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CCU's ethic session to deal with immigration controversy

March 5, 2007

"Who are your neighbors? The global challenges and the local consequences of immigration" is the topic of an upcoming "Tea & Ethics" discussion on Thursday, March 22 at 4:30 p.m. in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, room 246.

This "Tea & Ethics" session, which is free and open to the public, will focus on the global and local debates about immigration. Pam Martin and Jose Luis Mireles will be leading the discussion. Complimentary tea and cookies will be served.

The community discussion repeats on Thursday, March 29 at 6 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach at 1300 N. Kings Highway.

While the United States has been considered the beacon of freedom and hope for millions of immigrants over the centuries, recent debates about immigration have clashed with the country's "melting pot" image, according to Martin. Does the United States have a duty to open its borders to global neighbors? How are the immigrants who already live here treated? On a local level, South Carolina's identity is mixed with migrant populations, labor support for the burgeoning tourism industry is heavily reliant on immigrants, and local services are overwhelmed by populations who cannot speak English.

Martin is an assistant professor of politics and international relations at Coastal. She is the director of the International and Global Studies Minor, as well as co-adviser to the Globalist Club, which has members from both South Carolina and Ecuador. She was instrumental in organizing the innovative WebCt classes of Politics 501 (Globalization) in which Coastal students were linked with students in Quito, Ecuador, by means of a two-way video/audio setup.

Martin earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park and taught at La Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, prior to returning to the United States in 1998. Her research and writing focus on social movements, globalization and private authority in the international system. She joined the Coastal faculty in 2003.

Her most recent book, entitled "The Globalization of Contentious Politics: The Amazonian Indigenous Rights Movement," analyzes the benefits and challenges of global processes for indigenous peoples in some of the most remote areas of the planet.

Mireles, a Spanish instructor, was born and raised in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. At age 15 he immigrated with his family to the United States without knowing how to speak English. He graduated from a California high school in 1990 and then attended the Yuba Community College and earned an AS degree in administration of justice. He transferred to the University of California, Davis where he double majored in political science and Spanish. He continued his studies at UC Davis and earned a master's degree in Spanish. He joined the Coastal Carolina University faculty in the fall of 1999.

The discussion is sponsored by Coastal's Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values. The purpose of the center is to cultivate and promote awareness in the community of the importance of personal and professional integrity. For more information, contact the director of the center, Claudia McCollough at 349-2440.