Round Rock Reads!

Panel Wrap-up

The panel discussion on immigration Monday evening at City Hall was lively.  A crowd of about 50 people were in attendance, and many stayed until the end to ask questions of the panelists. 

Reverend Dr. William Sappenfield served as the moderator and each panelist got approximately two minutes to answer each of Dr. Sappenfield's six questions. Panelists included: Curtis Collier--President of US Border Watch, Terri English--Director of Immigration Counseling and Outreach Services, Leslie Helmcamp--Catholic Charities of Central Texas, Edna Yang--Political Asylum Project of Austin, and Larry Youngblood--Texas Border Volunteers. The six questions were:

  • By 2010, it is estimated that over 50% of people living in Texas will be non-Caucasian.  Why do you think some Texans fear this demographic change?
  • How well does building a wall help with the border problem?
  • Do you think the immigration laws in the U.S. need to be reformed? Which reform is most urgently needed?
  • The Hutto Family Residential Facility in Taylor, Texas has received considerable publicity in recent months.  In your opinion, how close does the facility come to fulfilling its intended purpose?
  • Should all government services be denied to undocumented workers, or just some? How should the U.S. decide which services are appropriate to offer to undocumented workers?
  • What do you think would happen if the U.S. was able to send all undocumented workers home tomorrow? 

As you can imagine, the panelists had varying opinions on each question, but they were all civilized and respectful of one another. There were newspaper articles on the panel on the front page of the Round Rock Leader today, as well as the Daily Texan on Tuesday.  The panel was videotaped, so if you would like to view the discussion from your computer, click here.

The events surrounding Round Rock Reads! will end this Saturday with a brown-bag book discussion of The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea.  The event is from 12-2 in Meeting Room B of the library.  The library will provide dessert. Hope to see you all there! 


jocktamson said:

"Civilized and respectful" maybe, but I thought the audience was one-sided and at times just plain mean. Some folks' grasp of the facts seemed a little shaky, like the guy who said the border had existed for thousands of years, and the other gent who claimed that the border was ordained by God. Even the old Aztlan chestnut was brought out for an airing. Puh-leese, guys! As you say, there wasn't much heat in the discussion, but there sure wasn't much light either.

Where were the good people of Round Rock? Most of the audience seemed to be Houston supporters of some of the speakers. Perhaps a greater Round Rock presence would have led to a more balanced discussion. Are RR people too comfortable - don't they care?

Having this discussion was a great idea - not your fault it was kinda depressing.


# July 27, 2007 8:02 PM

GilT said:

The immigration panel discussion sponsored by the Round Rock library on Monday in the City Hall council chambers confirmed my observations involving this topic:  The notable absence of the spirit in secular and religious sources revered by Americans.

How did we come to a point in our history when we purport to put an issue such as immigration in perspective without consulting or referencing these ancient documents; the Declaration of Independence and the Bible?

Some of the sound bites included, "Man made borders, not God", "It's a matter of legal or illegal".  What these suggest is both, lawgiver and law in back of the collective American and Christian mind.  Despite the seeming cut-and-dry clarity on the subject for both parties there is a lingering paradox best addressed by those notably absent sources.

Americans believe they know what needs to be done.  Americans would do it.  Americans are not doing it.

Our Founding Fathers spoke to us in that American secular document, the Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal. . .with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".  Did our Founding Fathers speak of Americans, only?  Americans living within America's territorial boundaries, but not to be so included when abroad?

When God spoke to Israel (a sovereign nation with borders) to "show your love for the alien in your midst" can a Christian conclude the immigrant in our midst is not the intended recipient of his/her love?

The reason our nation has a judicial system is because despite all the laws not everything is cut-and-dry.  Yes, laws are to be enforced, but they must first be interpreted lest a nation or an individual be absolved by the letter of the law while violating its spirit.  Those who would say, "Don't interpret it, just enforce it" would act first and justify or absolve themselves later.   It is the reason Israel had elders and other wise men to discern and judge the matters of life.

Jesus repeatedly exposed, reproved and instructed his disciples and the church throughout the ages on their attitude toward their despised neighbors, the Samaritans.  The spirit of God, in the written word, is able to reveal what is in the hearts of men even when they appear to do justice.  Our Founding Fathers did no less.

The law tells us what to do justly.  The spirit stirs our hearts to compassion whether one acts as an American or a Christian.

# July 29, 2007 9:13 PM

Daniel said:

Immigration has now become a worldwide problem. Different countries have implimented their own immigration law. Thats why I think this law need to be reformed.

# August 17, 2007 12:44 AM

Santana said:

Though I don't know much about US immigration law, yet I can only suggest that if the law need to be reformed for the sake of US people then it has to be done as asap. Daniel has told the exact fact. Immigration has now become a worldwide problem. People are migrating from one country to another in hope of a better future. But here I would like to mention that not every people. And after the 'WTC' terrorist attack I think US officials have become more concerned about these immigrating people. So I think it need to be reformed for the sake of humanity...

# August 23, 2007 8:07 PM
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