Working for Change: Immigration. A Human Issue


hernandezIn an effort to educate our community about immigration issues, various organizations are putting together one of the most complete immigration forums to ever be presented in the Quad City region.  The event, “Working for Change – Immigration: A Human Issue” takes place at the Moline Community Center, 1613 5th Ave. Moline, on Saturday, Feb. 24 beginning with the free registration at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.  The event’s objectives are to educate legislators and the community on immigration issues with accurate information and develop a strategic plan for mobilization, to bring about change in current immigration laws.
The event kicks off with the presentation of a video that honors the Hero Street Veterans then continues with the opening remarks and an outline with the goals and objectives of the day.  Some workshops will address the public perceptions and attitudes about immigration and will give information about legal assistance and immigration problems.
  Three other youth workshops will discuss the history of immigration issues, public perception and attitudes, and will explore the best ways to mobilize youth on immigration issues.
“The youth are the future of this country; we want to make sure they have the most up to date information.  That they have access to various sources of information about immigration so that when the time comes for mobilization and working with our legislators, working within the community, it’s really our youth that are going to be out front,” said President of Casa Guanajuato Bob Imler.
He also wants the youth to share their perspective and insights with others at the event. Another separate forum will address immigrants and civil rights and the responsibilities and rights of employees and employers.  There will also be a legislative panel and a mobilization panel.
Following the workshops, a key figure in Mexico-U.S. relations for the past decade will give the keynote speech during a luncheon.  Dr. Juan Hernandez made history when he served as the first U.S. born presidential cabinet member for President Vicente Fox as head of the Office for Mexicans Abroad, the office that directly deals with Mexican nationals living abroad. Dr. Hernandez has been a professor of in a number of universities, has written extensively on immigration issues and wrote a book that talks about why people should not fear Mexican immigrants called “The New American Pioneer”.
“Juan is an extremely effective advocate because of the passion he has, the knowledge and what I call it the trans-border perspective, both as a U.S. citizen and also having spent a great deal of time in Mexico and working with the Mexican government.” Mr. Imler said.
The organizations involved want people to approach this issue with an open mind.  It is an issue that is very complex and even very divisive that needs to be looked at from various angles.  Mr. Imler would like to remind people that this is a human issue like the title of the forum states.
“Certainly laws are involved, but in the final analysis it’s men and women and children, not unlike themselves [citizens], and it affects their lives directly and that is what we can’t loose sight of.”

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