On Monday, October 30th, CERRU held their “Stating the Facts on Immigration & Immigration Writing Workshop,” which were two events put together in an effort to provide clarity on important issues relating to immigration that students might be in the dark about. While some of the issues were centered around what an executive order was, who they affected, and how they affected certain groups of people, there was also information on what DACA was, what it did when it was still in place, and what the subsequent termination of the program meant for millions of people. I never felt as if the information I was given was being shoved down my throat; rather, it was presented in a manner that allowed me to choose what exactly it was that I wanted to know more about. Participants were all given some initial questions to begin the discussion on immigration, and were also given the option to add questions that they believed would help further the discussion. The resources that were provided in order to help answer the questions included websites that had official statements from the government as opposed to biased newspaper or website sources of information. Ultimately, the workshop stressed the importance of being able to distinguish between what is true about certain programs and what isn’t, and the types of resources that would provide the most accurate information. In this climate where we’re constantly bombarded by fake news and people claiming that a group of people are receiving fake benefits from certain programs, by getting the information straight from the horse’s mouth.
The second part of the program was to promote “Innovation Exchange—Trump’s First Year: Impressions on Immigration Across the Political Spectrum,” an event being held on Wednesday, November 15th at 4:30pm in the Dining Hall Patio Room to not only share the immigration narratives of people either directly or indirectly affected by President Trump’s views and policies, but also to hear from individuals who are advocating for immigration reform. With this project, CERRU is attempting to give the disenfranchised a say; while there understandably may be some apprehension when it comes to sharing a story as personal as one’s immigration journey, the organization believes that fear comes from a lack of understanding—a fear that can be conquered by providing individuals with the tools and spaces to hear and learn from one another. Ultimately, by sharing narratives about largely taboo subjects, the individuals telling these stories are not only able to give themselves a voice, but a voice to others who may silently be enduring similar situations. With political forces working against immigrants and their families, building a sense of solidarity is important now more than ever.