This story was written by Alissa Katz, The Towerlight
The fourth Baltimore Immigration Summit, held Friday at the Burkshire Marriott Conference Hotel, consisted of different lectures regarding the impact and needs of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
The summit is a bi-annual, one-day event that brings together academics, activists, community leaders and workers for more immigration rights.
This year's theme was "ReGenerations: Communities, Opportunities and Challenges."
Assistant provost Catherine Horta-Hayden, Student Government Association president Kristen Guy, summit coordinator Elizabeth Clifford and Lourdes Montes-Greenan, a community consultant for PNC Bank, gave opening remarks.
International students at the Prince George's Community College presented the last lecture of the day. Elaine Kass of Prince George's Community College moderated their presentation. Their concerns focused on undocumented immigrants' educational rights in the United States.
Samuel Adaramola, one of the students who spoke, has been an undocumented illegal alien since he was a toddler. He portrayed his feelings about giving undocumented immigrants equal rights in education.
"Undocumented immigrants should be given the same opportunities the alternatives are frankly way too scary," he said.
The alternatives he referred to are the possibilities of youth getting involved with gangs, drugs and alcohol.
Adaramola said he believes that the government should fund immigrants' education. He argued that there would be a decline in the jail rate if there were an incline in education. The money that is spent on putting people in jails, he argued, should be put to better use for the education system.
Adaramola also discussed the historical background of immigration in the United States, including giving remarks on what the words on the Statue of Liberty stand for.
He mentioned the immigration laws supported by President Ronald Reagan and Senator Robert Kennedy. Additionally, there was mention of the laws that allow Texas state universities to grant admission to undocumented immigrants on the conditions that they have been Texas residents for two years and graduated from a Texas high school. He said he believes more states should follow this precedent. The native Nigerian political science major plans to transfer to Towson University in the future and wants to go to law school.
Anael Ngando, a political science major from Cameroon, is also an advocate for increasing immigrants' education.
"[Undocumented immigrants] become uneducated because they have no one to teach them," she said.
Ngando said that if international students are educated here they have the option to improve the conditions in their native countries.
The Jewish Museum of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and different departments at Towson University co-sponsored this event with PNC Bank. The summit was free of charge according to Clifford, who works with Towson's department of sociology, anthropology and criminal justice.