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Spanish Professor Aurora Camacho de Schdmit Continues Advocacy for Immigration Reform

Aurora Camacho de Schdmit

The Delaware County Daily Times: Swarthmore Professor Discusses Immigration Policy

For most of her life, Aurora Camacho de Schmidt has been an advocate for Mexican and Central American immigrants to the United States, so she was particularly interested in the comprehensive immigration reform plan delivered [recently] by President Obama in Nevada.

"It provided great hope for many people," said the 69-year-old Media resident, who has been a Spanish professor at Swarthmore College for 21 years. However, she believes the president needs to direct his priorities to enabling citizenship instead of enhancing enforcement.

"To think of immigrant workers as threats to national security is a gross mistake," said the professor. "Immigrant people are coming here to work."

Still a citizen of her native Mexico, Camacho de Schmidt moved to the United States more than 45 years ago when she married American Arthur Schmidt, with whom she has two daughters and four grandchildren.

As director of the American Friends Service Committee's Mexico-U.S. Border Program from 1979 to 1986, Camacho de Schmidt traveled to California, Texas, Florida, and parts of Mexico educating Mexicans about American immigration policy and how to apply for benefits. Since then, she has written extensively about U.S. immigration policy and has been a volunteer translator for immigrant farm workers addressing such issues as on-the-job injuries, unemployment compensation and union negotiations.

"If the public had knowledge what it is like to be an immigrant worker in the United States, there wouldn't be such hostility in the discourse on immigration," said Camacho de Schmidt.

In addition to teaching Latin American literature and Spanish at Swarthmore College, she has also occasionally taught courses on immigration policy and the history of immigration in the United States. Last semester, Camacho de Schmidt designed a multidisciplinary course, Mexican Pennsylvania: The Making of a Transnational Community, in which students worked with and alongside Mexican immigrants through nonprofit social service agencies. ...

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