Academics, News

Speakers bring diverse backgrounds to immigration reform

“Immigration Reform: The Current Debate” is a new class that features four professors with varying backgrounds and perspectives on the issue.

“We wanted to expose students to speakers who, as a group, bring different practical and academic perspectives,” said one of the professors, Ariel Armony, who is also the director of Latin American studies. “There is a tendency in universities to approach issues from one side, and we didn’t want to just present the sympathetic side of the argument because of where we are.”

The course tackles an issue that hits close to home, with an estimated 740,000 undocumented immigrants in the state of Florida alone, out of the 11 million nationwide.

Armony said that he conceived the idea for the class because of the progress of current immigration reform in Washington and subsequently brought it up to University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, who loved the idea. He then brought the idea to Leonidas Bachas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who also supported the team-taught class.

The professors come from different backgrounds: Armony, an expert on Latin American issues; political science professor Joseph Uscinski, who understands the American political system; Rudy Fernandez, who previously served under former President George W. Bush and is now the chief of staff to Shalala and vice president for government and community relations; and Fernand Amandi, who worked on President Barack Obama’s most recent presidential campaign and is a managing partner for his own communications consulting firm, Bendixen & Amandi International.

“I taught the election course last year that included [GOP hopeful] Herman Cain as a guest speaker, and we thought that bringing in big-name speakers who are practitioners would allow students to learn about immigration up close,” Uscinski said.

The course’s first class featured Enrique Gonzalez, special counsel to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped write the current immigration reform bill now in Congress. The second week featured Jorge Ramos, the popular anchor of Noticiero Univision.

“It’s a very unique opportunity that will only happen once,” said Reid Wilcox, who is enrolled in the class. “To hear from the architects of current immigration reform and leading thinkers on the issue is amazing, and it will only happen once, here at UM.”

Upcoming guests include the former Rep. Tom Tancredo, a 2014 Colorado gubernatorial candidate, and Florida Congressman Joe Garcia, a Democrat whose district includes Monroe County and part of Miami-Dade. Tancredo is an opponent of immigration and has referred to Miami as a “third-world country” in the past.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

WHAT: Immigration reform course

Where: Storer Auditorium

When: 5 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays

The class features guest speakers followed by professors’ lectures.

September 23, 2013

Reporters

William Riggin


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes’ 2020 recruiting class continues to grow. Three-star Deerfield Beach wide recei ...

Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood has produced some distinguished alums, including ESPN (and Miami Hera ...

Columbus was a popular destination for coaches throughout the first full week of May this spring. On ...

With Mark Walton (cut by Cincinnati) and Kendrick Norton (released by Carolina), the Dolphins have n ...

Perhaps no one but Kellen Winslow II knows for sure when his deep dive began from beloved University ...

Former University of Miami student Elio M. Garcia, Jr. and his wife Linda Antonsson discuss their jo ...

Researchers at the University of Miami are using big data to identify affordable housing opportuniti ...

From office furniture to electronics to kitchen items, the University of Miami sells surplus propert ...

Researchers at the University of Miami are studying zebrafish to understand human genetics and ident ...

Behavioral scientists establish a new mental health research center at the University of Miami to ha ...

Top-seeded Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team edged No. 77 Paola Diaz-Delg ...

Redshirt junior Brian Van Belle will take the mound in Miami's ACC Baseball Championship opener ...

The Bowling Green, Ky., native joins the Hurricanes after spending two seasons at Liberty. ...

The quest for a spot at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships begins Thursday for Miami's track a ...

Talking Track is a series that features current members of the Miami track and field program, while ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.