WSU Diversity Conference Highlights Immigration Challenge

OGDEN, Utah – The 15th Annual Diversity Conference at Weber State University will explore the nuances and difficulties of today’s immigration issues beginning the evening of Oct. 10 and ending the afternoon of Oct. 11.

The conference will feature multiple workshops and sessions that revolve around the theme “Immigration: Whose American Dream?” Edward Schumacher-Matos, an immigration policy expert and fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, will give the keynote address Oct. 11 at 8:30 a.m. in the Shepherd Union Ballrooms.

Schumacher-Matos, who also serves as the ombudsman for NPR and is a visiting professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, said he wants to dispel some of the immigration myths and enable an honest conversation regarding the topic. Among the myths he said he hopes to dispel are the ideas that immigrants don’t work and come to the United States to take advantage of welfare.

However, Schumacher-Matos said that some form of immigration laws must exist in order to ensure that the country is not overwhelmed.

“There’s truth on all sides of the debate,” he said.

He characterizes current immigration law as incompatible with today’s realities.

“We have 11 million people living in the United States without documentation, who are here illegally, but they are very much a part of the American social fabric by now,” he said.

In addition to his academic expertise, Schumacher-Matos brings a personal perspective to immigration. He emigrated from Colombia as a child and later volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War. Many immigrants feel a heightened need to prove themselves as Americans, he said.

“You feel this extra debt, burden and appreciation for the nation, and you want to contribute,” he said.

Adrienne Gillespie Andrews, WSU’s special assistant to the president for diversity, said Schumacher-Matos will enable a robust immigration conversation at the university.

“As an academic and a journalist, Schumacher-Matos brings a critical eye to the often divisive issue of immigration,” she said. “His investigative nature, combined with academic prowess, demonstrates a critical understanding of the issues and what is at stake as we uphold democracy.”

This year’s conference topic revolves around the inclusion of those who desire to be citizens, but tackles other issues as well. For instance, what happens when immigrants can no longer stay in the United States and take their skills with them?

All events are free and open to the public.

Diversity Conference Schedule

Oct. 10: Opening reception 6 p.m. Film and discussion 6:30 p.m.
Pepper Glass, WSU assistant sociology professor and Edward Schumacher-Matos
Weber State University Davis D-3 Ballrooms

Oct. 11: Shepherd Union Ballrooms 
Keynote 8:30 a.m.
Concurrent panel sessions and presentations

Session 1, 9:30-10:20 a.m.

o   Dispelling the Myths: What’s Your IQ?
o   Legal Immigration to the U.S.
o   Key Issues in Global Migration

Session 2, 10:30-11:20 a.m.

o   A Native View on Immigration
o   Economic Impacts of Immigration
o   Those Left Behind

Session 3, 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

o   Impacts of Immigration on Education
o   The Dreamers
o   Refugees and Immigration

Closing panel and lunch 12:30-1:20 p.m.

o   Migration Histories: Total Recall or Selective Amnesia: The Uses and Abuses of History in the Immigration Discussion

Visit for more news about Weber State University.
Adrienne Andrews, special assistant to the president for diversity
801-626-7243 ·
Shane Farver, University Communications
801-626-7439 ·