Feb. 16 panel discussion to focus on immigration

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Three scholars will explore the topic of immigration and what it means to be an American during a Feb. 16 panel discussion.

UNL's Institute for Ethnic Studies will present "Who is an American? Latina/o Immigration, Citizenship and Political Participation in the 21st Century" 12:30-2 p.m. in the Bailey Library, 228 Andrews Hall. The event, designed to engage faculty, students, staff and the public, will include a question-and-answer session.

Miguel Ceballos, assistant professor of sociology and ethnic studies, will examine the language used in the ongoing immigration debate, specifically use of the terms "illegal" and "undocumented." Among his related research, Ceballos has examined the changing attitudes toward immigrants from Latin America.

Ariana Vigil, assistant professor of English and ethnic studies, will discuss immigrants and military service, as well as citizenship in Latino film and literature. Vigil's research interests include the intersection of art and activism as they relate to transnational identities and expressions.

Sergio Wals, assistant professor of political science and ethnic studies, will explore the prospects and consequences of Mexican immigrants' political incorporation. Wals, who came to the United States from Mexico when he was a graduate student and is now a permanent resident, has extensively researched the effect of immigrants' prior experience on their political assimilation and behaviors once in the United States.

Wals, other ethnic studies faculty, and state and national scholars and writers will be among the participants in a related event set for March 4 at the Sheldon Museum of Art. The Center for Great Plains Studies at UNL will sponsor a one-day symposium, "Diverse Faces, Shared Histories: Immigrants on the Great Plains," to broaden perspectives about immigration on the Great Plains. For more information, visit http://www.unl.edu/plains.

- Jean Ortiz Jones, University Communications