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NEWS RELEASE

Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2007

 

TIP SHEET

Immigration reform is a complex issue, raising many legal, historical and sociological questions. As you consider stories about this important topic, keep in mind these resources from the University of Houston. For more information, or if you are unable to reach a professor, give us a call at 713-743-8153.

OPENING PANDORA’S BOX AT THE IMMIGRATION CLINIC
“To criminalize the relatively minor immigration infraction of overstaying visas in the name of ‘homeland security’ will add new layers of complexity to a population of already marginalized by our legal system and society,” says Anne Chandler, supervising attorney for the Immigration Clinic at the UH Law Center. “In addition, empowering local law enforcement officials to act as federal agents and arrest anyone deemed ‘illegal’ would open a Pandora’s box of issues involving local sovereignty.” Visit www.law.uh.edu/clinic/ for more information about the Immigration Clinic. To interview Chandler, or Joe Vail, founder of the clinic and former immigration judge, contact Alex Kopatic at (713) 743-2184 or agkopatic@central.uh.edu.

THE REAL COST OF CHEAP LABOR
“If you want to be part of the global economy, immigrant labor is one of the conditions of this participation,” Nestor Rodriguez, director of the UH Center for Immigration Research, says. “No economy, no nation state, exists independently. We’re all inter-related now. Part of the inter-relationship used to be just the migration of capital. Today, the reality is that it’s also the migration of labor. The question becomes how do we formalize this? That is, how do we pass laws appropriate to our new global status?” Rodriguez can be reached at (713) 743-3946 or nrodriguez@uh.edu or visit www.uh.edu/cir/index.htm

PURSUING CITIZENSHIP OR HIDING FROM THE LAW?
“The immigration debate is crucial for the very life of Latino communities,” says Maria Jimenez, visiting scholar in the UH Center for Mexican American Studies. “It will determine if millions of families will be able to live freely in path toward legal residency and citizenship or in hiding as fugitives from the law. At stake is our future as a community and as a nation.” Jimenez recently taught a class on Chicano activism. She can be reached at
(713) 857-3373 or (713) 271-9703 or dignidad@hotmail.com. For more information on the Center for Mexican American Studies visit www.class.uh.edu/CMAS/.

SCHOOLING UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS
Law professor Michael Olivas is an expert on immigration law and policy, student higher education financing and financial aid issues. Active in the American Association of Law Schools, he has served as chair of the Law and Education Section and chair of the Immigration Law Section for the organization. Olivas also founded the Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance in 1982. Contact him at MOlivas@central.UH.edu or
(713) 743-2078.

IMMIGRATION ISSUE NO PARTY FOR REPUBLICANS
“Immigration is a difficult issue for Republicans,” says Tim Nokken, assistant professor of political science. “A significant number of day laborers, many of them illegal, are employed by industries that support a pro-business, Republican agenda, but many Republican neighbors would tend to the other side of the issue. Democrats, on the other hand, are enjoying a ‘free ride’ by letting the GOP hammer out any sort of agreement and hoping the Republicans do a thorough job of bloodying each other.” Nokken can be reached at tnokken@uh.edu or
(713) 743-3894.

LOOKING BENEATH THE ‘UNDOCUMENTED’ BLANKET
“‘Undocumented workers’ is a blanket term used to paint all Latinos with the same brush, lumping them together as second-class citizens,” says Raul Ramos, assistant professor of history. “In reality, the phrase is not one that identifies most Latinos, particularly since a majority of Latinos in the U.S. are citizens.” Ramos teaches courses on Texas and Mexican history and can be contacted at raramos@uh.edu or (713) 743-3116.

THE COMPLICATIONS OF SAME SEX PARTNERS
“Because of state sanctions, a same-sex partner cannot sponsor his or her foreign born loved one and inevitably puts the foreign born partner in the precarious position of having to become a law breaker in order to keep families together,” says Maria Gonzalez, associate professor of English. Gonzalez teaches classes on Chicana writers, feminist theory and Mexican American literature. Reach her at (713) 743-2979 or MGonzalez@uh.edu.

A NEW CHAPTER IN AMERICA’S CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT?
“The current student activism associated with the immigration debate will be an important historical event in the struggle for Mexican American and immigrant rights,” Lorenzo Cano, associate director of the UH Center for Mexican American Studies, says. “These actions are similar to the civil disobedience associated with the Black Civil Rights Movement and the struggle carried out by Cesar Chavez.” Reach Cano at (713) 743-3133 or lcano@uh.edu.

HISTORICAL PARALLELS FOR TODAY’S CONCERNS
The immigration debate raises issues that affect all Americans, especially Latino immigrants and citizens, according to Guadalupe San Miguel, professor of history. “The most important concerns relate to nativism (anti-immigrant sentiment), the impact and character of political mobilization among Latinos and civil rights activists (protests, student walkouts, lobbying), national security and border enforcement (how do we control our borders and halt ‘illegal’ immigration), education (bilingual education, the Dream Act), and labeling of immigrants as ‘illegals,’ ‘criminals,’ or ‘potential terrorists,’ he says. “These issues are not new since they have historical parallels but they are differently expressed in today’s world.” San Miguel can be reached at gsanmiguel@uh.edu or (713) 743-3111.

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