The Paw Print
October 11 saw the start of Immigration Awareness Week on the Adams State College campus.
The events for Immigration Awareness Week are being held at the Student Life Center of the Student Union Building. They will be held there throughout the week until Thursday, October 14.
The evening kicked off at 7 p.m. with a fair turn out. The various community members, as well as students, illustrated the overall concern with the current immigration situation in the United States.
The beginning of Immigration Awareness week began with a simulated immigration exercise in which a series of immigration situations were replicated in an attempt to give an idea about the difficulties that accompany trying to become a United States citizen.
Georgia Parment and Melissa Gant, representatives from La Puente Home, were present to direct the discussions at the event. They began the evening by giving an overall outlook of the current trials and tribulations that immigrants have to endure just to get into the United States, including becoming a citizen. They went on to say that La Puente gave them a window into the immigration situation as La Puente often times plays host to both legal and illegal immigrants in the valley. They are in a unique position to hear the firsthand accounts of immigrant’s personal stories.
People in the room were encouraged to share their stories of how their ancestors came to be American citizens. No two stories were alike, as various cultures were represented by the people attending the event. Some of the ethnicities represented include Mexican, Asian, and European.
The difficulties in gaining citizenship in the United States can be staggering. According to Melissa Gant, “It can take up to 76 years to gain full citizenship in the United States. In addition, paying the multiple fees to gain citizenship can be up to $10,000 or more.” Other factors that can complicate the citizenship process include age. The elderly are oftentimes denied citizenship due to health reasons.
The roleplaying exercise gave 11 various situations in which an immigrant may find themselves in the multitude of stages of applying for citizenship. Some of the immigrant situations presented included a popular English soccer player who is attempting to gain citizenship in order to play soccer in America (did someone say David Beckham?), a Canadian with wealthy parents who have connections in the United States, and a Honduran teenage boy who is attempting to reunite with his father who is already in the United States. Participants were then asked to go to various stations indicated by their individual situations to find out the outcome of their immigration attempt. The immigrants with money got in to the United States without any complications, whereas the average immigrant was either denied or forced to wait for extended periods of time. Essentially, the exercise showed that becoming a citizen in the United States is difficult, if not impossible, for the average person to achieve. The evening concluded with further discussions on gaining United States citizenship.
Immigrant Awareness week will continue Tuesday with a screening of “7 Soles” a movie based on true life which follows the tragic journey of Mexican immigrants crossing the desert in the hands of human traffickers, personal stories from local migrant workers on Wednesday, and a discussion on the dangers of human trafficking and a candlelight vigil on Thursday. Anyone interested in the subject is encouraged to attend the other events scheduled.