POWELL, Wyo. - The Northwest College Diversity Committee invites the public to campus Wednesday, Oct. 20, to watch and discuss the issues explored in “Papers,” a documentary about undocumented immigrants in the United States.
The program begins at 7 p.m. in Room 70 of the Fagerberg Building on campus.
Approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States. About two million of them are children. “Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth” is a feature-length documentary focusing on what happens to those youth when they reach the age of 18.
Directed by Anne Galisky and produced by Rebecca Shine of Graham Street Productions, the film follows the personal stories of five undocumented students and the national grass movement working to pass the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors).
First introduced in 2001 and re-introduced in March 2009, the DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth who attend college or join the military.
The movie puts a face and personal story on the issue by challenging the audience to imagine what it would be like to be a model student and active member of a community but upon graduating from high school, know that you couldn’t work, drive, apply for a state ID or get on an airplane. You couldn’t accept college scholarships, even though you’d been awarded them, and you would be required to pay foreign student tuition in the state where you grew up.
Many youths in this predicament live in constant fear of being deported from the only home they’ve ever known to a country they don’t remember where they know no one and can’t even speak the language.
Holly Wolcott, a journalism instructor and adviser to the Northwest Trail, NWC’s student-produced newspaper, will moderate the panel discussion that follows the movie screening.
“We want to start a civil conversation about the challenges these folks face, not attempt to have an advocacy night,” Wolcott said in a September 30 interview on the Big Horn Radio News Network. “We’ve got a lot of different things going on in this country regarding this issue. One of them is the impending DREAM Act that’s before the politicians in Washington. We also have a lot of debate obviously from the situation going on down in Arizona.”
Wolcott has moderated several panels in California and Colorado similar to this one. She said she can guarantee there will be healthy dialogue after the movie screening that will present all sides of the issue.
“I encourage people who have opinions across the spectrum to attend,” she said, “because there are definitive legal issues that need to be discussed when we talk about this. But it’s really to talk about the challenges for the young people.”
The panel will have several guests to discuss the issue, including Albert Wight, an expert on cross-cultural issues; Amanda Enriquez, NWC interim international academic program assistant; and Mary Baumann, NWC’s multicultural program coordinator.
Wolcott said there will be plenty of time for audience members to ask questions and contribute to the discussion.