Forum to Address Immigration to U.S.

The College of Social and Behavioral Science will present a forum on Immigration and the Future of American Society, beginning today.

Alejandro Portes, a professor of sociology at Princeton University, will speak at noon in the Marriott Library?s Gould Auditorium. Afterward, at 2 p.m., the Hinckley Institute of Politics will host a panel discussion on the same topic.

The forum will include a colloquium held Nov. 1 and 2.

Immigration is a far more important issue than commonly recognized, said Steven Ott, dean of the college.

As the world economy changes in different places, people move, he said.

It?s a timely topic in light of the 2000 census results, which indicate a larger-than expected number of illegal aliens, and the Bush administration?s proposal to grant legal status to some.

The events of Sept. 11 will also cast a shadow on immigration policy.

The balance between public protection and individual rights can shift in the face of real or perceived dangers.

?Immigration plays right into the center of that,? he said. ?Should we be having open borders at a time when there are serious threats out there??

Americans must consider how to handle not only the borders, but allowing immigrants into jobs and communities, he said.

Portes will argue the second generation, not the first, is most likely to determine the long-term effects of immigration.