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Month: January 2012

Immigration and the State of the Union

While many changes in immigration policy are happening in state legislation, President Obama discussed illegal immigration and its nationwide impact in last week’s State of the Union address. Obama especially noted those immigrants who “were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation” and others who come to study “business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.”

President Obama states that though there are lesser border crossings now than when he took office, comprehensive immigration reform is a necessity. After reading Enrique’s Journey, what do you think? Is immigration reform necessary? How does immigration affect innovation and jobs for American workers?

For further information, watch the following clip from the 2012 State of the Union address, or click here to access the full script. As always, leave a comment and let us know what you think!

“Our Nations of Others” Contest Deadline Extended

Do you have a creative reaction or response to Enrique’s Journey? The “Our Nations of Others” contest has extended its deadline to Friday, February 17th. If you’re working on a project or will be reading the book in class this semester, visit the “Our Nations of Others” page for submission information and details.

All UW Madison students, faculty, staff, and Dane County residents are invited to submit their creative responses. Award winners will be honored in a ceremony with Enrique’s Journey photographer Don Bartletti in March 2012, and a selection of submissions will be featured in a spring semester exhibit.

Bound to El Norte: Don Bartletti Photography Exhibit at Memorial Library

A selection of Don Bartletti’s photography is visible in the center of  Sonia Nazario’s Enriques’ Journey. His impressive series, “Bound to El Norte,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003,  illustrates the dangerous journeys of many immigrants on their way north to the United States. In an essay titled, “Immigration to El Norte: Eight Stories of Hope and Peril,” he describes the stories behind some of these photos.

This series is currently on exhibit in the lobby of Memorial Library on the UW Madison campus until February 27, and will be at Ebling Library from March 1-30. We invite members of the campus community to stop by and view Bartletti’s gripping collection, an inspiring complement to this year’s Go Big Read selection.

Illegal Immigration Abroad

America is not the only country struggling with illegal immigration. Last week, conservative French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced that in the past year, more illegal immigrants had been deported than ever before. In 2011, 32,912 illegal immigrants were deported, a 17.5% increase from 2010. An ABC News article reports that 35,000 deportations is the goal for 2012.

While many immigrants do come to France legally, the number is shrinking as fewer residency permits were issued this past year. As in America, however, immigration policy and debate remain highly controversial. Those who object to the law- and Sarkozy’s campaign for the upcoming election- disagree with deporting illegal immigrants in this manner. A French anti-racism group is quoted as saying “The serious problems confronting our country will not be resolved by
applying a policy of quantified expulsions, which attack human rights.
Behind each expulsion, there is a life that is ending.”

What do you think? Is the deportation of illegal immigrants a human rights issue? How would Enrique respond?

Spring Courses Using Enrique’s Journey

Although it feels like winter just began, the spring semester is nearly upon us! One goal of the Go Big Read book selection is to “Be conducive to teaching and learning, and offer opportunities for integration into academic programs.” Numerous courses from a variety of disciplines have found Enrique’s Journey to be a useful addition to their curriculum, and will be using the book in class this coming semester. 

Students from Latin American economic development, social work, nursing, library studies, and many other departments will be reading the book and discussing how immigration issues relate to their fields of study. Students in these classes will receive a free copy of Enrique’s Journey.  Click here for a full list of fall and spring semester courses using the book.
Looking to get involved? Next year’s theme is innovation, and Go Big Read is accepting book suggestions until February 3rd. Click here to suggest a title!

Currently Accepting Book Nominations About Innovation

Planning has already begun for next year’s Go Big Read program! Chancellor David Ward has selected the theme of “Innovation” for 2012-2013.

With that in mind, we need your help! Go Big Read’s book selection committe is now accepting nominations for work of fiction and nonfiction that connect to or inspire innovation. The deadline to submit a title for consideration for the 2012-13 program is Friday, February 3.

Have you ever wondered what kind of criteria helps the committee choose titles? Nominated books should promote enjoyment of reading by being readable, relevant, and engaging, incorporate sufficient depth and scope to promote sustained discussion of different points of view, and appeal to individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Nominated books should also have cross-disciplinary flexibility that can tie into a variety of campus activities and programming.

While the committee will sift through the nominations, the chancellor will make the final selection.

Click here to submit a title for the 2012-2013 Go Big Read program!

Alabama churches lose Hispanic parishoners

A few weeks ago, we posted about changes in Alabama’s immigration policies. In the weeks and months following those changes, Alabama residents are starting to see their consequences in their churches, neighborhoods, and social groups.

An LA Times article titled “In Alabama, a church sees its Latino brethren vanish” describes some impacts of the changing policies.For years, the congregation of one Alabama church has been comprised primarily of conservative whites and Hispanic immigrants. The church seeks to meet the needs of both groups, including a Hispanic mission service and both English and Spanish-speaking services. Since the new laws went into effect, many Alabama citizens have seen the numbers of their fellow parishioners decreasing, as many Hispanics are leaving the state.

The LA Times article illustrates the welcoming nature of many Alabama residents, who disagree with the new policies. One white church member states that “The law…was mean-spirited, an attempt to score political points.” Other parishioners also express displeasure, another man stating that, “I’d hate for them to go back to what they came from…All
of them are good workers, and not working jobs that white people would

Click here to read the full story, including photos by Don Bartletti, photojournalist of Enrique’s Journey.

Go Big Read Comments

Thanks once again to readers of Enrique’s Journey for your participation and discussion, especially here on the Go Big Read blog. Check out the recent reader comments featured below. Do you agree? Disagree? 

On Changing Immigration Law in Alabama:

  • “I find this policy disturbing. Each ‘illegal immigrant’ is an individual, with a very particular story of hardship and hope. I wonder if ‘native Alabama residents’ would be so intent on displacing the immigrants if they knew these individual stories.”
  • “Hopefully this change is for better and lower the number of illegal immigrants in America.”
  • “There is a lot of talk about illegal immigrants and the lack of jobs for Americans. However, when the immigrants are prevented from crossing the border in large farming areas, crops rot in the fields and fall from the trees because no one in America will take the manual labor jobs. It was a real problem a few years ago with fruit farmers because there were no immigrants to pick their fruit and they lost a lot of money. If Americans are going to complain about the illegals taking jobs, they first must be ready to fill the vacant jobs themselves.”
  • “America itself is based on immigration. Most of the citizens are descended from immigrants in one form or another. It is arrogant and sad to try to stem the flow of immigrants and to say that America cannot afford to support the poverty of other countries (as Brittanicus advocates). America must pay due attention and stop the laager mentality (to quote a South African term).”
  • “Comparing how much they were earning in their [sic] countries or eastern Europe or in Africa $72 per day is not bad at all.”
  • “While it’s not decisive, I feel that there is no easy answer and thats rooted in the act’s name. “Fairness” is a concept that is difficult to pin down, what might be fair to one party will not always be fair to another.”
As always, don’t forget to leave a comment of your own and let us know what YOU think!