Immigration issues illustrate sharp divide in presidential race

By Nakeeya Wells and Ariyana Brown

Photo by Nevele Otseog from Creative Commons Flickr

On Nov. 8, John Carroll students, along with all citizens of the United States, will vote to elect a new president and members of Congress, the U.S. Senate, state legislatures and other public offices.

Among the major issues in the presidential campaign, immigration is one of the most controversial. Candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have strongly opposing views.

The presence of 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, combined with the fear of immigrants who entered the country legally, then participated in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have made immigration a highly controversial topic.

Republican candidate Trump has actively stressed that undocumented immigrants should not be allowed in the United States and that he thinks it is necessary to build a wall at the border between Mexico and the United States to forcibly prevent foreigners from entering the country without proper papers.

Trump told citizens, as well as reporters covering the debates, that he wants to make Americans the first priority and force undocumented immigrants to return to their native countries. He said that Muslim immigrants only bring negative things into the United States and that they are a threat to the safety of U.S. citizens. Trump is worried that letting Muslims into the country may bring danger to us. He says that he does not want to deny immigration permanently, however. He wants to pause allowing immigrants in until we solve the safety issue. “And we can’t be the stupid country any more. We’re laughed at all over the world.”

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton conveys that she supports immigrants coming here because she believes the newcomers strengthen the economy and bring families together. Clinton believes that immigrants should have an option to become citizens, even if they have crossed the border without proper documents. Clinton wants to uphold all of the actions on immigration that President Barack Obama has put into place.

Interviews were planned with two individuals who have connections to John Carroll University: alumnus Joe Cimperman, who heads Global Cleveland, an organization that works with refugees and immigrants, and current student Carlos Cruz, who heads the Latin American Student Association on campus. Cruz was unable to meet, but Cimperman came through after a couple of delays.

Cimperman is a former Cleveland councilman who now heads an organization that works with refugees, Global Cleveland. The interview was first scheduled for Oct. 11 at the Global Cleveland office, where these two reporters found an office that is organized and bright, but an interview that was cancelled because the former councilman had been called unexpectedly to the mayor’s office.

The interview was delayed until the next day, when the reporters arrived to be informed that Cimperman would not being attending.

The reporters, anxious to get their story, did not give up. After being offered a rescheduled face-to-face interview, the reporters asked instead to schedule a telephone interview for later that day. That interview did take place.

Global Cleveland helps connect refugees to organizational resources. A refugee is a person who has fled from their country to escape war or prosecution and can prove it. That’s different from an immigrant — someone who decides to leave their country to come and live permanently in a new country.

When asked why he left his position as councilman to become president of Global Cleveland, Cimperman stated that it was time for a change of scenery because he had held office for 18 years. He added that he has always had a passion for helping others.

Global Cleveland welcomes refugees and immigrants to Cleveland helps to connect them to many economic and social opportunities throughout the city. As president, Cimperman works individually with international students as well.

He stressed the importance of 2016 presidential race. He believes that this is the country’s only chance of getting things done on immigration that have been unresolved for many years.

“Our country cannot survive without fixing immigration,” Cimperman stated. When asked whether he agreed or disagreed with Trump’s views on immigration, Cimperman said, “I am appreciative of Trump because it’s making people talk about the issue.”

Immigration has been a huge concern in this country. In 1986 former President Ronald Reagan initiated a revision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. This act allowed unauthorized immigrants the opportunity to apply and gain legal status if they met requirements

On Sept. 11, 2001, a concerted series of terrorist attacks occurred on the same day in New York, Arlington, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Two airplanes hit the World Trade Center in New York City, killing nearly 3,000 people. Right after this attack, another plane crashed into the Pentagon, just outside of Washington, D.C. Another airplane that was believed to be headed to the White House was taken over by passengers and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

At John Carroll University, many people have strong opinions on the current presidential candidates. Political science professors Laura Boustani and Sara Schiavoni had a lot to say in an interview.

Boustani graduated from John Carroll University with a bachelor’s in political science and master’s from Case Western Reserve in positive organization development and change. She urged that a change needs to take place. She is an immigrant from Beirut, Lebanon, and feels that immigrants built this country and bring positives to the U.S. economically.

“Hillary is absolutely right! Hillary approaches things from a humane perspective” stated Boustani. She feels that the borders should be open with law and order for protection.

Schiavoni, a graduate of Emory University, stressed the importance of the issue. She is currently a political science professor at John Carroll University. She noticed that the issue is celliate to people. Citizens are aware of the issue but not the true importance of it in general.

“A pathway to citizenship should be a path for those who want it,” stated Schiavoni.

She mentioned that the upcoming nomination of a new U.S. Supreme Court justice will spark controversy once the outcome of the presidential election is known.

We look forward to the way the election will turn out in this upcoming vote, and seeing how the issue of immigration will be addressed!