KCSB and local nonprofit organization La Casa de la Raza will host a panel today discussing recent immigration policies and their effects on American society.
The “Los Olvidados: The Impact of Deportation and Immigration Policies in Our Community” event will discuss issues regarding current United States immigration laws and their impacts on Hispanic Americans. The panel features local attorney Isabel Garcia and consists of videotape testimonials with Spanish translations from immigrants and their family and friends who are immigrants.
Diana Herrera, a third-year psychology major, said the laws can result in unfair consequences for some families.
“My parents were immigrants from Mexico; luckily, they now have citizenships here,” Herrera said. “It was always a possibility to have lost them due to current immigration laws. It’s a fear we had to live with for some time.”
Additionally, Herrera said immigration legislation can have disproportionately unfair affects on emigrated citizens’ children.
“I have heard of many cases when children are left behind,” Herrera said. “What is their life supposed to be like without their parents here?”
UCLA transfer student Carlos Salas, a third-year political science major who emigrated from Mexico, said his move made it difficult for him to afford a college education.
“It was extremely difficult trying to pay for college as an immigrant,” Salas said. “I worked so hard just to get into UCLA and I almost was not able to take this great opportunity simply because of where I was born.”
Salas said his immigrant status does not make him less of a citizen than those who were born and raised here.
“I went to high school here; I attended community college here. My friends are here — my entire life is here,” Salas said. “I don’t feel any different from you or anybody else, yet it’s almost as if I am marked simply because I was born on different soil.”
KCSB Staff Advisor Elizabeth Robinson said deportations can adversely affect other community members.
“We do have a serious problem with deportations within this county, so we want to explore what happens to people when they are deported, when left behind, what impact that has on us — on all of us,” Robinson said. “We intend to look at those issues and also what solutions there might be.”
Robinson said immigration issues often also separate families and put emigrated children at risk.
“Sometimes [when] parents are picked up and removed, children can be left behind with or without proper care,” Robinson said. “Children can be in school and come back and discover their parents are gone. Breadwinners are sometimes removed and there are dependents. For those left behind, they are left with nothing.”