Faculty calls for reevaluation of immigration laws

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Gary Freeman, Chair of the Government Department, speaks during a forum on immigration reform hosted by the College Republicans and University Democrats on Tuesday evening. Freeman and other panelists gave their opinions on reform and answered student’s questions about the future of immigration in the US. 

Photo Credit: Mikhaela Locklear | Daily Texan Staff

At a bipartisan policy forum on immigration, Gary Freeman, government department chair, said the U.S. legal immigration system is in need of re-evaluation.

UT faculty led the forum on immigration in an event Tuesday co-hosted by the College Republicans and the University Democrats. Along with Freeman, Barbara Hines, co-director of the immigration clinic at the UT School of Law and Madeline Hsu, director of the Center for Asian American Studies, explored and discussed the economic issues, historical aspects and proposals toward immigration in the U.S. Sherri Greenberg, director of the Center for Politics and Governance, served as the moderator.

Freeman was the first to voice his opinion on the immigration system that is used in the U.S. today. 

“Illegal immigration is a problem, it needs work, it needs to be addressed,” Freeman said. “But the legal program, which is often ignored in these discussions, is in my opinion, very badly designed.”

Freeman evaluated the effects that population growth, because of legal immigration of families, has had on the economy. 

“Growth is good. The more the merrier, but each time a person is added to the U.S. population, taxes go up, prices go up and we don’t have a population policy in the U.S., well not since the Nixon administration, that has discussed what might be a reasonable growth rate in the U.S.,” Freeman said.

Hsu said she has come from two generations of immigrants, and her parents and grandparents faced the issue of limits to Chinese immigration in the U.S. 

Government senior Tariq Adediran said issues, like Hsu’s family’s struggle with coming into the U.S., should be addressed in immigration policies today.

Classics junior Alenis Leon said she attended the forum to hear Hines’ discussion on proposals, but one of the overall points that stuck out to her was Freeman’s opinion on the immigration system implemented today.

“I think Dr. Freeman brought up a really interesting point that we do have to think about our economy and about who we admit,” Leon said. “The legal immigration system needs to be fixed sometime soon, because it’s not enough to just fix the illegal system.”

Published on March 6, 2013 as "Immigration forum talks reform".