On November 15, 2013, Dowling College’s Doctoral Professor, Dr. Elsa-Sofia Morote, participated in a debate at Briarcliffe College at its Immigration Law Forum sponsored by the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association (LIHBA) and Briarcliffe College. In the aftermath of the 2012 Presidential Election, Immigration Reform is a hot-button political issue at the national level. The LIHBA officers believe that the issue is of great importance to all citizens. The event provided a forum for our esteemed panel of speakers to present various perspectives on two fundamental questions that underlie the debate: why is immigration reform necessary, and what should it consist of. This discussion was guided by Anthony Agolia, J.D., Program Chair, Department of Criminal Justice & Paralegal Studies at Briarcliffe College.
The following panelists were present: Raj Jadeja, Immigration Defense Counsel and managing partner at Jadeja & Cimone, LLP, Michael Cutler, retired Immigration and Naturalization Service agent and senior special agent assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force, Dr. George Weissinger, Professor of Criminal Justice at Briarcliffe College, author of Law Enforcement & the INS and retired Immigration and Naturalization Service agent and Dr. Elsa-Sofia Morote, Professor of Educational Administration, Leadership and Technology at Dowling College and founder of the Institute of International Studies and Diversity.
Dr. Elsa- Sofia Morote provided insightful observations about the effects of the new bill on immigration reform and on the economic recovery of the United States. She explained that 61 percent of the undocumented immigrants come from Mexico and have an average of grade 8 education. There is a strong demand on the United States for their skills and work ethic that respond to local labor market demands. Dr. Morote also explained that it is important for the USA economy to allow undocumented youth who are growing up in the United States to have access to higher education. She described how effective immigration reform could reduce the country’s deficits by $1.5 trillion during the next 10 years (Center for American Progress), as young, working immigrants take jobs and pay taxes.
The audience listened and actively participated in the debate posing valuable questions that explored pros and cons of the new bill. The heated debate ended with applause from the audience who appreciated the knowledge and the experiences of the panelists.