Community members discuss immigration

Allen Hines

About 40 people tried to answer the question “The New Challenges of American Immigration: What Should We Do?” at the National Issues Forum last night in the Student Center.

Participants divided into two groups of about 20 people, one of English-speakers and one of Spanish-speakers, and discussed three perspectives on immigration with the guidance of a facilitator, based on a video they saw at the start of the meeting.

In the opening remarks, participants said immigrants make the country strong and provide diversity. Diversity is necessary, participants said, but a common language helps citizens share ideas and does not eliminate anyone’s original culture.

Many ethnic groups have remained intact in cities such as Cleveland and Akron. Different languages can create difficulties among those who have to teach both languages in the classroom. Teachers may spend extra time with immigrant students, taking away time from native-born students.

Participants in the English-speaking group said that the typical American is selfish and generally only cares when the economy is an issue and when he or she loses out.

When the groups came together again at the end of the meeting, they compared their thoughts. Participants agreed that immigrants need to learn the native language, but they should be able to maintain their culture.

The event was sponsored by the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education.

– Allen Hines