Nebraska has always been a land of immigrants, but immigration issues have been at the center of public debate in 2011.
Join in a community conversation about immigration challenges and opportunities at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, at Andersen Hall, Room 15, in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 16th & Q streets, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.
Panelists participating in the moderated discussion include State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, UNL student Benjamin Kantack, the Rev. David Lux of Lincoln's St. Paul United Methodist Church and Leticia Rodríguez of Madison, a recruiter for the Nebraska Department of Education's Migrant Education Program.
Audience members will have the opportunity to explore issues, question panelists and offer suggestions in this civic conversation sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society and UNL's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
The event will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable channels 5 and 21 and on 90.3 KRNU-FM and streamed live on its website, krnu.unl.edu. @Neb_Immigration will tweet event updates every two to three minutes.
The community conversation, part of the Nebraska State Historical Society's series, "We the People: The Nebraska Viewpoint," is free and open to the public. Support for the event comes in part from the Nebraska Humanities Council, the Cooper Foundation and the Woods Charitable Fund, Inc. Parking will be available in the Andersen Hall parking lot and at meters on nearby streets.
For more information call 402-471-3270 or 402-472-3041 or visit cojmc/news/cojmc.unl.edu/immigration or nebraskahistory.org
Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont has represented District 15 in the Nebraska Legislature since January 2009. His bill assigning illegal immigration enforcement duties to local police (LB48) is currently in committee. He was elected to the Fremont City Council in 2006 and voted for a local ordinance banning hiring and renting to undocumented immigrants. When the ordinance failed to advance after a council deadlock, supporters successfully petitioned the council to put the matter to a vote of Fremont's residents. In 2010, a majority voted in favor of the ordinance, and it was enacted by the council. It is presently being challenged in district court.
Benjamin Kantack is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Brookings, S.D., native is a double-major in political science and Spanish with a minor in Latin-American studies. Kantack is a member of the College Republicans, and he wrote a final paper for an upper-level political science course studying the effects of media coverage on Arizona's SB 1070, a controversial state immigration law that has been challenged in court.
Rev. David Lux has been the senior pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln since 2002. Lux earned a bachelor's in sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and went on to get a master's in theology from the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He believes immigration is one of the most important issues facing our state and nation and doesn't hesitate to preach about Christianity's viewpoint.
Leticia Rodríguez is a recruiter for the Nebraska Department of Education Migrant Education Program and the home school coordinator for Madison Public Schools. As a child, she immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico. She and her husband were among the first Mexican families to move to Madison, Neb., in the 1990s. Rodríguez is a leader in Madison's immigrant community where she helps families overcome everyday struggles.