NYU professor to discuss immigration impact on higher education

Kendal Pektas

In the face of the struggling DREAM Act and the many voices for and against it, the debate over who has the right to be educated in the U.S. continues.

New York University professor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco will visit Grand Valley State University on Oct. 13 to address this continuous debate and provide insight from his own research as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Suarez-Orozco, co-founder of the Harvard Immigration Projects, has given lectures at the United Nations and the Vatican. He has also been featured in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.

“Acknowledging the vast complexity and longevity of the immigration debate, Dr. Orozco will present the ramifications, effects and challenges the immigrant student experiences while pursuing higher education in the United States,” said Oliver Aguilera, multicultural assistant for GVSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“Immigration’s True Impact on Higher Education in the United States” will question whether immigrant children should be encouraged to conform to and embrace the “American” way of life or maintain the separate cultural identities passed on from their families.

“This program will address a variety of topics in regards to how immigration affects people of all races, whether they be citizens of the U.S. or just visitors,” said Danny Ha, OMA program coordinator. “It also addresses questions about who should receive higher education in this country. Is it truly extended to everyone?”

Suarez-Orozco will discuss how these children should go through the school system in order to emerge active U.S. residents or citizens.

“Students will gain a better understanding on why education is important for all,” said Bobby Springer, OMA associate director.

As an institution of higher education, GVSU will continue to be impacted by the current legislation. Aguilera said the OMA looks forward to inspiring engagement and participation in the GVSU community as the topic continues to evolve.

“Ultimately,” he said, “dialogue toward a holistic understanding of current immigration policy and how it impacts students at institutions of higher education may enable a coherent resolution.”

Suarez-Orozco will speak from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 13 in the Kirkhof Center’s Grand River Room. The event is free and open to the public.

“The Office of Multicultural Affairs encourages student, faculty and staff participation in order to best understand the concepts gained from this event,” Aguilera said. “We hope it continues to inspire discussion and dialogue on this important topic.”

For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/oma.

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