Immigration reform and human rights focus of summer institute at NMSU

The U.S. border crossing between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The "Summer Institute on Immigration Reform and Human Rights" July 6-14 at New Mexico State University will examine current immigration policies and practices, with a view to proposing changes that will meet the diverse goals of our communities and nation.(Photo by Diana Soto)

June 28, 2010 by Christina Pheley NMSU News Center

Arizona’s newly passed immigration enforcement law—the most stringent in the country—has intensified public debate about immigration issues and underscored the need for equitable and humane federal immigration legislation reform.

The “Summer Institute on Immigration Reform and Human Rights” at New Mexico State University July 6-14 will closely examine current immigration policies and practices, with a view to proposing changes that will meet the diverse goals of our communities and the nation as a whole.

NMSU’s International Relations Institute and the Center for Latin American and Border Studies invite the public to participate in this new program aimed at raising awareness about immigration issues and the urgent need for human rights-oriented immigration reform.

“The Summer Immigration Institute has emerged from recent conferences on immigration reform and human rights held at NMSU in 2009 and 2010,” said Neil Harvey, professor of government and director of the Center for Latin American and Border Studies.

“In developing this new summer program, we included input from many community members and organizations who participated in the two earlier conferences,” Harvey said. “The institute provides a forum for presentations and discussions on various aspects of this complex issue: legalizing the immigration status of residents who are currently undocumented, understanding the impacts of border and interior enforcement, and developing policies that address future immigration, or ‘future flows,’ and the root causes of migration.

“Our goal is also to increase our own understanding of this important issue and contribute to the national debate in ways that promote the human rights and the dignity of all people,” Harvey said.

Participants will get important up-to-date information about national-level legislative proposals and the impacts of immigration in New Mexico and the country as a whole. They will also learn concrete ways to advocate for immigration reform and will have opportunities to learn about immigration policy issues from community members and representatives of local organizations.

“NMSU is a border university—45 percent of our students are Hispanic—and we think it’s crucial for our voices and the voices of others in this area to be heard on immigration,” said Ambassador Delano Lewis, interim dean of International and Border Programs and director of the International Relations Institute. “We encourage members of the community to attend and also members of the business community and those involved in law enforcement. We also hope that NMSU students, faculty and staff and members of the larger Las Cruces community will come to the summer immigration institute for dialogue and education about the complex issue of immigration.”

The Summer Institute on Immigration Reform and Human Rights will include six evening lectures and events from July 6-14.

The program will open at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 6, in NMSU’s Anderson Hall Auditorium, with a lecture by Roxanne Doty, associate professor in the School of Government, Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. The talk, “SB1070: It Didn’t Start in Arizona and Of Course It’s About Race,” will focus on Arizona’s recent legislation and how it relates to broader issues of race, immigration and policymaking in the U.S. Doty has written three books on immigration and international relations, the most recent being “The Law into their Own Hands: Immigration and the Politics of Exceptionalism.”

From 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, in the Anderson Hall Auditorium, presentations will focus on historical and comparative aspects of immigration and border policies. Lecturers include Carlos González Herrera, founding director of El Colegio de Chihuahua; Emily Carey, Regional Center for Border Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, New Mexico; and Luis Alfonso Herrera Robles, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. Topics will focus on the origins of the U.S.-Mexico border, current policies of border enforcement and immigration policies in Europe. Herrera is author of “La Frontera que vino del norte,” which examines the historical formation of the U.S.-Mexico border. Robles has studied migration and social change in Europe and Mexico and is author of the book “El Desgobierno de la Ciudad y la Política de Abandono: Miradas desde la frontera norte de México.”

The next session will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 10, at the Newman Center, 2615 S. Solano Dr., Las Cruces. It will include student presentations and a discussion of the contributions that immigrants make to New Mexico and the country as a whole. It will also feature a short documentary film, “Frozen Dreams,” produced by Emiliana Aguilar Reynoso, a Mayan Quiche from Guatemala. The film presents testimonies of families impacted by raids at the Del Monte food production plant in Portland, Ore. in 2007. The film explores the root causes of migration and the divide between two worlds: the north and the south.

The institute will continue from 6-8:30 p.m. July 12–14, at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, with sessions on different aspects of immigration policy and reform: legalization—July 12; enforcement and due process—July 13 and future immigration flows and the causes of migration—July 14.

All events are free and open to the public.

Advance registration is requested, but walk-in registrations will be accepted. To register and for more information, contact Roberta Gran at 575-646-7041,

An online map of the NMSU campus is available at

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