Robust immigration laws have fostered the exploitation of undocumented laborers, Social Studies Lecturer Rebecca B. Galemba argued at a movie screening hosted by Harvard College Act on a Dream on Thursday evening.
The movie screening featured the documentary “Papers,” which chronicles the stories of undocumented young adults who have felt the legal and social effects of immigration laws.
“We really wanted to bring a face to the issue and this is a movie that does that really well,” said HCAD Co-Chair Maria I. Romero ’15. “Hopefully by seeing a family who’s really affected by the issue, we hope to reach a side that isn’t just cold-hard facts.”
Following the screening, Galemba facilitated a discussion about the film and the current immigration issues facing the United States.
“I think it’s really important to see the people involved in this and see the human side of what immigration policy has caused,” Galemba said.
Galemba also teaches a freshman seminar called “Beyond The Great Immigration Debate.”
HCAD was formed to help advocate for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which was first introduced in Congress in 2001. The bill, if passed, would provide a path to permanent residency to people who arrived in the U.S. as minors and graduated from high school.
University President Drew G. Faust has publicly lobbied in support of the bill.
“Our goal in this event has been to bring greater awareness about the DREAM Act to campus because the DREAM Act and immigration in general is something that we feel is under-discussed,” Romero said.
As both an immigrant and member of HCAD, Sylvia A. Percovich ’15 said the event held particular resonance. She said she could relate to the many of the problems facing the characters in the film.
“It’s something that I’ve [seen my] family go through and something I’ve experienced to a certain extent,” Percovich said.
On Wednesday, the group also a hosted a freshman study break in Annenberg. Participants played an immigration-related trivia game while enjoying ice cream.
“It was more about talking about the misconceptions people have about immigrants, like whether they pay taxes or pay social security,” Co-Chair Anahi D. Mendoza Pacheco ’15 said.
—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.