Purdue program provide primer on immigration issues

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Hoosiers come in all shapes, sizes and, in ever-increasing numbers, ethnicities.

Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and the university’s College of Liberal Arts are sponsoring a pair of video broadcasts to help Indiana residents better understand the state’s changing demographics. The Basics on Immigration takes place 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Oct. 22 and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29. The Web-based broadcasts can be viewed at seven Purdue Extension offices across Indiana.

The broadcasts are free and open to the public.

“This program is designed to reach those individuals who are concerned or interested in learning more about immigration in Indiana,” said Carmen DeRusha, a Purdue Extension economic and community development specialist, and the program coordinator.

“Our democratic system depends on an educated citizenry and Purdue Extension wants to help educate Indiana residents about issues affecting the people of Indiana, including immigration.”

According to the U.S. Census, 81 of Indiana’s 92 counties experienced an increase in foreign-born residents between 1990 and 2000. Although foreign-born residents made up just 3 percent of the state’s more than 6.03 million Hoosiers in 2000, the 186,534 foreign-born people represented more than 17 percent of the state’s population growth in the 10-year Census period.

That growth in immigrant population has not come without challenges, said Sam Cordes, co-director of Purdue’s Center for Regional Development and a program leader for Purdue Extension.

“Immigration is a high profile – and often controversial – issue facing our society and communities,” Cordes said. “Unfortunately, what we hear is often not grounded in facts or research. Our program will enable local leaders and residents – especially businessmen – to gain a better understanding of the various issues, challenges and opportunities, and to engage in constructive dialogue with others in their communities.”

The Oct. 22 program features presentations on demographic data and the global elements of immigration. Speakers include Adriela Fernandez, associate dean in Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts; James McCann, a Purdue professor of political science; and Thomas Ruge, an attorney and immigration law expert with the Indianapolis legal firm of Lewis & Kappes.

On Oct. 29 the three speakers from the previous program will answer immigration-related questions.

The Web broadcasts will originate from the Pfendler Hall Deans Auditorium on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. The public can attend in person or watch the programs at the following Purdue Extension sites:

  • Clinton – 1111 S. Jackson St., Frankfort, (765) 659-6380
  • Howard – 120 E. Mulberry, Kokomo, (765) 456-2313
  • LaGrange – 114 W. Michigan St., Suite 10, LaGrange, (260) 499-6334
  • Montgomery – 400 Parke Ave., Crawfordsville, (765) 364-6363
  • Pulaski – 125 S. Riverside, Winamac, (574) 946-3412
  • Tippecanoe – Pfendler Hall Auditorium, 715 West State Street, @ Purdue University,
    West Lafayette, (765) 474-0793 – [this is the live presentation site]
  • Tipton – 1200 S. Main St., Tipton, (765) 675-1177

For more information, contact DeRusha at (317) 275-9305 ext. 253 or by e-mail at cderusha@purdue.edu

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