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Ilsup Ahn discusses immigration and social justice for humanities speaker series

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Ilsup Ahn discusses immigration and social justice for humanities speaker series

Dr. Illsup Awn addresses the Spartan Auditorium crowd for the Humanities series.

Dr. Illsup Awn addresses the Spartan Auditorium crowd for the Humanities series.

lance lagoni

Dr. Illsup Awn addresses the Spartan Auditorium crowd for the Humanities series.

lance lagoni

lance lagoni

Dr. Illsup Awn addresses the Spartan Auditorium crowd for the Humanities series.

Juan Castillo, Staff Writer

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Ilsup Ahn, PhD, visited the Elgin Community College campus on Wednesday, Nov. 7 to discuss immigration and social justice in the Spartan Auditorium. Ahn is a professor of philosophy at North Park University and was invited by the humanities department as a part of the department’s speaker series.

“When people are migrating from one place to another by the millions, there is a structural factor that is affecting that movement,”Ahn said.

During his presentation, Ahn described how socioeconomic instability has helped push many poor working-class people to leave their home countries and migrate illegally into the United States. According to Ahn, trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement have caused many rural farming citizens of countries like Mexico and Honduras to compete with the American agricultural industry that can supply products at a much cheaper cost. This unfair competition has forced many to seek other means of income to make ends meet.

“In the United States we often label these immigrants simply as criminals because they break the law when coming into the country,” Ahn said. “But in reality, they are actually victims asking for mercy.”

Ahn also spoke about other negative factors of these trade deals such as the rise of dangerous gangs and drug cartels in many of these countries. According to Ahn, some of the farmers end up working for these dangerous organizations by producing drugs for them to sell. These drugs then make their way across the border and into the United States.

“I thought that Ahn was well informed and very passionate about the topic,” said Ahsan Syed, a second-year educational psychology major at ECC. “There are so many factors that have to be looked at, including the socioeconomic impact in allowing a huge number of immigrants to come into the country. At the same time, looking at the fact that it was certain policies made by the U.S. government, I can’t help but feel that our government needs to take responsibility and help diffuse the situation.”

Ahn’s presentation was a part of the Humanities Speaker Series, which is run and organized by the humanities department at ECC. The department invites three speakers a semester to come and make a presentation, very similar to Ahn’s, on various topics regarding the arts and humanities at large.

“With these speakers, we want to remind ECC students that the values of critical thinking, philosophical wisdom, religious/spiritual enlightenment and aesthetic sensibility are timeless so long as we remain human,” said Assistant Professor of Humanities Peter Han.

The topics covered by these speakers all range from various fields and works. With Ahn covering a more controversial and political issue according to Professor Han, the humanities department hoped the presentation would allow for a civil and educational conversation to be had about immigration.

“People of opposing political viewpoints and ethical outlooks can openly discuss their differences in a civil, respectful manner without demonizing one another,” Han said. “Practically speaking, we’re all in this together whether we like it or not. So, at the very least, discourse like this may lead us to the most reasonable resolutions to our common problems.”

Once the presentation came to a close, the audience was given a chance to ask Ahn some questions. A meet and greet luncheon followed the presentation for anyone who wished to further discuss the topics of the day with Ahn.

About the Writer
Juan Castillo, Staff Writer

My name is Juan Castillo. This is my third semester here at Elgin Community College. I am working towards my associate in arts here at ECC and plan on...

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Ilsup Ahn discusses immigration and social justice for humanities speaker series