A national immigration reform summit was held on March 16 at UC Riverside in Southern California.
The summit was organized by UCR AIR, a student-led Alliance for Immigration Reform, and helmed by a UCR professor of ethnic studies, Armando Navarro. the immigration summit is deigned to allow hundreds of human rights advocates work together; the invited include legislators, human rights representatives, immigrant groups and immigration policy scholars to come together to discuss on depth the issues surrounding immigration reform in the U.S.
According to Navarro, the U.S. is at a critical juncture when it comes to immigration reform not unlike the way the country struggled with immigration issues leading up to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. That Act legalized millions of undocumented people who were residing in the U.S.
The National Leadership Summit for Immigration Reform invited attendees to learn about current proposals on immigration policy as put forth by Congress and the White House. They were asked to discuss the recent proposals and then attempt to reach a widespread consensus on what legislation should be enacted to move immigration reform forward. They were also asked to hammer out the best approach for that legislation, and make compelling arguments for the approach.
Speakers scheduled included legislative representatives from across California, as well as California former state senators, the ACLU staff attorney, representatives from the Texas Immigration Law Enforcement Monitory Project, attorneys for the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, based in Arizona, the Committee on Chicano Rights, California, and a representative from Justice for Immigrants Coalition-Inland Empire.
The summit was the brain child of students enrolled in one of Navarro’s courses, “Chicano Contemporary Issues.” The students decided to launch the summit as a “practicum in political change,” and is the only event of its kind in the U.S., inviting a wide range or immigration reform leaders to debate and discuss the issue in an open forum.
The UC Riverside campus is situated in Riverside, California, and is known for the diverse student population.