Immigration: too important an issue for gimmicks

09-21-2006

There have been reports that on campuses across the country—including here at MSU—there are plans to hold something called “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” on some unspecified date this fall. The event is being described as an opportunity to raise awareness about illegal immigration. In my view, the tactics being suggested are demeaning to individuals and to the values of Michigan State University.

Immigration policy is, without question, an important issue for national debate, one that has serious implications as the U.S. strives to remain competitive in the new global economy. Part of our responsibility as a university is to address this issue in a balanced and scholarly way—without resort to offensive gimmicks as a means of drawing attention to the topic.

I consider the tactics of “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day,” as reported in Thursday’s State News, a way to mock and demean, not to educate; a way to exclude, not include, voices. And inclusion is one of MSU’s core values.

Adherence to our core values shapes who we are as a community. Actions and events that are contrary to those values diminish us. For a more detailed discussion of inclusion, and its importance to the intellectual life of our community, I encourage you to read my online statement.

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