Rice University experts available to comment on Obamas call for immigration reform

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Franz BrotzenPHONE: 713-348-6775EMAIL: [email protected] University experts available to comment on Obama’s call for immigration reformThree Rice University sociologists are available to comment on President Barack Obama’s call for a bipartisan effort to reform the nation’s immigration laws.Speaking Tuesday in El Paso, Texas, Obama argued that his administration has addressed Republicans’ concerns about border security. “We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement,” he said. “All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done.” Now Congress should open a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that would require them to come forward, pay taxes and a penalty and learn English, Obama said. Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology and co-director of Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, can discuss the evidence documenting an unmistakable upward mobility and “Americanization” of Latino immigrants, based on how long they have lived in this country. Klineberg said this shows “that the fears people have about the Latinos are as bogus as the similar fears Americans had about the Greeks, Poles and Italians who came to this country at the beginning of the last century.”Sergio Chávez, assistant professor of sociology, has studied patterns of migration along the U.S.-Mexico border. He said, “Social science research shows that stopping undocumented migration once in motion is impossible to accomplish because of social, economic and cultural factors. Additionally, there are many undocumented immigrants, both young and old, who identify more with this country than with the one they left.” And Rice University sociologist Steve Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, is available for media interviews to discuss how public attitudes affect the debate over immigration. “Since its beginning, immigration has been a major source of population renewal for the United States, and it continues to be a major source of growth for the United States population,” he said. “However, although we are a nation of immigrants, we have had frequent periods when anti-immigrant fervor was evident in the United States, especially when the economy was struggling and unemployment was high. The current debate reflects yet another iteration of our ongoing love-hate relationship with immigration and immigrants.”To read Klineberg’s bio, go to http://sociology.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=122. To read Chávez’s bio, go to http://sociology.rice.edu/chavez/. To read Murdock’s bio, go to http://sociology.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=130. To speak with Klineberg, Chávez or Murdock, contact Franz Brotzen at 713-348-6775 or [email protected]last_img