Students attend immigration summit
Elyse Hight | Monday, February 24, 2014
A summit held at Loyola University Chicago allowed students to learn, network and take action on immigration reform.
The program began with a general organizational and strategy session, followed by four sessions on messaging, lobbying politics and policy, organizing fundamentals, and coalition-building, according to the summit’s website.
Jessica Pedroza, the Notre Dame campus organizer for Faith in Public Life, said the summit Saturday hosted over 120 college students from nine area universities seeking to advance immigration reform.
Pedroza said students were able to meet students and faculty from other Catholic schools who were involved in prominent activities in an effort to share ideas and light the pathway to reform.
Pedroza said the time for immigration reform action is now.
“A path to citizenship will stop the fear that many children feel, not knowing if they will come home to parents gone,” Pedroza said.
She said the group hoped to demonstrate Notre Dame’s commitment to reforming a broken immigration system in America and keeping immigrant families together by attending the summit.
“[Undocumented children of immigrants who have lived in America all their lives] came here through no fault of their own and should be recognized as the Americans they grew up to be, with a chance to contribute and receive an education,” Pedroza said.
She said the summit gave college students an important opportunity to hear other people’s ideas and learn about what different colleges are doing in response to immigration issues in America.
“There is strength in the unity and numbers of people who get together for one common cause,” Pedroza said.
The Notre Dame group now seeks to take what they learned at the Summit and bring it to the student body, she said. The group is already planning ways to implement immigration reform actions at Notre Dame.
“This is an important issue that is not talked about very much at all so with enough planning and promotion we can create events to shed light on the immigration,” Pedroza said.
She said the group aimed to build awareness at Notre Dame and also engage the South Bend, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross communities. She said a major goal was to plan an Immigration Week on campus filled with events to help raise awareness on the issue at Notre Dame.
Pedroza, along with the other summit attendees, said she wants to bring the stories of the multitude of families that immigration reform would help to the Notre Dame community.
“It is not all about facts and statistics,” Pedroza said. “It is about 11 million stories of real people who are affected by the broken immigration system.”