NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., welcomed the Honorable Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong to an Immigration Panel hosted on the Waterbury Campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College. The panel was the Capstone project prepared by a student from the Congresswoman’s Internship Program. A former teacher, and National Teacher of the Year in 2016, Hayes has never stopped teaching, mentoring. Her internship program is a hallmark of that legacy.
Fizza Alam, whose parents were immigrants from Pakistan, grew up in Waterbury. She came to the United States when she was 18 months old. Presently a junior at the University of Connecticut, she is majoring in political science and economics and plans to pursue a career in humanitarian law. Alam shared her background with the panel and explained why this project was significant for her.
Hayes and Tong touched on a number of issues surrounding immigration, including family separations at the border, actions the state has taken to protect undocumented immigrants living in Connecticut from federal government measures targeting them. “Leading into 2020, this will be one of the top three issues,” Hayes said.
Tong shared his personal background, describing how his parents came to the United States. His father overstayed a tourist visa after getting a job at a Chinese restaurant, where he met Tong’s mother. Tong said before his father was to leave the country, he wrote a letter to the U.S. president at the time, asking him to let him stay in the country. “He sent this letter and he begged for the opportunity to stay in this country, and he sent it to a Republican President and his name was Richard Nixon,” Tong said.
NVCC President Daisy Cocco DeFilippis, Ph.D. commented on the panel, “It is good to have among us elected officials who are working diligently for social justice and to uphold the fundamental principles of the American Dream. Fizza Alam, whose capstone project brought us together for this timely panel, exemplifies the future of our nation by continuing to build on the democratic principles that support the educational experience of all of our students.”