March 10, 2004

SIUC to host symposium on immigration law

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Seven nationally recognized scholars on immigration law in the United States are participating in a symposium this month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The symposium, "Immigration Matters," is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 19, in the law school courtroom in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building. The event is free and open to the public.

The symposium will address several topical issues, including police enforcement of immigration laws, providing state drivers' licenses to immigrants, and employment law reforms, particularly the guest worker program proposed recently by President Bush.


Media Advisory


Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the symposium. For more information, contact assistant professor Cindy Buys at 618/453-8743. 


Immigration law is a very important national issue right now, so I think it's important to explore issues surrounding immigration law and to examine how current and proposed immigration policies affect the United States," said law school Dean Peter C. Alexander.

Existing laws and proposed changes directly affect the region's migrant population, Alexander noted.

We have a lot of people who are directly affected by immigration and naturalization rules," he said.

The symposium is divided into two separate panels. The morning panel, from about 9 to 11:30 a.m., focuses on state and local issues regarding immigration. The afternoon panel, from about 1:30 to 4 p.m., is going to examine several national and international issues as they relate to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

U.S. District Court Judge Earl H. Carroll, a federal judge in Arizona, is the keynote luncheon speaker. The luncheon is free. To register for the conference, e-mail the law school at or call 618/453-8761.

Immigration is important to everyone regardless of the size of the community, said SIUC assistant law professor Cindy Buys. Illinois is the sixth most popular destination for newly arriving immigrants, and in the last decade, the state's immigrant population has increased by more than 60 percent, according to Buys, who teaches immigration law.

The symposium's goal is to bring greater focus on immigration and how it affects even state and local issues, said Buys, who will moderate the morning panel discussion.

There is a lot of misinformation out there in the media, and I would like to provide a forum for people to discuss it and have better information than is presented to them," she said.

Proposed immigration law changes are a focal point in national and statewide political campaigns this year.

I think part of the focus on it now is because it is a campaign year," said Buys. "We are a country of immigrants and recent immigrants vote, so the politicians are paying attention to those communities right now and putting it back on the radar screen."

The panelists for the morning session are the Rev. Craig Mousin, a professor in the DePaul University College of Law, acting director of DePaul's Center for Church/State Studies and co-coordinator of the Asylum/Immigration Legal Clinic; Guadalupe T. Luna, a professor at Northern Illinois University College of Law; and Beth Lyon, an assistant professor of law at Villanova University School of Law, and director of the Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic.

The moderator for the afternoon panel discussion is Victor Romero, a professor from the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University, and one of the nation's leading scholars on immigration rights.

The panelists in the afternoon session are Raquel Aldana-Pindell, an associate professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas; Enid F. Trucios-Haynes, a professor at University of Louisville's Brandeis School of Law; and Maria Pabon Lopez, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.

Addressing social and economic issues is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.