UC Riverside to Host Immigration Reform Summit March 16

The student-organized event will draw scholars, policymakers and organizers from across the country

Immigrtion summit logo

UCR will host the National Leadership Summit for Immigration Reform on March 16.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Scholars, policymakers and community organizers from across the country will convene at UC Riverside for an all-day summit on immigration reform on Saturday, March 16.

Organized by UCR AIR — the student-led Alliance for Immigration Reform — and Armando Navarro, UCR professor of ethnic studies, the summit will hear from scholars who study immigration policy, legislators who create policy, and representatives of labor, human rights and immigrant groups who work with immigrant communities.

Keynote speakers will be Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and Eliseo Medina, secretary-treasurer of Service Employees International Union.

The event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Highlander Union Building Room 302. Registration by mail is required by March 1; or by emailing airucr13@gmail.com or by calling UCR Chicano Student Programs, (951) 827-3821, by March 13. The cost is $10 for university students with student ID or $15 for general admission; admission is free for high school students. The mail-in form is available at www.airucr.org.

“Hundreds of individuals from divergent sectors, organizations and communities from throughout the country who are committed to achieving humane comprehensive immigration reform will converge on March 16,” Navarro said. “Not since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which legalized some 3 million undocumented persons, has the country been at a juncture to achieve immigration reform.”

National Leadership Summit for Immigration Reform attendees will learn about the most current policy proposals advanced by Congress and the White House and, after discussion, will try to reach consensus on legislation to accomplish immigration reform and develop a strategic plan of action to advocate for whatever position the group adopts.

Students enrolled in Navarro’s “Chicano Contemporary Issues” course decided to organize the summit as a “practicum in political change,” said Navarro, adding that the event appears to be the only one in the country to invite immigration reform leaders with varying perspectives to debate the issue.

Students and Armando Navarro at press conference

Armando Navarro (holding microphone) and student leaders from UCR AIR discuss the immigration reform summit at a Feb. 22 press conference.

UC Riverside is a logical choice to host such an event because the university is one of the most diverse in the nation, Joseph Cobbs, co-chair of UCR AIR, said at a Feb. 22 press conference announcing the summit. Student organizers acknowledge the challenges of reforming immigration policy, he said, but believe that “just because there is no action on Capitol Hill doesn’t mean that we can’t act” in a way that informs the debate.

Policymakers who will participate in the summit are: Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside; Assemblyman Manuel Perez, D-Coachella; Felipe Aguirre, mayor of the city of Maywood, Calif.; Eduardo Garcia, mayor of the city of Coachella, Calif.; Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. (prerecorded message); Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Cerritos (prerecorded message); former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto; Tom Saenz, executive director of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund); and Arnold Torres, political consultant on immigration reform.

Participating scholars are: Miguel Tinker Salas, professor of history, Pomona College; Rudy Acuña, professor of history emeritus, California State University, Northridge; Juan Gomez-Quinonez, professor of history, UCLA; Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science, UCR; Jesse Diaz, professor of sociology, La Sierra University; and Ellen Reese, associate professor of sociology, UCR.

Speaking during the lunch hour will be Gil Cedillo, former California state senator and a candidate for election to the Los Angeles City Council, and Lucero Chavez, an ACLU staff attorney.

Presenting responses to legislation proposed by Congress and President Barack Obama will be: Maria Jimenez, member of the Immigration Law Enforcement Monitory Project, Texas; Isabel Garcia, an attorney with the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Arizona; Nita Gonzales, director of Escuela Tlteloco, Colorado; Herman Baca, co-founder of the Committee on Chicano Rights, California; Fernando Garcia, executive director of Border Network for Human Rights, Texas; a representative of Black Alliance for Immigration Reform, California; Carlos Montes, director of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, California; Rachel LaZar, executive director of El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, New Mexico; Juan Carlos Loera, a representative of Mexicana/os in the Exterior, MORENA, Mexico; and Jose Jaques Mediana, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, Mexico.

Participating in the strategy planning session will be: Isabel Garcia; Nita Gonzales; Fernando Romero, Justice for Immigrants Coalition-Inland Empire; Angelica Salas of CHIRLA, California; a representative from Black Alliance for Immigration Reform; a representative from Dreamers; Walter Ulloa, chairman and chief executive officer of Entravision Communications Corp.; Fernando Garcia; Mario Lazcano, director of Comité Latino, California; Rachel LaZar; Juan Carlos Loera; Javier Rodriguez, La Ruela de Javier; and Jose Jaques Mediana.

Summit sponsors are: Entravision Commuication Corp., UCR College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, UCR Asian Student Programs, UCR Chicano Student Programs, UCR Department of Ethnic Studies, UCR LGBT Program, UCR YOK Center for Korean American Studies, the law firm of Carlos Juarez, Oro Group, and the UCR Immigration Research Group.


Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Armando Navarro
Tel: (951) 333-6819
E-mail: armando.navarro@ucr.edu

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