Zoe Loftgren Discusses Treatment of Refugees, Immigrants
THE SANTA CLARA
February 26, 2015
Member of the House of Representatives and Santa Clara School of Law alumnus Zoe Lofgren spoke on campus on Feb. 21 about refugees and illegal immigration.
Lofgren was accompanied by Professor Cynthia Mertens from the School of Law and Political Science Associate Professor Elsa Chen in a panel discussion during an Ignatian Leadership Symposium.
Lofgren spoke about about her experience visiting undocumented farm workers in the strawberry fields, who are often mistreated by their employers.
“Before I eat my salad I always ask myself, ‘Who do I owe this salad to?’” Lofgren said.
She also addressed the common misperception that many undocumented immigrants are criminals. In reality, she said, the percent of criminality among immigrants is substantially low. Lofgren, the co-founder and co-chair of the Refugee Caucus, meets with the judiciary to establish priorities of the House and Senate, and helps ensure that the U.N. is providing resources to refugees.
“The U.S. can’t accept every refugee in the world, but it has a role to be a beacon of life for those who are repressed and struggling,” Lofgren said.
Last year, there was a spike in unaccompanied minors arriving at the border from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Lofgren spoke about her experience visiting these detained minors at the United States border.
“That is something that haunts me to this day,” Lofgren said. “What I found were hundreds of children being held in border patrol jails — in cement cells, with no toilet and no privacy. And border control was doing the best they could, like bringing burritos for the kids, but they were still locked in these cells.”
She said she is trying to encourage the government to assist the detainees.
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