Languages@Muhlenberg.edu
Newsletter 2006

Aliens in America
In their elementary language classes, Muhlenberg’s Spanish students view La Ciudad, My American Girls, Nueba Yol, and My Family / Mi familia, all films dealing with the immigrant experience in the United States. It was natural to arrange an event with the Center for Ethics that combined our students’ exploration with the lived and professional experiences of people dealing with the issues of immigrant identity.
On 15 March the College hosted a panel discussion on Aliens in America, trying to answer the question of how immigrants --in the broadest and in any more narrow sense-- fit into the fabric of this nation and this community. Organized with the goal of bringing the different issues of law, politics, ethics, and personal realities into contact, the panel included Consul for Protection Services Rocío Vázquez of the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia, District Attorney and nationally-recognized advocate of strong protections against undocumented immigration John Morganelli, filmmaker Catherine Tambini, co-director of the acclaimed PBS documentary Farmingville, immigration attorney Jane M. Schoener, who specializes in work-based cases, and our very own Dr. Irene Beibe, an Argentine national. With Dr. Sutherland as moderator, the panelists presented, disagreed, discussed, and came to the shared conclusion that comprehensive immigration reform is truly needed. Students, many of whom joined Catherine Tambini for a screening of Farmingville the night before, embraced the panelists’ wide range of perspectives in asking pointed and at times provocative questions. In these days of much public debate on immigration, this panel discussion provided an intimate venue for an important conversation.