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La Fuerza presents panel on immigration

Haleigh Ehmsen | Tuesday, April 9, 2013


La Fuerza, a Saint Mary’s club representing Latina culture on campus, kicked-off its annual week of action Monday evening with a panel titled “What does it mean to be Undocumented?”

College President Carol Mooney said Saint Mary’s admits undocumented students and treats them the same way as documented students in the application and acceptance process.

Bottom line: documented, undocumented, everybody should be treated alike,” Mooney said. Mooney read the Catholic Church’s position on immigration from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website: “All persons are invited to participate in our parishes, attend our schools and receive other services offered by our institutions and programs.” 

Felipe Merino, a local immigration attorney and 2001 alumnus of Notre Dame’s Law School, urged the panel’s attendees to gather stories of immigration and undocumented students to help develop the passion for these issues the United States currently faces.

“You, as Saint Mary’s students, are in a great position because you have access to a student body that you can inspire and motivate,” Merino said. 

Kathy Cabello, an executive of Project Stepping Stone, an organization that helps to inspire Latino students to continue their education, said members of the College community have a responsibility to help all students achieve higher education

Alma Bravo, a social worker and 2012 alumna of Saint Mary’ , said she works with clients who feelh”the system is flat-out broken.. The panelists said immigration reformynecessary and undocumented students should continue to seek education. 

“The more undocumented students that go to college and get a higher education, the more voice we will have within the nation,” Bravo said.