RIT Immigration Policy Lecture Series Brings Former Labor Secretary to Campus

Ray Marshall shares thoughts on immigration reform, foreign-worker programs, Oct. 4

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Ray Marshall

The United States takes pride in welcoming all to its shores in hopes that the “American Dream” can become a reality for those who value hard work and education. But a great debate is under way: how U.S. immigration policies affect our economy and what steps must be taken to pass effective immigration reform.

These questions and others will be answered as part of the Immigration Policy Lecture Series hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology. The inaugural speaker of this year’s series is Ray Marshall, who served as the nation’s 16th labor secretary from 1977 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. Marshall’s lecture, titled “Sensible Immigration Reform,” will be delivered at 5 p.m. Oct. 4 in Golisano Hall auditorium on the RIT campus.

Marshall, the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Centennial Chair in Economics and Public Affairs at University of Texas, will discuss the importance of economic immigration for the United States, explore serious problems with existing foreign-worker programs and outline a framework for comprehensive immigration reform to support value-added economic policies, strengthen democratic institutions and promote social stability.

“Immigration policy is a complex and controversial topic,” says Ron Hira, RIT associate professor of public policy and series co-organizer along with Andrea Hickerson, assistant professor of communication. “Unfortunately, the public discussion on immigration has often shed more heat rather than light. We hope, through this lecture series, to help the Rochester community better understand the many social, political and economic dimensions of immigration. The series will include speakers—academics, journalists, activists—who hold a variety of perspectives.”

“Ray Marshall is one of the country’s most important labor economists,” adds Hira. “In addition to being a prominent academic, he has had a major influence on public policy. His immigration policy framework has been adopted by both major labor union organizations. At a time when America faces its worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, Ray Marshall’s focus on the labor market implications of immigration policy is extraordinarily important.”

The series is sponsored by RIT’s Department of Communication; Department of Science, Technology and Society/Public Policy; Urban and Community Studies Program; Department of Sociology/Anthropology; Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation; the AFL-CIO; and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

All lectures in this series are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Hira at 585-475-7052 or rhira@mail.rit.edu.