Sac State panel covers nuance of the immigration debate

Expert panel explains differences between immigration policies


Eric Jaramishian

Erik Ramirez, Kevin Woldhagen and Kristina Victor discuss immigration topics with students at Sac State’s downtown campus Feb. 26. The topics the panel discussed ranged from immigration enforcement, the International Rescue Committee, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Eric Jaramishian

A panel consisting of two Sacramento State staffers and an immigration caseworker discussed topics such as immigration enforcement, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the International Rescue Committee.

The Tuesday-night panel called “A Californian’s Guide to the Immigration Debate,” was hosted by Sac State’s Project for an Informed Electorate at the downtown Sacramento campus.

The panel consisted of political science professor Kristina Victor, immigration caseworker Kevin Woldhagen and Erik Ramirez, Dreamer Resource Center program assistant.

Victor discussed information about immigration enforcement such as border control, checkpoints, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the different types of border security.

Caroline Anaya, Sac State political science major, said although she is interested in the topic of immigration, she learned statistical information from the panel that she didn’t know before, especially border control.

I didn’t know a lot about the triple fences that professor Victor was talking about,” Anaya said. ”I thought it was really informative.”

Woldhagen talked about the IRC and their goal to resettle refugees in the United States, and Ramirez spoke to the audience on the misinformation surrounding DACA and The DREAM Act, stating that it is not the same thing.

Ramirez went on to explain that the executive order DACA was a result of the DREAM Act not getting passed into law, allowing a way for people to remain in the United States.

“I knew what DACA was, but i didn’t know the difference between the ‘Dreamers’ and DACA, like the terminology that they were talking about,” Anaya said. “I didn’t know that was a thing.”

Hannah Friend, Sac State political science major, said she also learned new things from the panel’s discussion.

“Some stuff you would think that is very obvious is not, and the misinformation that comes with immigration and the status of it right now is really interesting to see,” Friend said.

Friend also expressed an interest about discussing President Donald Trump’s administration during the panel, something that was not a major topic at the panel. Victor said speaking about the Trump administration in regard to immigration needs a certain amount of context.

“Unless you kind of know the history of what came before it, it kind of changes the context of the debate,” Victor said. ”It might make you more mad, but i think you have to understand the context of these institutional changes before you can really have an informed opinion.”