Former Illegal Immigrant Headlines Latino Symposium, Adams Center Lecture

Latino Symposium

The Latino Symposium and the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society hosted speaker Edward Schumacher-Matos last semester in an eye-opening presentation titled Immigration Reform: Truth, Myths and Politics. Schumacher-Matos is a Colombian-born news correspondent who was an illegal immigrant himself for his first seven years in the United States. He declared citizenship at 21 years old to serve in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He then attended Vanderbilt University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is now a Robert F. Kennedy visiting professor for Latin American studies at Harvard University.

Schumacher-Matos spoke candidly to a crowded Stretansky Concert Hall about issues of illegal and legal immigration. He stressed that the issue is prevalent everywhere, including central Pennsylvania. Schumacher-Matos illuminated his presentation with the hard facts: the number of foreign-born people living in the United States peaked in 2009—and 11 million were illegal immigrants. Additionally, whites are rapidly becoming the minority in some states, such as California and Texas. He also noted that immigration laws need to be reformed internationally, not just in America. Canada and Australia, for example, have a higher percentage of foreign-born citizens than the United States.

“What most interested me was Schumacher-Matos’s global perspective,” says Dave Meyers ’12. “Prior to the lecture, I hadn’t given international immigration reform policies much consideration, and I wasn’t aware of the immigration problems in other parts of the world. I left the lecture feeling better informed and aware of my position regarding immigration reform. I even discussed these thoughts among friends at dinner.”

Contributing writers to the People & Places section are Charlotte Lotz ‘12, Megan McDermott ‘14, Betsy K. Robertson and Karen M. Jones, assistant director of media relations.

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