the gathering “focuses on the social impacts of border enforcement and discusses the challenges facing community organizations as they seek to promote dialogue and alternative approaches based on respect for human rights…”
The participating scholars and community leaders include Neil Harvey, head of New Mexico State University’s Department of Government; Susan Tiano, director of the University of New Mexico’s Latin American and Iberian Institute; Alvaro Martinez of the Autonomous University of Chiapas; Luis Alfonso Herrera of the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez; Diana Bustamante, executive director of the Las Cruces-based Colonias Development Council; and Kathleen Staudt and Lizely Madrigal-Gonzalez of UTEP’s Department of Political Science, among many others.
As part of the organizers’ goal of connecting community with academia, some participants will visit Chaparral, a low-income community with a large immigrant population in southern New Mexico’s Dona Ana County, and meet with staff members and farmworkers at the Border Agricultural Workers Center in neighboring El Paso, Texas.
All the conference panels, which are scheduled to take place at the Corbett Center Auditorium at the heart of the NMSU campus, are free and open to the public. Spanish and English translation will be available.
For conference details, interested readers can go to the following website: http://immigration.nmsu.edu