This quarter, UCSB communication professor Walid Afifi has begun teaching a new class that explores immigration issues particularly pertinent to undocumented students.
Communication 175WA, “Senior Capstone: Uncertainty in the Lives of Immigrant Families,” focuses on understanding feelings of confusion and uncertainty in undocumented immigrants and war refugees in the United States while examining critical components of the course using scholarly research analysis, interviews with immigrant families and creating community attentiveness to the problems of immigrants.
The class will provide UCSB seniors with a chance to learn about this major societal issue both within and outside of the classroom. Afifi said the class will show students “what kind of uncertainties the undocumented students face” as well as what sort of coping methods these students turn to.
According to Afifi, undocumented students constantly fear deportation, tuition expenses and their future career paths, as they lack legal status. He added that Communication 175WA strays from conventional lectures by featuring testimonies from community leaders, members of La Casa De La Raza and UCSB’s Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success.
“The goal of the course is for students to get as wide a range of experiences as possible in a short period of time in the quarter from both undocumented students and other undocumented immigrants,” Afifi said.
In addition to these goals, Afifi also said various experiences within the undocumented community should influence students to approach immigration issues proactively.
“The whole idea of the course is to get involved in the community and understand the community,” Afifi said. “[The goal of the course] is to really encourage students and become allies of the community in whatever way possible.”
Immigration has become a controversial issue within the U.S. as the nation’s immigration rates are exponentially increasing.
“I think [undocumented immigrants] may need some attention and I think educating ourselves of their experiences of this community is very essential and is very much underdone,” Afifi said. “Anywhere in society let alone in a university where really is a central part of where we should be learning about uncertainty.”