Immigration to the US
Last week, I persuaded my friend Jorge to visit Joe’s US seminar. The week before, I was present when Joe led a compelling discussion focused on the issues relating to immigration and the living conditions of latinos in the US. The students were charged to take their lead from from statements taken from an article by N. C. Aizenman “Second-generation Latinos struggle for a higher foothold,” printed in the Washington Post. Students were asked to prepare for further discussions and also provide a written response.
To help with the assignment, Joe led the students through a powerpoint entitled U.S. Immigration: History and Controversy. As an immigrant myself (Northern European variety) with a foster son who immigrated from Sudan (fleeing war), and good friends who immigrated to the states to find work, education and/or a better life for family, I was intrigued by the topic. Particularly fascinating were the US maps that Joe had prepared outlining the Latino Diaspora over the last forty years. As of the 2000 census, Latinos were the largest minority group in 23 states. It will be interesting to see how the Latino Diaspora sits after the upcoming 2010 census.
After the seminar, I suggested to Joe that he let me invited Jorge in to talk to the students. Jorge duly obliged, and spent about 40 minutes of his visit last Thursday covering a broad range of topics relating to life as a latino in Northfield. I think the students found his perspective interesting. Jorge is very much a community leader in this town for the latino population. He was able to give opinions and insights on college access, gangs, the inaccessibility of the middle class, parenting, cultural differences and the challenges of having English as a Second language.
Part of our mission is to encourage students to live as local citizens within a global context. Joe’s seminar, and Jorge’s visit are small, but important, steps in helping us fulfill that mission for us.