Handangeu-Sotelo traveled to campus Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue and an annual event called La Posada Sin Fronteras, a collective ritual that calls attention to the deadly results of illegal immigration.
Handagneu-Sotelo said nearly 33 million immigrants have come over to the U.S. in the last several decades because of the difficulty of legal migration.
"Immigration is a deeply contested issue," Handagneu-Sotelo said. "It's a key social problem in the U.S. today."
In order to legally migrate into the United States from Mexico, an immigrant needs to qualify he or she must either have a close relative who has citizenship and lives in the United States, or an employer in the country. But even if an immigrant qualifies for legal migration, he will likely have to wait 10 to 12 years to migrate into the United States because of the country's quota system.
Graduate student Alison Goebel attended the lecture and said she learned something that surprised her about the issue.
"I didn't realize the backlog for immigration is over a decade now," Goebel said.
As a result of an increasing number of people trying to illegally migrate into the United States, the border is guarded by border patrol officers. The United States implemented Operation Gatekeeper in 1994, which increased the number of Border Patrol officers and the increased budget allotted to them.
Handagneu-Sotelo said anywhere between 350 and 700 people die each year at the borders due to the aggression from increased border security. Most of the deaths occur in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Because of increased security and blockades at the border, many immigrants have crossed into... [continues]
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