Constitution Day debate draws students to panel discussion

A student panel debating issues related to the Constitution was held today in the Little Theatre. Participants discussed issues related to the Constitution such as eminent domain, social issues, and immigration.

The discussion, titled “Dynamic Differences: The Relationship between New York and the Constitution,” featured members of the College Democrats, Republicans and one faculty member.

The panel focused on two main issues, the government’s right to eminent domain and our nation’s immigration policy.

Representing the College Democrats at the panel was Thomas Olik, and Danielle Douglas both Junior Government and Politics Majors. Representing the College Republicans was John Bolan, a senior Government and Politics Major.

The panel also featured Dr. Timothy Milford, a History professor in The St. John’s College of Arts and Sciences.

These issues lead Dr. Milford to point out and pose the question, “the public and private are so intertwined, that what is private?”

Douglas stated that the current immigration policy does not work and that immigration laws in Arizona promote racial profiling.

“We are in need of immigration reform” Douglas said. “As an African American, I have dealt with racial stereotyping and I think it’s a racist law.”

Olik, an Arizona native, said that people in Arizona took matters into their own hands.

“This law was passed because of inaction by the federal government,” Olik said.

People in Arizona wanted reform and took matters into their own hands according to Olik.  

Bolan was quick to point out this as not only an issue of immigration, but an issue of state rights vs. federal rights. Although the immigration policy is a federal decision, Bolan said that this law is constitutional.

“Arizona is not creating a new immigration policy; they are enforcing the federal law that has been created,” he said.

Dr. Milford offered a historic perspective on the issue by noting that various groups have been debating immigration policy for hundreds of years.  Dr. Milford also pointed out that parts of our economy do depend on immigrants.

Olik said that we need an answer to our immigration policy.

“The answer is not passing state laws that stereotype.”

The “Participate in 2010” series continues with a candidate forum on Monday October 18 which will feature candidates for Governor, N.Y.S. Assembly and N.Y.S. Senate. A second candidate forum will be held on Monday October 25 and will feature candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress.

Locations and times for these events have not yet been announced.