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Iowa City IA 52242

Release: Immediate

Human Rights Week features panel discussion of immigration and immigrant rights in Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Week at the University of Iowa, the Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) and the Latino Native American Cultural Center will present a panel discussion and forum, "Immigration and Immigrant Rights in Iowa." The event will be Tuesday, Jan. 20, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Grant Wood Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Issues related to immigration and immigrants-legal and otherwise-have been in the news with greater frequency during the past year, both locally and nationally. This panel discussion will explore recent developments in immigration issues in Iowa, particularly in Eastern Iowa and the Quad Cities. Among those issues are Immigration and Naturalization Service raids on area businesses, the use of traffic stops to check the immigration status of Latinos, news media coverage of immigration issues, and other such actions that contradict popular notions of Midwest hospitality.

"We must acknowledge the most recent undertones of racism, fear and insensitivity displayed in our 'liberal' community," said WRAC director Monique DiCarlo. "Community-building requires doing two things. The first is providing and supporting opportunities to share information about our diverse community. The second is promoting activism that holds our community institutions accountable for valuing diversity within their policies and practices."

Panelists for "Immigration and Immigrant Rights in Iowa" are: Sandra Sanchez of the American Friends Service Committee in Des Moines; Stella Schneckloth of Project NOW in Moline, Ill.; Maria Cano Bribriesco of Bettendorf, attorney and UI law alumna; and Professor Barbara Schwartz of the UI College of Law. Laurie Haag, program coordinator for the Women's Center, and Julio Cesar Valdez, coordinator for the Latino Native American Cultural Center, will moderate the panel.

"Immigration and Immigrant Rights in Iowa" is free and open to the public. Anyone needing an accommodation in order to attend this event should call (319) 335-1486.