Reporter and author from Tucson, Margaret Regan, came to Elon University’s campus tonight to speak about the heart of immigration. She has written two prized, award-winning books, "The Death of Josseline" and "Detained and Deported."
“Immigration is a hot topic right now, especially with DACA coming to the forefront,” Regan said. “I try to connect with the immigrants themselves, and what I write about is the impact of U.S. policy and individual lives that are pretty seriously impacted by our policies.”
Students crowded LaRose Digital Theatre in the Koury Business Center to hear Regan’s lecture. Every seat was filled, with an overflow of students having to sit on the floor.
She began the lecture by asking a representative from Elon’s Peace and Conflict Studies to read an excerpt from her book.
Regan outlined her speech with stories from people she met while reporting. She told a story close to her heart about a 14-year-old girl named Josseline, who died trying to cross the Arizona border with her family.
Between the years 2000 and 2017, 3,209 bodies were found in Arizona. But Regan stressed these were just the reported deaths in the state. Much more were never found.
What Regan found while reporting is that most people assume there is a need for more border walls. But it is often forgotten that in Arizona alone, there are already over 300 miles of border walls, Regan said
While showing the crowd of students a handful of images from the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, Regan explained that these living conditions were dehumanizing. At the detention center, she has been able to talk to many immigrants and share their stories in her published work.
Now, Regan is interested to see what the current administration is going to do about immigration policies. She noted that the new border wall, which is supposed to be built soon, is going to affect more than just Mexicans and Americans, but the Tohono O'odham Nation. Natives of the Arizona desert, these peoples are fighting to protect their land. Regan said this nation claims, “‘We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.’”
The vote for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is set to happen March 5. This policy will potentially change the status for over 600,000 unauthorized immigrants. This vote is important to Regan, as she referenced it multiple times in her lecture.
“We are a deeply divided people right now,” Regan said.
In Regan’s most recent book, "Detained and Deported," she writes about talking to an immigrant named Blanca coming to America. Regan writes, “She was surprised when I asked her why she had come. The answer seemed obvious for her. 'I came here to work,' she said, 'and for a better future for my son.’”