UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Dept. of Philosophy look into moral issues faced by those living in the border region
SAN ANTONIO – Who and what should be let across the border? How far can we go to stop those we choose not to allow? How should we treat those who have just crossed? Those who crossed last year, ten, or twenty years ago? What do we owe those who continue to live across the border, perhaps in great poverty? What do they owe us? Does the border make us who we are?
These are questions the Institute of Texan Cultures and the UTSA Department of Philosophy and Classics will ask at a panel discussion on the ethical dilemmas posed by immigration. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the museum, 801 Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., free and open to the public.
“We’re here to stimulate thought and dialog on the ethical issues we face, living so close to the border,” said Alistair Welchman, assistant professor of philosophy at UTSA and panel moderator for the event. “If we can’t talk about the issue, we can’t change it. We’ve brought together a panel of individuals from so many backgrounds and different perspectives. This will be a wonderful opportunity to broaden the discussion.”
Keynote speaker for the panel is Joseph Carens, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Carens, a dual-citizen of the United States and Canada, is an extensively published and cited author on the subject of border ethics, having written “Immigrants and the Right to Stay” and “Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness.” He has presented various border ethics cases in The Boston Review and on C-SPAN.
Carens makes a case for amnesty on the lines that “irregular migrants,” over time, have become integrated into their adoptive society and removing them from that society would be unfair.
“Over time, people become members of the society where they live, even when they have settled without authorization,” says Carens. “This is especially clear with children who grow up in a society and who are not responsible for being there. It also applies to those who come as adults. After a while, the circumstances of their arrival are simply less important, morally. We should recognize the reality of their social membership and grant them a legal right to stay"
Other panelists include:
- Dr. Harriett Romo, professor of sociology and director of the UTSA Mexico Center
- Jorge Valadez, associate professor of philosophy at Our Lady of the Lake University
- The Most Rev. Oscar Cantu, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Antonio
- Chief William McManus, San Antonio Police Department
- Robert Rivard, former editor of the San Antonio Express-News; blogger, “The Rivard Report”
- John Phillip Santos, University Distinguished Scholar in Mestizo Cultural Studies at UTSA and author, “The Farthest Home is an Empire of Fire”
- Carolina Canizales, DREAMer and UTSA Honors College graduate
In the first half of the event, panelists will have the opportunity to present their views on moral issues tied to living in the border region. The second half will be dedicated to community dialog with the panelists.
“This panel will reach to the core of who we are and what responsibility we have to one another. It’s about people, not politics,” said Lupita Barrera, director of education and interpretation at the museum. “The Institute of Texan Cultures is about finding yourself. This topic is very much a part of our identity and culture in San Antonio.”
In addition to the panel, a UTSA Ethics class will present posters illustrating panel topics. Judging for the student competition is from 3 to 5 p.m. The posters, incorporating text, art and photography, will remain on display through the evening.
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Regular museum admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.