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Month: June 2011

Proposed Immigration Law In Wisconsin

Last week, we considered an immigration-related controversy on Wisconsin campuses.

The immigration debate in Wisconsin continues with the formal proposal of a new bill. AB 173 would require Wisconsin law enforcement authorities to determine if arrested individuals are legal residents of the United States. If documentation of legal residency or citizenship cannot be provided, these individuals would be turned over to federal authorities.

This bill questions issues of worker and immigrant rights. Those in favor aim to consider interests such as the state tourism industry. The bill, which reflects a similar Arizona law, was formally introduced earlier this month, after first being proposed and delayed last year. Many lobbyists and Wisconsin individuals have quickly made their stances known, for or against this controversial issue.

A June 24 Capital Times article discusses the stances of many such groups against the bill, as well as the repercussions of the law in Arizona. A letter to the editor, published today, poses some pro-enforcement questions in response.

If you’ve read Enrique’s Journey, how do you think this local issue relates to this year’s Go Big Read selection? What’s your personal stance?

Leave a comment and let us know!

Using Enrique’s Journey for Courses

In previous years, the Go Big Read selection has been used across campus in a variety of courses. Like other selections, Enrique’s Journey has the potential to supplement curriculum and encourage classroom and campus-wide discussion.

Faculty members interested in using Enrique’s Journey for a course this year can reserve copies for their classes by filling out out the course form, available through this link.

This will enable Go Big Read to send coupons to give to students on the first day of classes. These can be redeemed at many campus libraries for a free copy.

Not sure if you’d like to use the book? Email Go Big Read to request a free review copy.

Immigration Issues on Campus

Readers of Enrique’s Journey see the struggle that Enrique’s family faces to find employment and education once they reach the United States. Current events here in Wisconsin reflect that struggle.

In a June 21 article, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that “Republican Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign a two-year budget that will ban resident tuition for illegal immigrants, ending a program that former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, signed into law just two years ago.”

In order to take advantage of this bill, students had to meet three qualifications: graduation from a Wisconsin high school, three years of Wisconsin residency, and sign that he or she would seek permanent residency as soon as possible. While this bill enables students to pay in-state tuition, illegal immigrants are not eligible for government financial aid.

Like many issues surrounding the immigration debate, this issue is controversial and arguments can be made for either side. Governor Walker’s spokesperson is reported as saying “Individuals who do not reside in our state legally should not be getting taxpayer subsidized tuition.” However, supporters of the program maintain that educational opportunities are a positive step for undocumented students.

What’s your stance? Leave a comment and let us know.

Click here to read the full Wisconsin State Journal article.

Immigration Study Resources

Enrique’s Journey discusses many aspects of the immigration debate, a controversial topic with often changing legislature, which sometimes makes it difficult to easily find quality information. As you follow Enrique’s story, it can be helpful to double check what’s going on in the full context of the immigration debate.The following are a small selection of available study and current event resources.
UW Libraries Research Guides

Public Agenda

At the Public Agenda for Citizens site, statistics, surveys, facts, and differing public opinions are presented in a straightforward manner. Visit Public Agenda’s immigration guide here.

Government Resources

U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign-Born Population Reports
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website
President Obama’s May 2011 immigration speech

Do you have a suggestion for a good study resource, or a question you’d like answered? Leave a comment and let us know!

Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique’s Journey

Last week, we were excited to announce this year’s Go Big Read selection, Enrique’s Journey, by Sonia Nazario.

Nazario was born right here in Madison, Wisconsin, but has lived much of her life in Kansas City, as well as in Argentina. After graduating from Williams College in Massachusetts, she began her career as a social reporter, exploring societal issues such as immigration, drug abuse, and hunger. Many of her publications have led to societal change, such as a 1994 increase in federally funded breakfasts at public schools.

The story of Enrique’s journey, which is now a bestselling book, was originally published in 2003 as a Los Angeles Times piece, for which Nazario received many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. The story also inspired an HBO documentary, titled “Which Way Home.” Nazario herself was inspired to write Enrique’s Journey after learning that her housekeeper, Carmen, had left four children behind in Guatemala, one of whom traveled to the United States alone to find her. Nazario became determined to trace this path herself and to find other children who had done the same.

Nazario’s book, and her own firsthand account of riding the “train of death” from Honduras to the United States, gives a perspective on the illegal immigration debate that is seldom discussed in the popular media.

We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of discussion it brings to UW Madison, and hope you’ll join us for the third year of Go Big Read!

2011-2012 Go Big Read Book Selected!


Chancellor Biddy Martin has chosen Enrique’s Journey, by Sonia Nazario, for the 2011-2012 Go Big Read book selection (official release). This nonfiction book tells the story of a young boy who travels from Central American to North Carolina to reunite with his mother, an immigrant, who he hasn’t seen for many years.

Sonia Nazario, is a project reporter for the New York Times. In preparation for the book, she spent years researching the path taken by migrants who travel illegally to the United States, even retracing Enrique’s dangerous journey herself. We’re excited to begin discussing this book and the many relevant and timely issues surrounding it.

Click here to visit the official website for Enrique’s Journey. We hope you’ll continue following the Go Big Read blog throughout the year for more information about the book and its role in our campus community.