Thursday, March 9, 2017

UIS hosts panel discussion to dispel myths associated with immigration

Just this week President Trump signed a new executive order banning immigration from six Muslim-majority countries.

Faculty at UIS are addressing students' concerns about the executive order.

The university held a panel discussion Tuesday night to help clear up any misunderstandings. 

Students packed inside the auditorium to learn the facts about immigration and how they could be affected by the travel ban or deportation at University of Illinois Springfield.

The student body is a melting pot of people from around the globe. "17% of our population are international students and we have students who are first generation from Latin American countries," said Sophia Gehlhausen Anderson, coordinator of programs and outreach at UIS.

Students like Crystal Terrazes whose family immigrated to Chicago from Mexico. Terrazes attended the panel discussion on immigration at UIS hoping to learn more about the hot-button issue.

"People just have all these stereotypes about undocumented immigrants who are coming into this country and they don't know really why they're doing it. Or what the actually numbers or statistics are," said Terrazes.

"Many students are very worried about the situation. They don't know what the future is going to be or what the affects of this new policies.... The American policies are going to be," said Adriana Cocker, associate of political science at UIS.

Terrazes tells us there are many international students who live in her dorm and she hears their concerns first-hand. "They're definitely worried about everything that's happening. I've had a lot of them come up to me and ask what's going to happen with their visas...Are they going to be able to go back home? Are their families going to be able to come here for graduation?"

In addition to the large international student population at UIS, we're told there are a number of professors who are in the U.S. on visas. An estimated 15 students at the campus are undocumented.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2017.

Watch the story online.