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Constitution Day Talk Focuses on Immigrants

The hot-button topic of illegal immigration was explored during Loyola Marymount University’s fifth annual Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Convocation. Guest speaker Kathleen Kim, associate professor of law at Loyola Law School, presented a framework to better understand the issue.

Constitution Day - Kathleen Kim“ ‘Unlawful presence’ should be the conceptual centerpiece” in considering the issue of immigration, said Kim, who has published several works on the impact of U.S. policies and practices on the rights of immigrants and human trafficking survivors. Kim noted that immigration again has become an emotional and polarizing issue and that, since 2008, more than 2,000 bills have been considered by local governments and states in the U.S. have considered bills that address immigration

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, once known as Citizens Day, became a federal day of observance in 2004 to commemorate the day, Sept. 17, when the U.S. Constitution was signed in 1787. It also recognizes all who have become U.S. citizens.

Kim told the audience of political science and history students, LMU faculty and staff that while both sides of the illegal immigration debate see a need for reforming the system, the legal and political issues are difficult to sort out. “How we define unauthorized immigrants influences the laws and the policies that impact them,” Kim said.

“It’s important for students to identify how they define unauthorized immigrants,” Kim said. “My hope is that in thinking about these issues, students – and all Americans – recognize the important contributions that undocumented immigrants have made to our nation’s economy and diverse culture.”

Posted Sept. 21, 2010