Speech at College Church addresses immigration

Over the past year, the debate about immigration has gained more steam with President Bush’s proposal to build a fence at the Mexico-United States border.

The First Annual Paul Garcia Lecture Series presents “Catholic Social Teaching and U.S. Immigration Policy: Church at the Border.” It was held at St. Francis Xavier College Church last Thursday and sponsored by the Center of International Studies.

The lecture series is in recognition of the founder of the Center of International Studies.

Fr. John Stowe, S.F.O, a native of Cleveland, who has served as moderator of the Curia and vicar general of the Diocese of El Paso since December 2002. Stowe is a Saint Louis University graduate of the class of 1990.

Iliana Holguin, a native of El Paso, Texas, is executive director of Diocesan Migrant and Refuge Services in El Paso. The two tackled the issue about what life is like for those who are living in El Paso.

“What has become of us, the nation often symbolized by Lady Liberty in the New York harbor who says, ‘Bring me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses’; that legislation to make it a felony for the poor and tired to enter this land and to criminalize those who would offer them help has been not only envision,” Stowe said, challenging what is going on in Washington.

Holguin spoke about the legal side of the issue. She spoke as a lawyer and a local of El Paso. She spoke about remittances, which are those people who have left their homelands and who send money back to their families.

They have become critical to Mexican and Central American economies. She said that in 2005, according to the Congressional Budget Office, remittances sent from the United States grew six fold from $4.1 billon in 1981 to $25.5 billion in 2003, when they accounted for one-third of all measured global remittances. Most of these remittances come from migrant workers within the United States.

The lecture lasted for two hours with a brief question and answer session following the presentation.

“I liked the presentation,” said freshman Dan Finucane. “I came into it with a basic knowledge of what is going on down by the border, but hearing from people who have lived in the area and have experience with immigration was great. For me, it reinforced how I feel about how immigrants to our country should be treated-that they should be respected as human beings.”

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