May 22, 2024

Last week the International Studies Capstone Seminar hosted an open classroom discussion with two of Springfield’s notable immigration activists, Victor Garcia, current president of Del Pueblo Inc., an education focused community group, and Carl Ruby, a current consultant for the National Immigration Forum and former vice president of Cedarville University. They were invited to share their testimonies about the work they have done in the Springfield community to help make it more accepting to the immigrant community.
Carmiele Wilkerson, associate professor of English and instructor of International Studies 495, has been passionate about immigration, among other causes, since the start of her career.
“I have been studying issues of migration, identity and the rhetoric of immigration laws in the US since the 1996 amendments to the deportation laws under Bill Clinton,” said Wilkerson.
Despite efforts in the community, Wilkerson said, “I have not seen a lot of progress, in fact it seems to have gotten worse.  So, I am interested in the work that Victor Garcia has been doing and that now Carl Ruby is doing in Springfield, Ohio.”
The discussion had been opened to the university and public as an effort to help spread the facts about discrimination that immigrants in Springfield face, and to let students and members of the community know how to get involved in the cause.
One of the biggest topics that Garcia is adamant about is documentation. Those entering the United States often do not have the documentation that is needed in the event of an emergency.
“We have a program at Del Pueblo that works with the Mexican consulate to get documentation for immigrants,” said Garcia.
Garcia also said that there are 7,000 immigrants in the Clark County area alone, and these individuals are more subject to violence, assault, and sex crimes.
Ruby interest in immigration came about through the adoption of his fourth daughter from China. Through this experience, Ruby became totally aware of the “racial bias built into out immigration system,” that discriminates based on the color of skin.
“It all started with the idea of human dignity,” said Ruby. “Obedience to God is standing with people who are oppressed.”
Garcia spoke with conviction about the sobering facts surrounding immigration. He enlightened the  audience about the quotas of occupancy in United State deportation centers, and the bottom line numbers of deportation.
The government mandates a certain number of deportations each year, and the numbers have increased from “300,000 to 400,000 deportations, so it has actually increased under Obama,” shared Garcia. “Immigration is a broken system, this is true. Most of the people coming are just looking for a better life.”

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