Commonwealth National Podcast

Immigration Town Hall


IMMIGRATION REFORM, a Town Hall Panel Discussion

PATTY DIAZ, Executive Director Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN)
BILL ONG HING, Professor of Law and Asian American Studies, UC Davis
YEH LING-LING, Executive Director, Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America
HANS JOHSNON, Research Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California-MODERATOR
RICHARD KIY, President, International Community Foundation

As President Bush moves to dispatch National Guard troops to patrol the Mexican-U.S. border and thousands of immigrants take to the streets in rallies and boycotts, a panel of experts looks at the myriad of controversial issues surrounding America's immigration policy, still being debated in the U.S. Congress. The panel provides us with their understanding of the problems and challenges in reforming the system. While virtually everyone agrees the system is broken there is widespread disagreement as to how it can be fixed. Says President and CEO of the International Community Foundation Richard Kiy. "The only way we can solve immigration is to address the root cause of the problem, which is poverty. Over half the people in Mexico today live in poverty. The reason they are leaving is because their country is failing them." Panelists discuss whether House Bill HR4437, which would criminalize those who hire illegal immigrants, is a viable solution to America’s growing concern over national borders and the waves of illegal immigrants who cross them in search of the American dream. They also look at how immigration affects health care, education, public policy and the U.S. economy. The proposed laws would affect some 10 million undocumented laborers, many of whom have been working here for years.

This program was recorded live on June 14, 2006